The Sydney Feminists
Feminist Films and Documentaries pg. 1
Moving beyond hyper-sexualised femme fatales, this documentary explores modern American women who have created homes for themselves in the gun community, and explores issues faced by every woman today.
In the 1950’s and 60’s over a million young women who became pregnant out of wedlock were sent to maternity homes to give birth and surrender their babies. A Girl Like Her interviews some of these women as to the long-term impact of these events on their lives.
A documentary exploring the 1 in 6 Americans facing food insecurity, and possible solutions.
This film follows four abortion providers who worked closely with Dr. George Tiller, assassinated in 2009, in their professional lives, providing compassionate care to women choosing abortions. It highlights the high toll of carrying out their work: death threats from extremists, and grueling travel times between clinics. It also documents the sense of purpose they receive, continuing their colleague’s mission.
A documentary profiling Anita Hill, who in 1991 testified in hearings on the sexual harassment she had received from then-Supreme Court justice nominee Clarence Thomas, prompting changes to workplace gender equality.
Asking For It: The Ethics and Erotics of Sexual Consent (2010)
Professor Brod discusses the ethics of sexual interaction, and challenges views to envision a model of interaction which takes into account the various circumstances in which it can occur.
The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975 (2011)
Drawn from material recorded by Swedish journalists who traveled to the US to record the evolution of the civil rights movement, such as the Black Power movement.
Abducted, stabbed and raped in Milan at age 18, Linor Abargil represented her country in the Miss World competition only six weeks later. Vowing to fight rape when she was crowned Miss World, the film follows Abargil from her assault to being crowned, and through her crusade to fight for justice, becoming a lawyer and activist. When her serial rapist becomes eligible for parole, she has to find his previous victims to help keep him behind bars.
Bigger, Stronger, Faster* (2008)
A documentary about the culture of use of performance-enhancing drugs such as anabolic steroids in American sports, and how this has developed as a reflection of American win-at-all costs culture.
Breastmilk follows the experiences of breast-feeding women, and addresses many of the questions around breast milk.
The Bro Code: How Contemporary Culture Creates Sexist Men (2011)
Breaking down a range of contemporary media forms, Thomas Keith looks at the forces in male culture conditioning boys and men to dehumanize and humiliate women.
Broads & Bombers: A War Time Experiment in Man Power (2016, not yet released)
Renowned aviatrix Jackie Cochran commanded an experimental group of women trained to fly American military planes during WW2. These WASPs (Women Air force Service Pilots) secretly flew every type of aircraft the US Air Force possessed, proving themselves equal to their male counterparts. The program was abruptly cancelled after a series of suspicious accidents, and the women pilots were only recognised as veterans 60 years later.
A documentary which explores both side of the sex industry and debates about prostitution, containing interviews with sex workers, their customers, abolitionists and politicians. It also follows the heated debate over the decriminalisation of sex work in Canada, and the potential consequences of this.
The Business of Being Born (2008)
Actress Ricki Lake and filmmaker Abby Epstein explored the maternity care system in America, following several couples who decide to give birth on their own terms, instead of behind hospital doors.
A documentary exploring struggles of the LGBT community in Uganda, from both pro- and anti-gay activists.
A documentary about the Central Park jogger case, where five juvenile males were tried and convicted for a number of crimes, whose sentences were later vacated after a sixth man confessed. An examination of the racism in coverage by media of the event.
In 1966, to increase the Romanian labour force, communist leader Nicolae Ceausescu outlawed abortion and contraception. Thousands of unwanted children ended up in state orphanages, or as runaways on the streets. The documentary followed the lives of five street children in Bucharest.
Consuming Kids: The Commercialisation of Childhood (2008)
An expose on the multi-billion-dollar marketing machine which has transformed childhood into a wholesale commercial experience for children and their parents.
Codes of Gender: The Identity and Performance in Pop Culture (2009)
Advertising not only sells things: it also sells us ideas about the world. Sut Jhally analyses these in the light of advertising media and contemporary cultures’ inability to relinquish reactionary gender representations.
