NEW YORK, Aug. 24, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — The 8th Annual Imagine This Women’s Film Festival is back with a compelling lineup. This year’s showcase features a captivating selection of 112 films, including 12 highly anticipated world premieres, 27 regional premieres designed to captivate audiences, and an impressive lineup of 13 North American premieres. Additionally, 15 films are set to premiere exclusively in the vibrant city of New York, further enhancing the festival’s allure.
Film enthusiasts can revel in three days of in-person screenings at Regal Battery Park, followed by an extended online showcase available until October 1st. The festival kicks off on September 22 with the North American premiere of Heights and Depths, an emotionally charged film that explores themes of loss. The movie portrays the poignant story of Hilda Sterczer, the widow of the internationally renowned mountaineer, Zsolt Erőss. The film stars Romanian actress Emőke Pál and Ukrainian actor Zsolt Trill.
Additional screening programs comprise of diverse and compelling content. Hello, Muscles under the direction of Marnie Baxter and featuring Kate Dickie and Richard Rankin, portrays the journey of a young girl on the brink of entering secondary school as she grapples with her responsibilities as a young caregiver. Ivan, by first-time filmmaker Jazz Pitcairn in collaboration with producer Frank E Flowers, starring Sasha Lane, takes viewers on an emotional odyssey that underscores a mother’s unwavering love and fortitude. Returning to the director’s chair for the second time, actress Rose McIver presents To The Death, a dark comedy delving into the rivalry of two South Asian actresses who must battle for a coveted role. Look Back at It, helmed by Felicia Pride, intricately weaves a drama of intergenerational relationships, inviting contemplation on the intricate tapestry of human connections.
Concluding the festival with the New York premiere of Jess Plus None, helmed by director Mandy Fabian, and producer Patrick Fabian. With a constellation of talent featuring Abby Miller, Rory O’Malley, Marielle Scott, and Matt Walsh, the film unveils the tale of an unwilling maid-of-honor who finds herself obligated to partake in her best friend’s unconventional woodland wedding. This unforeseen journey prompts her to face her past flame, her accomplished college comrades, and the pivotal life decisions she has navigated.
A pivotal panel discussion titled Shattering Boundaries: Honoring Diverse BIPOC Storytellers. This enlightening discussion will feature a distinguished panel of industry luminaries, including Academy Award-winning director Carlos López Estrada, Aeryn Michelle Williams, NAACP Image Award-winning director Nzingha Stewart, and two-time Emmy award-winning filmmaker Linda Mendoza. Moderated by John Gibson, Vice President of External and Multicultural Affairs at Motion Picture Association, Inc., the discussion will be accessible on ITWIFF’s YouTube Channel.
ITWIFF gratefully acknowledges Gold Sponsor Scriptation for their steadfast support. The festival also thanks Finaldraft for their continuous backing and applauds Emmy Award-winning team Silver Sound for enhancing the cinematic experience through audio excellence. Special recognition is extended to the International Screenwriters’ Association and Regal Cinema for their contributions.
“The inspiration behind launching the festival in 2016 was the lack of representation both behind the scenes and on screen. Our mission is to provide a platform for women, BIPOC, and non-binary filmmakers and storytellers from around the world, aiming to reshape the landscape of film and TV. Additionally, we are committed to fostering education by offering free workshops and classes accessible to everyone,” says Patrice Francois, Festival Founder.
The following is a short breakdown of programming by section (for the full lineup and screening details visit www.imaginethiswomensfilmfestival.org)
EVERYBODY WANTS TO BE LOVED, (Germany) – New York Premiere
Director: Katharina Woll.
Producer: Markus Kaatsch
On an intensely scorching summer day, psychotherapist Ina detects an unsettling change within herself. Yet, she finds herself with no time to dwell on it: a queue of patients awaits at her practice, her daughter contemplates a move to her father’s, her boyfriend contemplates emigration to Finland, and her self-absorbed mother’s 70th birthday is in the offing. Striving to cater to everyone’s wishes, Ina’s life takes an unexpected turn, altering everything.
FOUR O’CLOCK FLOWERS, (United Kingdom)
Director: Peter Callow
Producer: Louise Breckon-Richards
Following a harrowing knife crime, two mothers are compelled to confront their emotions of grief, guilt, and the desire for retribution.
HEIGHTS AND DEPTHS, (Hungary) – North American Premiere
Dirwctor: Sándor Csoma
Producer: Claudia Sumeghy
Hilda Sterczer, the widow of the globally acclaimed mountaineer Zsolt Erőss, becomes our lens into the upcoming days’ events, allowing us to trace Zsolt’s ill-fated endeavor to conquer the mountain. This pursuit ends in tragedy. From Hilda’s perspective, we witness the poignant tale of her husband’s participation in the Kancsendzönga expedition. As he grapples with exhaustion and reaches the mountain’s summit, the ensuing descent proves fatal. Hilda’s agony unfolds thousands of miles away, powerless to intervene, as her beloved husband meets his tragic end.
