April 14, 2017

Freezeframe: Patricia White tells us about The Revival, the April Installment of 45 Years of Women Make Movies

Patricia White is the Eugene Lang Research Professor of Film and Media Studies and the coordinator of Gender and Sexuality Studies at Swarthmore College. White partnered with Lightbox Film Center to present 45 Years of Women Make Movies, a monthly screening program highlighting the feminist distributor and filmmaker collective’s influential work during this anniversary year. We spoke with her about the next installment, The Revival: Women and the Word, screening here on Thursday, April 27.

The Revival depicts a marginalized group of people—queer women of color. By subject matter alone, this film is all about intersectional feminism, but are there ways in which the filmmaking itself breaks down barriers or challenges traditional approaches?

The film is a very collaborative one in which the values the Revival tour promotes are fostered in the production. The filmmaker traveled with her subjects.


How does The Revival fit into the Women Make Movies body of work overall?


Women Make Movies distributes films for, by and about women and gender-nonconforming people and offers production assistance to filmmakers who are trying to get their voices heard. It has long been committed to the visibility of work by and about queer women of color—at least since Michelle Parkerson's Storme in 1991. The collection also includes a number of portraits of writers and artists.


How did you select this particular group of films for the series at Lightbox Film Center?


There will be one program a month throughout the 45th anniversary year—we're showing new films in the context of the history of independent feminist cinema represented by Women Make Movies filmmakers, including Trinh T. Minh-ha and Kim Longinotto. We launched on Inauguration Day with counter-programming on undocumented activists and mothers confronting police violence; the current political situation has definitely encouraged us to highlight programs about people at risk. Next month's film, Sonita, is about a teenage Iraqi rapper asylum seeker, and in June we address trans experience in the rural South. We'll continue with some experimental films and work by and about Latinas from the archives, showing continuities in the organization's commitments.


What do you hope viewers will get out of this film, and the ongoing series?


First to experience the immediacy of the stories of the subjects of the films and the filmmakers' varied artistic practices. Second, to broaden the conversation about women filmmakers beyond equal access to Hollywood to acknowledge the long history and global scope of activism, artistry and organizing in the independent sector to which Women Make Movies has been central.