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NMSU’s Feminist Border Arts Film Festival to screen films from around the world

New Mexico State University will host the third annual Feminist Border Arts Film Festival from 6–8:30 p.m. Monday, April 16 at the CMI Digital Media Theatre in Milton Hall, Room 171.


Woman on a bus looking out a window
NMSU's Feminist Border Arts Film Festival features the short film ‘Dreamer,’ directed by Maria Altamirano. (Courtesy Photo)
Man and woman walking in a street. Man has hands over woman’s eyes.
‘Fee,’ directed by Guen Murroni, is among the short films selected to be screened at NMSU's third annual Feminist Border Arts Film Festival Monday, April 16. (Courtesy photo)

“The first year, we had 273 entries,” said Catherine Jonet, associate professor of gender and sexuality studies and the festival’s director. “This year we received more than 2,000 short films. Each year the quality of the films gets better and better.”

To be considered for the festival, submissions had to fit in with the mission of the festival, be under 15 minutes in length, and in any language as long as English subtitles are provided. The 2018 festival has 109 films that have been selected. A portion of the films include video art pieces that were featured in the one-day exhibit “Border Zones, Liminal Bodies,” at the University Art Gallery on March 12. The live screening event on April 16 features the 29 films selected as finalists for juried and audience awards.

The festival is organized by gender and sexuality studies in the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies in collaboration with NMSU’s Creative Media Institute in the College of Arts and Sciences. The film festival was created to highlight independent short films that deal with contemporary social issues and to showcase narratives by and about underrepresented communities.

“Inclusive filmmaking is often assumed not to also be visionary filmmaking. People might not think that a film with a message can also be full of beauty, artistic technique, or creative innovation,” said Jonet. “These films do all of these.”

The film festival has expanded this year to accommodate the high volume of accepted submissions, in order to be as inclusive as possible. In addition to the live screening event and the video art exhibit, a group of films will be featured on gender and sexuality studies website. The online film showcase will be up for a month at genders.nmsu.edu/film-festival. Other selected films have been organized into shorter collections that will be screened by students enrolled in gender and sexuality studies courses.

“This year’s festival focuses on a variety of themes. These include films that reflect current social crises like refugee and migration stories, trans experiences, and different ruminations on borders and walls,” said Laura Anh Williams, assistant professor of gender and sexuality studies. “We have films that are documentary, animation, live-action and although the majority of submissions are from the United States, we received films from 103 countries this year.”

Starting in the fall, Jonet begins viewing films as soon as they are submitted so she can review and make selections. She then organizes the short films into full-length programs that combine and balance the variety of narrative genres with thematic concerns, film lengths, and styles.

“I care about the themes, the rhythms of the films, the kind of cinematography used and how all of that can be used to program the event,” Jonet said.

The Feminist Border Arts Film Festival is free and open to the public. Parking for the CMI Digital Media Theater at Milton Hall is located in front of Corbett Center Student Union. For more information about the festival, visit genders.nmsu.edu/film-festival.