Exploring the challenges women of colour face in their communities and the wider world, examining through interviews and historical research what it means to be a person of colour in America. It has been subject to some criticisms for portraying colourism as an internalised aspect of the psychology of people of colour, as opposed to being a problem caused by white supremacy.
Dreamworlds 3: Desire, Sex & Power in Music Video (2007)
Sut Jhally examines the music industry preoccupation with reactionary ideals of masculinity and femininity in the face of the women’s rights movement. The documentary challenges viewers to think critically about the effects of advertising on misogyny, homophobia, sexual violence and racism.
The Empowerment Project: Ordinary Women Doing Extraordinary Things (2014)
Over the course of 30 days, five female filmmakers drove from Los Angeles to New York, spotlighting powerful women leaders across a range of lifestyles and industries to inspire the next generation of women.
Equal Means Equal (forthcoming)
Kamila Lopez’s examination of the status of women today, and a call for action to push for full civil and human rights for women to be stated in the American Constitution.
“Potentially one of the most important & enlightening documentaries in recent memory” - Bust Magazine
A documentary on the day-to-day lives of six prison inmates in America’s maximum security prison in Angola, Louisiana.
Feminist: Stories from Women’s Liberation (2013)
Interviews with movers and shakers of the women’s liberation movement from 1963-70.
A documentary covering interviews with 100 influential women from around the globe.
For the Bible Tells Me So (2007)
An American documentary about homosexuality, and perceptions of its conflict with Christianity.
From the Back of the Room (2011)
A documentary chronicling the involvement of female musicians in the last thirty years of DIY punk and hardcore.
Generation M: Misogyny in Media and Culture (2008)
Despite progress made by the women’s movement over the past forty years, misogyny is a persistent force in culture. Professor of philosophy Thomas Keith examines misogyny and sexism in American media, and how these attitudes are constructed and perpetuated in popular culture.
Following the stories of nine girls from the developing world in their daily struggles for education, freedom and a voice in Afghanistan, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Haiti, India, Nepal, Peru and Sierra Leone. Paired with writers from their homeland, the film is a blend of traditional documentary with scripted narration and dramatic interpretation.
The coming-of-age stories of two young girls from Baltimore, one raped by five boys, after which she began drinking and using drugs before committing murder, and the other an abandoned child who ran away from ten foster homes before her arrest for attacking another foster child with a box cutter. The documentary follows their experiences in the Waxter Juvenile Facility.
A revolution in the making where the impoverished women of the Gulabi Gang take up the fight against gender violence, caste oppression and corruption in Bundelkhand, India.
Half the Road: The Passion, Pitfalls & Power of Women’s Professional Cycling (2014)
Exploring the world of women’s professional cycling, Half the Road covers the love of cyclists for their sport, and the issues of inequality modern-day female cyclists face in the sport.
While one of the spokespeople of the Half the Sky movement, Somaly Mam, has been the subject of contention with allegations of having falsified her story [http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/09/19/who-s-telling-the-truth-about-somaly-mam-a-smashed-icon-a-media-brawl-and-a-comeback.html], Half the Sky is an uplifting collection of accounts of women around the world fighting to change systematic oppression. Filmed across ten countries, Half the Sky reflects on viable and sustainable options for empowerment, and offers a blueprint for transformation.
Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes (2006)
A documentary which explores issues of violence, homophobia, masculinity and sexism in hip hop music and culture, compiled through interviews with artists, fans and academics.
Muslim women activists discuss their experiences, and the state of women’s rights in Muslim-majority nations, exploring systematic abuses of women’s freedom of movement, right to education, forced marriage and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), amongst others.
A documentary about the War on Drugs in the United States, from civil rights litigators, judges, police officers, dealers and historians.
How to Survive a Plague (2012)
A documentary about the early years of the AIDS epidemic, and the efforts of AIDs activists and groups lobbying for a response from the government, and the development of HIV/AIDS medications from the medical industry.
An expose of the endemic rape crimes occurring on US college campuses, the toll on victims and victims’ families, and the institutional practice of covering-up these crimes in order to keep rape statistics low.
I Was A Teenage Feminist (2005)
A multi-generational look at feminist identity, and an exploration of the discomfort of many young women who identify themselves as feminists.
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