Films of conscience

The second annual Davis Feminist Film Festival showcases the work of local, national and international filmmakers whose films focus on the complex issues of gender, identity and social activism. The festival is a decidedly grassroots event, and the participating filmmakers were chosen for their ability to capture the important, compelling and personal stories that the mainstream media seems to ignore.

The first night’s theme is “Gender and the Body” and includes films such as Trashed Fashion, a disturbing look at both the social and ecological effects of fashion consumerism and possible ways to counter them. Even If She Had Been a Criminal, from French filmmaker Jean-Gabriel Periot, examines the social context of the vengeful shaving of women’s heads in post-World War II France.

“Creating Change” is the theme for Friday night’s films, which include stories as diverse as women convicted of witchcraft in Ghana, eco-activism, and lesbian Jewish grandmothers. Texas Gold follows Diane Wilson, who began fighting petrochemical waste dumping in the late ’80s, while The Witches of Gambaga exposes the “witch camps” of north Ghana, where women accused of witchcraft are sent when evicted from their villages. Friday night’s closing film is Ruthie and Connie: Every Room in the House and it tells the story of two Brooklyn housewives who, after raising families in the ’50s and ’60s, realized years later that they were in love. The film follows the dramatic fallout of their relationship and their historic battle for domestic partner’s rights in New York.

Both evenings will begin with a 7 p.m. reception, followed by the screenings at 8 p.m. Thursday’s reception will feature a raffle, with a silent auction on Friday night.