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Women with Vision 2005

Everyday life is disrupted by war and social unrest in too many places around the world today. Against this chaotic backdrop, international filmmakers continue to find new ways to portray romance or the consequences of deceit. While few women directors make actual war movies, the effects of unsettling global aggression are shown to complicate even the most innocent search for love.

The 12th annual Women with Vision festival presents an array of features and documentaries that represent the best in contemporary film, from the opening-night screening about the Afghan war tearing a Danish family apart to the closing-night work exploring the collision of cultures undermining the romance between a Lebanese immigrant and an Irish scientist living in London. These poignant, timely, engaging films have won audiences and garnered awards at festivals worldwide.

In addition to contemporary world cinema, a program of films made between 1916 and 1986 addresses the economic and romantic concerns of working girls. In the hands of women directors from inside and outside of Hollywood, the common tale of a young woman coming to the city to find a job and, hopefully, a husband is framed within the feminist struggles of these decades.

A special feature of the festival celebrates looking forward as we settle into the new Walker Art Center while looking back to discover a piece of institutional history. Visionaries Molly Davies and Sage Cowles present excerpts of their film/performance pieces made from 1976 to 1980 and reflect on the ways that space, time, and presence work when these media are combined.

Girls in the Director’s Chair, a program of video works made by girls ages 8 to 18, is evidence of a personal vision among the next generation of filmmakers. Due to their increased access to digital cameras and home-editing systems, young people have become prolific cinematographers and have submitted work from every corner of the state. Selections for the festival were made by teen interns Katie Christian and Jennifer Larson, both students at South High in Minneapolis, along with Walker intern Sara Nichol and staff members Megan Leafblad and Witt Siasoco. This year’s expanded, two-day program includes a panel discussion by teens exploring issues raised by the filmmakers.

I am deeply grateful to all the artists, filmmakers, and directors who contribute to Women with Vision. The festival is made possible by generous support from the American Express Philanthropic Program. We also are pleased to mark the eighth year of support by the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota. Teen Programs are made possible by generous support from the Surdna Foundation and Best Buy Children’s Foundation.

The Walker is grateful to IFC Films; Sony Pictures Classics; Women Make Movies; Filmmuseum, Amsterdam; UCLA Film & Television Archive; Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research, Madison; Feminale, International Women’s Film Festival Cologne; and to Stephanie Rothman for loaning her prints. Also, deep thanks go to Verena Mund, program associate responsible for the Working Girls series, and Merrily Sadlovsky, 2005 Women with Vision intern, who has put her stamp on this year’s festival.

I hope you enjoy Women with Vision: amid chaos.

Sheryl Mousley
Women with Vision Festival Director
Curator of Film/Video, Walker Art Center