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The Women’s Film Festival (WFF) coming up in Brattleboro

The Women’s Film Festival (WFF) of Brattleboro, Vermont, the longest-running women’s film festival in New England and one of the oldest in the world devoted to films by and about women, announced its special 20th Anniversary lineup, March 11 to 20, 2011, of entertaining and illuminating films that raise awareness of the struggles, accomplishments and creativity of women around the corner and around the globe. A full list of film and blurbs and downloadable images can be found here.


WFF announced its special 2011 20th Anniversary line-up today with more entertaining and illuminating films than ever before– films that raise awareness of the struggles, accomplishments and creativity of women around the corner and around the globe. A full list of film and blurbs can be found at the WFF website at www.womensfilmfestival.org.

This year the festival is bigger than ever: Over 10 days in March (Women’s History Month) 39 films will be screened at the historic art-deco Latchis Theater and the modern New England Youth Theater in Downtown Brattleboro, a cultural magnet town voted one of the top 25 small cities for art in America by American Style magazine.

The festival opens on Friday, March 11 with “Women Without Men” a surreal and exquisite drama from Iranian-American filmmaker and artist Shirin Neshat and closes on Sunday, March 20th with the world premiere of Allan Holzman’s “My Marilyn,” examining the dark psychological corners of Marilyn Monroe’s life.

An opening gala will be held during Brattleboro’s monthly Gallery Walk on Friday, March 4 where women’s digital art and an overview of upcoming films will be spotlighted at the Latchis Theater. On Saturday, March 26, the festival will officially close with a repeat showing of the ‘Best of Fest’ audience favorite and new high school video competition winners at the New England Youth Theater.

First-time screenings include: “Bhutto,” which will include a post-film discussion (Sunday March 13 4:00 pm) with Vermont State Senator and diplomat Peter Galbraith, a close friend of the slain Pakistani leader; “Poster Girl,” a hard-hitting documentary about a high school cheerleader turned gunner in Iraq shortlisted for an Oscar nomination; as well as films that deal with family issues, the environment, food, aging, art and many other topics. Several films will be accompanied by Q&As with directors and experts following the screenings.

To celebrate its 20th year, the 2011 WFF will also devote some screenings to the best films of festivals past, such as the acclaimed musical-drama “Joanna D’Arc of Mongolia” (featured on the festival poster), audience favorites “I, Doll, The Story of Barbie,” “Heart of the Sea” and Agnes Varda’s acclaimed “The Gleaners and I.”

This is the first year WFF is collaborating with the Center for Digital Art to highlight women’s digital art and mount a national “Min Vid” competition through You Tube for high school students. There will be cash prizes and special screenings awarded to the top
entries illuminating the theme ‘Woman’ in less than two minutes. Details on entry can be found at the Women’s Film Festival website under the heading “High School Video Contest.”

The festival is unique in that it is fully volunteer run and 100% of proceeds benefit the Women’s Crisis Center, a non-profit organization that helps women and children from southern Vermont and surrounding areas protect themselves against domestic violence while educating the community about everyone’s role in stopping the cycle of violence all around us.

WFF chooses films over the winter through a committee process that offers a final roster of cream-of-the-crop features and cutting-edge documentaries from festivals around the world; and a call-for-entries that yields surprising gems. Over the years the festival has had area premiers for much-lauded films such as "Born Into Brothels" and "Bend It Like Beckham"; numerous films screened at the festival have gone on to receive Academy-Award nominations.

In 2010 the WFF received a prestigious grant from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to provide free access to members of youth, elder and multi-cultural organizations, bringing greater diversity to festival audiences.

Brattleboro itself is reason enough to come and celebrate WFF’s 20th year. Nestled in the Green Mountains in the south-east corner of the state only two hours from Boston and three hours from New York City, this creative hub features its own art museum, fine restaurants, unique boutiques, four independent bookstores, and many other arts venues. One may enjoy the charm of the town while taking in top-notch film fare that may never make it to the local multiplex. The manageable size of the festival makes it a stress-free experience that offers a roster of women’s films unsurpassed by larger festivals in big cities.

The festival should come with a warning: whether you are a man or woman -- you will not leave unmoved! Tickets can be purchased ahead of time. Full details, the film line-up and a continually updated calendar of events related to the WFF can be found at the Women’s Film Festival website at www.womensfilmfestival.org.

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Chatelin Bruno
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