This month’s crowdfunding picks include a number of intriguing documentaries, plus two psychological thrillers. But what all these films have in common is their mission to bring to light the lives of women that otherwise go unnoticed, unspoken, or buried in history.
Pratibha Parmar’s latest project "Fury & Tenderness" is a look into the life of feminist activist Andrea Dworkin. Dworkin’s past history of sexual abuse greatly impacted how defiantly and openly she spoke about sexual violence against women. Though sometimes her views created controversy, Dworkin consistently produced thoughtful writings that are worth revisiting. "Ordinary Women: Daring to Defy History" is similarly invested in reigniting interest in the work of women forgotten by history.
The animated series will focus on several important historical figures and their contributions to global politics, literature, and science. Covering Ida B. Wells to 19th century pirate Ching Shih, "Ordinary Women" excavates the past to inspire current and future generations of women. Shamim Sarif’s "The Artemis Protocol" doesn’t only sound like a totally awesome film, the film is also important as a statement to prove women can direct action films. Sarif has had international success with her previous films "I Can’t Think Straight" and "The World Unseen," but for Sarif, "The Artemis Protocol" is a personal mission to prove the Hollywood industry is wrongly pigeonholing women into directing and writing for certain genres.
Though "Always Shine" and "Don’t Talk About the Baby" tackle different subject matter, both films aim to be conversation starters. "Always Shine" is a thriller that investigates the pressures of Hollywood on a couple of young actresses. A continuation of the themes director Sophia Takal explored in her previous film, "Green," "Always Shine" explores previously unseen, dark aspects of women’s experiences like jealousy and competition among friends. By depicting emotional and psychological states that women don’t often talk about, the film provides a cathartic relief for its female viewers.
Similarly, "Don’t Talk About the Baby" is about the uncomfortable silence around issues that many women deal with daily. The film looks at the stigma around miscarriage, stillbirth and infertility. The film shows the real consequences of silence: without communication the gap between partners may widen, feelings of shame can set in and it becomes harder to recover from loss. By opening up a frank conversation about the complex feelings surrounding these difficult topics, the film hopes to ameliorate the pain women suffer in silence.
Here is a more detailed look into our March crowdfunding picks:
"Fury & Tenderness" (Feature/Documentary Fusion) – Written and Directed by Pratibha Parmar
"Fury & Tenderness" is inspired by the life and writings of Andrea Dworkin, a highly influential and controversial feminist writer and activist. Though Dworkin might be best known for her anti-pornography stance, Dworkin’s work on rape and violence against women contributed to open discussions about rape culture that resonate today. Though many sex-positive feminists of the time viewed her political positions as woefully conservative, Dworkin’s legacy involves bringing to the mainstream conversations about sex, sexual abuse and incest. "Fury & Tenderness" is currently raising money for the first section of the film, which promises to star Amandla Stenberg of "The Hunger Games." You can support the film through the film’s website until March 25.
"Always Shine" – Directed by Sophia Takal
"Always Shine" is a psychological thriller inspired by the director’s own struggles against the pressures on women in Hollywood to be thin, young and feminine. The film follows two friends, Anna (Mackenzie Davis) and Beth Caitlin FitzGerald), as they take a reinvigorating trip to idyllic Big Sur. In isolation, the women begin to feel the cracks in their friendship and in their own identities. Both actresses, the women’s jealousy, rage and resentment toward one another personifies the Hollywood obsession female perfection. The film is currently raising funds for post-production costs prior to the film’s debut at the Tribeca Film Festival. You can support this film through its Kickstarter campaign until April 2.
"Don’t Talk About the Baby" (Documentary) – Directed by Ann Zamudio
"Don’t Talk About the Baby" examines the emotional, psychological and physical toll of miscarriage, stillbirth and infertility. The film’s premise is taken from the statistics that suggest many people undergo this experience, but are silent about it. According to the film’s crowdfunding page, "One in four pregnancies ends in a loss and one in six couples struggle to conceive." The film explores what it means to stay silent through the experience. For many women, the feelings of shame and inadequacy are difficult to bear. The film hopes to be an important tool to help women start the difficult conversation around this issue. You can help the film’s production by donating to its Seed & Spark campaign until April 4.
Feminist Frequency is a collective dedicated to challenging the way women are often portrayed in the media. "Ordinary Women: Daring to Defy History" is their newest video series about women throughout history who have similarly challenged the status quo. The video series is a response to critics who justify the exclusion of women by pointing to a lack of powerful female figures in history. "Ordinary Women" will feature a different inspiring woman in each episode — women who were pirates, novelists, activists and mathematicians. Anita Sarkeesian, the director of the series, sees parallels between these women’s lives and those of contemporary women. By using unique animation styles, the series will be an entertaining and informative look into the lives of the women you don’t see in history books. Help the series write women back into history by contributing to the series’ Seed & Spark campaign until April 7.
"The Artemis Protocol" – Written and Directed by Shamim Sarif
Shamim Sarif’s latest film, "The Artemis Protocol" is a thriller about a group of female agents who run a secret organization dedicated to fixing global issues that governments can’t, or won’t, attempt to fix. Their mission in the film is to break up a human trafficking ring that proves more difficult than any mission before. The film, like some of Sarif’s previous films, is based on a novel she wrote. However, this film is also new territory for this accomplished director. Though she has a track record for writing wonderful stories about women, part of the funds raised will be used to assemble the best action-film team possible. Essential to Sarif’s campaign is proving that women have what it takes to direct action films and that they can find an audience for them. Help this all-female action film get off the ground by donating through the film’s Kickstarter campaign until April 7. If you can’t wait to see Sarif’s work, her film "Despite the Falling Snow" is opening in the UK on April 15.