JESS PLUS NONE, (United States) – New York Premiere
Director: Mandy Fabian.
Producer: Patrick Fabian
An unwilling maid-of-honor finds herself obligated to participate in her best friend’s secluded woodland wedding, far from modern amenities. In this off-the-grid setting, she’s confronted by her ex-girlfriend, her accomplished college peers, and a series of regrettable life choices. Just as tensions heighten, a member of the wedding party vanishes, compelling a cryptic park ranger to enlist Jess in the search. As they venture into the woods, Jess unearths that amidst this unique gathering, the most potent force of nature could well be her own strength.
WHERE CAN WE LIVE IN PEACE? (Mexico) – New York Premiere
Director: Judy Mary Jackson
Producer: Judy Mary Jackson
This documentary about the Central American migrant crisis – was filmed in the ABBA migrant shelter which was founded by Pastor Ignacio Ramirez in Celaya, one of Mexico’s most dangerous towns. The migrants ride illegally on freight trains (La Bestia.) Often there are accidents, and they lose limbs. Their dreams are shattered. The ABBA shelter is unique in that it looks after all those who have suffered accidents. The amputees have even formed a band. Pastor Ignacio is now hoping to acquire a large piece of land that can be a sanctuary for them as they heal. It’s an incredible example of what is possible.
STORMING CAESARS PALACE, (United States)
Director: Dir. Hazel Gurland-Pooler
Producers: Hazel Gurland-Pooler, Nazenet Habtezghi
This documentary shares the story of how a group of ordinary low-income mothers launched an extraordinary grassroots movement for economic justice and Black women’s empowerment in the 1960s and 1970s. This film reveals the roots of today’s movements, highlighting the experiences of Black women organizers from one of the most challenging and forgotten feminist, anti-poverty movements in our history, and places it in the limelight, where it will inspire, embolden, and honor the women whose courage, tenacity and dreams could not be quashed, against all odds.
BAZIGAGA, (France) – North America Premiere
Director: Jo Ingabire Moys
Producer: Boris Mendza, Gaël Cabouat, Sonia Tardif d’Hamonville, Valentin Leblanc, Delphine Duez, Stéphanie Charmail
1994, Rwanda. As the civil war rages, Bazigaga takes in a father and daughter hunted by the militia.
BREAKUP WEEKEND, (United States) – New York Premiere
Director: Jordan Rice
Producer: Jordan Rice, Sade Ariel
Breakup Weekend’ unfolds as a poignant coming-of-age drama, chronicling the journey of Amira and Luca. After five years of dating, the couple makes the difficult choice to end their relationship when long-distance strains their connection. In the midst of this pivotal moment, they opt to spend one final weekend immersed in celebration and seeking closure before parting ways as they embark on their individual paths as young adults. With Amira, who has returned from art school, arriving at Luca’s house, the weekend becomes a bittersweet opportunity to both honor their love and grapple with the reality of their breakup.
DANCING AMID FIRE, RISING ABOVE RUINS, (Norway)
Director: Essmat Sophie
Producer: Essmat Sophie
Tara, a young girl from Iran’s Kurdish ethnic group, navigates a life where the threads of life and death are intricately woven. As their mothers pay visits to the graves of loved ones lost due to state violence, war, and bombings following the Iranian Revolution in 1979, Tara and her friends engage in games of hide and seek amidst the gravestones and trees in the graveyard.
DIRTY ROTTEN TOFU AND THE GOHAN GIRLS, (United States) – New York Premiere
Director: June K Inuzuka.
Producer: Stephen C Dreskin, Shannon Umetani, Rebecca Bertot
Amidst the backdrop of the Old West, three courageous Asian women wage a battle for their freedom against a ruthless Chinatown crime boss who demands their return, ‘Dead or Alive.
ENTWINED, (United States) – New York Premiere
Director: Dale Griffiths Stamos
Producer: Dale Griffiths Stamos
In a gallery, two individuals in their sixties stand before a painting, their lives having taken separate paths. Joe, a black man, and Lisa, a white woman, shared a deep love almost 50 years ago during high school. Now, they confront their complex history and the emotions that time may not have faded.
GOOD GIRL, (United States)
Director: Jenny Kleiman
Producer: Haley Dercher
Following the conclusion of a six-year relationship, a composed Jewish OBGYN decides to switch off her mind and embrace her desires through an exploration of BDSM, which unexpectedly emerges in the most unconventional of settings.
HELLO, MUSCLES, (United Kingdom) – New York Premiere
Director: Marnie Baxter
Producer: Rory Rooney
As a young girl gains physical strength, she discovers a different kind of inner resilience.
HELLO TO ME IN 100 YEARS, (Taiwan) – Regional Premiere
Director: Wu-Ching Chang
Producer: Wuan-Ling Guo
What was Taiwan like 100 years ago? What will it be like 100 years from now? Perhaps there will be flying cars, and many tasks can be automated. Maybe we will live beneath the sea or in space. However, will advanced technology make us happier?
