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Women in the Director’s Chair International Film and Video Festival

The 18th annual Women in the Director’s Chair International Film and Video Festival, featuring narrative, documentary, animated, and experimental works by women, continues Friday through Sunday, March 26 through 28. Screenings are at United Church of Rogers Park, 1545 W. Morse; Decima Musa, 1901 S. Loomis; and South Shore Cultural Center, 7059 S. South Shore Dr. Tickets are $8, $6 for students, seniors with a valid ID, and members of Women in the Director’s Chair; festival passes are also available. For more information call 773-281-4988.


We Know How to Do These Things

Short works on film and video by Rozalinda Borcila, Na’ama Batya Lewin, Jeanine Corbet, Anne-Lise Breuning, Barbara Johnson, and Patricia Armstrong. (United Church of Rogers Park, 7:00)


A New York performance artist returns home to a small Georgia town to care for her mother, who’s suffering a mental breakdown. Ruth Leitman’s 1998 documentary slyly underscores the women’s exhibitionism as they pour their hearts out to the camera, revealing their troubled psychosexual history; some of their revelations may be half-truths, while some are shockingly real (the family photo album with its snapshots the child took of her parents having sex), but in the manner of a southern gothic they never fail to fascinate. (TS) On the same program, Danielle Ash’s clay animation short Aily. (United Church of Rogers Park, 9:00)


Alisa Lebov and Cynthia Mandansky’s 55-minute film tells the story of two Jewish lesbians in New York City; its raw handheld camera work personalizes it but ultimately becomes distracting, and the film’s celebratory tone seems almost trite. (FC) On the same program, devoted to “new lesbian work”: short films by Lynne Chan, Sarah Dunham, Laurie Schmidt, Donna Carter, Alisa Lebow and Cynthia Madansky, and Sokes Yoon with Allyson Mitchell. (United Church of Rogers Park, 11:00)



A selection of international film and video. Fever, an experimental film by Chicagoan Paula Froehle, interrelates sound, text, and imagery in original and arresting ways. (JR) On the same program, works by Michelle Mohabeer, Claudia Barcelo (in Spanish without subtitles), Bess O’Brien, and Polly Watkins. (Decima Musa, 3:00)

Glimpses and Flashes

Kristy Guevara-Flanagan’s El Corrido de Cecilia Rios records a Mexican community’s reaction to the murder of a high school girl; the sound track, with its street ballad eulogizing a bright life cut short, conveys more pathos than the inept imagery. (TS) On the same program, videos by Julia Barco, Claudia Barcelo (in Spanish without subtitles), Hilda Hidalgo Xirinachs (Spanish without subtitles), and Adriana Peliano (Portuguese without subtitles; English text provided). Barco will attend the screening. (Decima Musa, 5:00)

Reservation X: Native Nations in the 90s

Veronica Majano’s Calle Chula presents a giddy, impressionistic history of a neighborhood as seen through the eyes of a young El Salvadoran girl. (TS) On the same program, works by Fatimah Tobing Rony, Marta Tejeda, Shelley Niro, and Dominique Jonard. (Decima Musa, 7:00)

Eat, Drink, and Enjoy!

Ten short films and videos from Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. (Decima Musa, 9:00)

Funky Animation Parade

Anne Marie Fleming’s Tiresias offers a short, hilarious version of Ovid with stick figures. (JR) On the same program, 14 other animated works. (Decima Musa, 11:00)


For My People: The Life and Writing of Margaret Walker

Judith McCray directed this 26-minute video about the African-American poet; I could have done without the Muzak score and sound-bite format, which tend to shortchange Walker’s writing for the sake of her life story, but some of her power still comes across. (JR) On the same program, Shawn Batey’s five-minute musical documentary 60+, about an “all-female seniors steel drum band,” and works by Dawn Wilkinson, Christa Collins, and T. Nicole Atkinson. (South Shore Cultural Center, 1:00)

The Mother Land: Migration, Diaspora, Exile and the Idea of Home

Sohrab Shahid Saless: Far From Home, Mehrnaz Saeed-Vafa’s highly personal tribute and invaluable introduction to the seminal filmmaker who worked in Iran and Germany and died last summer in Chicago, mixes clips, commentary, and interviews to create a poetic, bittersweet statement about loss and exile. (JR) Camille Billops’s Take Your Bags is an intriguing look at the loss of African heritage, though ultimately it’s spoiled by the filmmaker’s didacticism. (TS) On the same program,works by Aida Ghidey, Persheng Vazari, Fatimah Tobing Rony, and Jenny Perlin; a panel discussion with Rony, Perlin, Vazari, and Saeed-Vafa follows the screening. (South Shore Cultural Center, 3:00)

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): For My People: the Life and Writing of Margaret Walker film still.