UN Women’s Global Voices Film Festival Launches At LucasFilms in San Francisco

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Buy tickets to the inaugural Global Voices Film Festival here!

The current ratio of men to women working in the film industry is 5 to 1. In 2012, 91% of directors, 85% of writers, 75% of producers, 80% of editors, and 98% of cinematographers were male.

While women make up half of all movie-goers, the average ratio of male to female characters in the top 500 films in 2012 was 2.25 to 1. Only 30.8% of women have speaking roles, and a third of those speaking women show nudity or are wear sexually revealing clothing.

When a woman sees movies in which women are submissive, these portrayals find their way into her psyche and affect how she views the way that she is “supposed” to behave and treat other women. She sees women in movies being sexualized and objectified, and movies communicate this objectification as an inevitable norm. At the same time, male audience members see the way women behave and are treated on screen, and use that as a guide for how to treat women and what to expect out of them.

Global Voices Film Festival is making an active movement to combat this widespread issue in showcasing the phenomenal talent of female filmmakers, and they’re doing it in San Francisco, on May 22, 2016 at the Premier Theater at Lucasfilm. In partnering with the U.S. National Committee for UN Women, San Francisco Bay Area chapter, Lipstick&Politics has been given the wonderful opportunity to sponsor this essential event. We are so honored to be apart of the fight against such a detrimental issue in today’s world.

Film and television have a responsibility to accurately and comprehensively portray archetypes as they are in real life. By implementing the perspectives of women in film, we will see female characters portrayed much more accurately--which is smart, driven, well-developed, and complex.

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Here Are the Films and Filmmakers Playing at the Festival: 

Leeches is a short film directed by Payal Sethi. This film follows a story of feisty but tender sisterhood in a Muslim household, and a complex effort to save a younger sister from an arranged marriage to a foreign business man.

New York native Sethi is the co-founder of FilmKaravan, a studio that has outputted Superman of Malegoan and Sita Sings the Blues. After her education at Vassar College and NYU, she assisted director Mira Nair, which she accredits to be the best film school for her.

In the Footsteps of Regina Jonas directed by Gail Twersky Reimer is a short film that follows Rabbi Priesand, the first female to be ordained as a rabbi in America, and her colleagues as they take a trip through notable locations in Jewish cultures in reverence to the first female rabbi ever, Regina Jonas.

Reimer has a Ph.D. in English and American Literature from Rutgers University. She later founded the Jewish Women’s Archive in 1995, where she served as executive director for almost 20 years. The JWA has the highest volume of material on American Jewish women on the web.

Bis Gleich directed by Benjamin Wolff and written by Tara Lynn Orr is a short film set in Berlin that allows the audience to live within the touching tale of two elderly neighbors who have never met, but share a connection even so.

Wolff is originally from Hamburg, Germany and studied at the London Filmschool. Orr studied acting at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and began screenwriting in 2010. She has written many short screenplays, and accredits her success in storytelling to her acting career.

Woman Outside directed by Shelly Lauman is a short film set in downtown Los Angeles in the life of a nonverbal homeless woman who creates a connection through shared despair with an affluent business woman.

Originally from Sydney, Australia, Lauman earned an M.F.A. in directing from the American Film Institute Conservatory and has achieved several accolades. She has focused her work on gender, body, and voicelessness.

Bridging Emcees directed by Kelly Jo Noonan and Laura Volladao, and written and produced by Megan Loretz is a story that showcases the adversity that female MC’s must face within their industry when they are unwilling to sexualize and demoralize themselves in order to reach success.

Noonan graduated from San Francisco State University with a B.A. in Creative Arts and has worked on films such as Chekhovian Run, and Clay. Volladao is a Bay Area native and San Francisco State University graduate, and is pursuing an M.F.A. at NYU’s Tisch. Loretz graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a BA in Film and Digital Media and is passionate about autobiographical filmmaking.

Unravel is a short film directed by Meghna Gupta based on anthropological research done by Dr. Lucy Norris that documents the ways that Western habits of consumption and waste affect the lives of textile workers on the on the other side of the world, as they imagine traveling to the foreign Western world through the clothing.

Gupta is a director and producer with work showcased at every film festival you can think of, and focuses on telling stories that are widely relatable for an audience of diversity.

Milk directed by Gabriella Moses is a short film about Nina, a nine-year-old dominican girl with albinism facing the struggles of being an outcast with cruel classmates; particularly a jealous one who creates a bit of a witch-hunt for Nina.

Moses received a B.A. in Film, Television and Journalism from NYU’s Tisch School For The Arts.

Frame by Frame is a feature length film directed by Alexandria Bombach and Mo Scarpelli. This powerful and raw film is set in Afghanistan, after the photography revolution that took place once the Taliban fell from power. Never-before-seen footage from times when taking a photo was illegal under Taliban rule offers a window into the lives of four brave
photojournalists.

Bombach founded Red Reel film company and intends to tell the passionate stories of others in order to rivet audiences and provoke change. Scarpelli is an NYC based filmmaker and a journalist published by the BBC, Wall Street Journal, and more.

The Way Back To Yarasquin is a film by Sarah Gerber that follows the story of a woman who bravely left her economically suffering community of coffee farmers in Ecuador to pursue a business degree in the U.S.

Gerber founded the production studio Twenty Twenty and is passionate about utilizing art and travel in an effort to create social change.

The Global Voices Film Festival is taking a crucial step in the fight against gender inequality. We are so honored to be apart of this event and we hope to see you there! Join us in San Francisco and buy tickets to this inaugural event here.