IVAN, (Cayman Islands) – World Premiere
Director: Jazz Pitcairn
Producer: Jazz Pitcairn, Frank E. Flowers
As a hurricane looms, a young mother battles to safeguard her family and home from the impending destruction.
LOOK BACK AT IT, (United States) – New York Premiere
Director: Marnie Baxter Dir. by Felicia Pride
Producer: Regina Hoyles
In her forties, a single mother rediscovers her zest for life, aided by an unexpected boost from her teenage daughter.
ODD/EVEN, (United States) – World Premiere
Director: Dir. by Ya-Ting “Itchy” Yan
Producer: Yaxing Lin, Lilith Mo
In a not-so-distant future, individuals awaken exclusively during either odd-numbered or even-numbered years, entering hibernation within ‘The Capsule’ during their inactive period. On the final day of 2043, a talented young actress manages to break free from her devoted yet toxic partner.
ONE OF THE GUYS, (United States) – New York Premiere
Director: LaChelle Chrysanne
Producer: LaChelle Chrysanne
During a studio session with her musical collaborators, Mel encounters a startling revelation that casts doubt on the dynamics of their friendship.
PINCH, (Australia) – North America Premiere
Director: Aimee Patmore
Producer: Anna Dvorak
As a high school senior, a student grapples with an invisible illness, one she conceals from her mother while remaining silently overwhelmed by the weight of familial, peer, and societal expectations.
SUNRISE HILL, (United States) – World Premiere
Director: Lola Victoria
Producer: Lola Victoria, Edwin Tovar
When Yali finds herself stranded at a BART station, a twist of fate compels her to engage with a person she would never have crossed paths with otherwise.
THE NIGHTINGALE, (United Kingdom) – New York Premiere
Director: Lola Victoria
Producer: Abbie Elliott
Set in London and drawing inspiration from real-life events, ‘The Nightingale’ traces the journey of Grace, a second-year university student, as she navigates a reckless and perilous path through various stages of PTSD. With unflinching honesty, the film delves into the enduring aftermath of sexual assault and the remarkable courage required to transcend it. Directed by Robbi Stevens.
THE SUMMERS OF YOUR WINTER, (Spain) – New York Premiere
Director: Nei Loya
Producer: Nei Loya, Jordi Calvet
Sara, a teenager who has endured her mother’s profound depression and frequent suicide attempts since childhood, is presented with an opportunity to journey into the past. There, she can firsthand experience the moments that have shaped her and led her to become who she is today, alongside her mother.
WOMAN MEETS GIRL, (Canada) – New York Premiere
Director: Murry Peeters
Producer: Enuka Okuma, Joe Gasparik, Adria Budd Johnson
As cocktails lead to revealing conversation, chemistry develops between Annabelle, a forty-two-year-old woman who is awkward in her own skin, and Tessie, an extroverted eighteen-year-old sex worker. A surprising moment soon introduces the possibility of a deeper connection.
BIKING WHILE BLACK, (United States) – New York Premiere
Director: Yolanda Davis-Overstreet
Producer: Yolanda Davis-Overstreet, Harly Crandall
Biking While Black: Continuing to Ride Through Decriminalization, Disenfranchisement & Gentrification is an important look at the joys and challenges of biking while Black and the need for a transit future rooted in justice and equity.
INTERCEPTION: JAYNE KENNEDY – AMERICAN SPORTSCASTER, (United States) – New York Premiere
Director: Safiya Songhai
Producer: Safiya Songhai
A bronze-skin bombshell rocks the world of Sunday Football and network television. Millions tuned in but few know the tumultuous story of Jayne Kennedy, the first African-American woman to boldly intercept the rigid racial lines of American sportscasting.
WAVE WOMEN UK, (United Kingdom) – North American Premiere
Director: Lolly Michaels
Producer: Bola Adeoshun
Wave Women UK is a short documentary that tracks a collective of young black women from inner-city London as they set out on a life-changing expedition to master the art of surfing.
SUNRISE RUBY (United States) – New York Premiere
Director: Amberlee Colson Steven
Producer: Amberlee Colson Steven, Aurea Morrisely
A young American woman whom we call RUBY flees from the altar on her wedding day, overwhelmed by a deep sense of loneliness. Desperate for a new beginning, she packs up her life in Los Angeles, which consists of an expensive salsa dress and the ashes of her tabby cat. She’s off to Mexico City with plans to live with her adopted family—her aloof father and controlling stepmother. However, her hopes derail when she discovers that her dad is hiding something and cannot be trusted.
REFUGIA – EPISODE 1 (United States) – New York Premiere
Director: Amberlee Colson Steven
Producer: Amberlee Colson Steven, Aurea Morrisely
Through the lens of the five elemental forces inherent in all living beings—earth, air, fire, water, and spirit—’Refugia’ unveils the commendable efforts of uncelebrated heroes, communities, and companies committed to fostering the environment and safeguarding these sanctuaries of preservation.”
SOURCE Imagine This Women’s International Film Festival