Socially Relevant Film Festival 2018: Films About Women
For more information on the selection , please go to our SRFF 2018 website:


Note: All the films except the Transformer and Love & Everything in between, Youth Local Councils: A Palestinian Movement for Civic Engagement which are directed by a male director, are directed by female directors. So they are all films directed by women except the three.

NYWIFT members are noted in red.

Narrative Features:

Heidi Philipsen & Jon Russell Cring

It's summer break and fifteen-year-old Darcy works in her family's motel, a seedy operation on the edge of town. Sustaining the motel is the practice of taking in occupants who until only recently were incarcerated-an arrangement that Darcy's parents make with the Department of Corrections for a price. Those desperate strangers lurking the halls sleep for a night or more, never knowing who is shooting up, or who is leading a man to a working-girl next door.

Lou Andreas-Salomé: the Audacity to be Free
Cordula Kablitz-Post

Lou Andreas-Salomé, the woman who enraptured 19th century Europe's greatest minds, recounts her life to Ernst Pfeiffer in this German film directed by Cordula Kablitz-Post. A published novelist, poet and essayist, Salomé's desire to live a life free from convention scandalized society but spurred genius and passion in others, including Friedrich Nietzsche, Paul Rée and her lover, the poet Rainer Marie-Rilke. Under the tutelage of Sigmund Freud, she became the first female psychoanalyst.

Love & Everything in Between
Jeremiah Kipp

The basic premise of the movie is the intertwining stories of love, family, and relationships in the Hamptons, which are put to the test when a summer party ends with a sexual assault, causing the relationships to implode. What unravels is Love & Everything In Between.

Documentary Features:

Sands of Silence: Waves of Courage
Chelo Alvarez-Stehle

A 15-year quest to expose the underworld of sexual exploitation and trafficking from Asia to the Americas leads world-reporter Chelo Alvarez-Stehle back to the windswept beach where her childhood ended and family secrets began. As Chelo documents the transformation of sex trafficking survivors, she meets Virginia Isaias, a Mexican woman whose life is engulfed in a cycle of sexual exploitation. Escaping with her 6 months old daughter from a sex trafficking ring in Mexico, Virginia crosses the US border in search of freedom.

Stitching Palestine
Carol Mansour

Twelve resilient, determined and articulate Palestinian women sit and talk of their lives before the Diaspora, of their memories, and of their identity. Their narratives are intertwined by the enduring thread of the ancient art of embroidery that stitches together the story of their homeland, of their dispossession, and of their unwavering determination that justice will prevail…

Tampon, Our Closest Enemy
Audrey Gloaguen

This is an International investigation about dangers of the tampons. Cases of menstrual toxic shocks are increasing around the world and woman that have been close to death are witnessing. Thanks to independent studies and tests, we know now that tampons contain dioxinS, toxic components, among 10 the most dangerous chemicals classified by the WHO. However, a real taboo surrounds this product, while women use an average of 11K tampons in their lives. We travel to the US, Netherlands, France, Belgium to meet scientists and victims.

Michael Del Monte

From white trash kid, to decorated U.S. Marine, to bodybuilder, to world record powerlifter, Matt Kroczaleski faces his most challenging feat of strength yet: becoming a woman.

Narrative Shorts:

Free Period
Alison Piper

When schoolgirl Leanne can't afford a sanitary pad she lines her underwear with toilet paper and ends up bleeding in front of her class. Leanne overcomes this humiliation with a shocking act of rebellion - against a bully, a teacher, and against the stigma which acts as a barrier to her needs.

The Girl
Lihi Sabag

Dafna, a social worker, pays a visit to Esti, the single mother of a little girl. Dafna must deal with the agonizing decision of whether or not Esti is a fit mother for her child. If not, the child will be taken into state custody.

The Gravedigger's Daughter
Shira Gabay

Esther's father was a gravedigger who in his last will and testament left only one significant request: that one of his sons continue with his profession. None of his sons have the slightest interest in doing so. Esther is the only daughter in this traditional 'Sephardic' North African home, and embarks upon a struggle to carry on her father's legacy of humility and kindness over the objections of her family and community. A feminist film with a sprinkling of graveyard humor.

The Hostage
Kerstin Höckel

The Hostage fetches Friedrich von Schiller's ballad about a friendship beyond death to highly topical today's Berlin: Two refugee girls exchange their identities, because one of them shall be deported and desires to say goodbye to her lover. The airplane with her best friend is about to start. But she runs to free the hostage. This act of true love moves the passengers. And they stand up for the girls to prevent the take off.


Documentary Shorts:

Big Hips, Big Dreams
Melanie McLean Brooks

Big Hips, Big Dreams follows a woman during what seems like an ordinary day--through her daily routines, her thoughts on personal hygiene, love and a life-long pursuit to be comfortable in her own skin. As night falls, though, she finds solace in the glitz of New York City's burlesque scene and finds that unraveling her layers of fringe and rhinestones is the perfect way to just be herself- Tina Tassels.

Savannah Rodgers

Dragtivists is a short documentary about the intersection of activism and drag performance.

Cecilie Nørgaard

The film is a sensuous, academically based, existential portrait of Eila - a 85 year old lesbian trans woman, who is struggling - a decade after her transition - to define herself as the woman she has always felt like being - and to get to understand how it happened that the circumstances that finally made her identity complete, felt like devastating others. Despite the relational complications, the story of Eila reminds us that it is never too late to become oneself.

MERCEDES: Portrait of Street Sweeper
Amie Williams & Meena Nanji

In the final months before the embargo is lifted, Mercedes works as a street sweeper in Old Havana and shares her life and dreams.

Molly Stuart

As a 19-year-old Israeli, Atalya is obligated to enlist in the armed forces. But she has witnessed military rule in the occupied Palestinian territories - a reality that most other young Israelis never experience - and one that leads her to become a conscientious objector. The film offers a window into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through the perspective of a Jewish woman making an uncommon sacrifice.

Youth Local Councils: A Palestinian Movement for Civic Engagement
Keenan Newman, Ben Henretig & Adam Warmington

Meet Lana Abu-Hijleh, a development expert and civil engineer who experienced first-hand the tragedies of conflict, and who founded a model of youth civic engagement that is spreading from the West Bank across the globe. The Youth Local Councils engage over 25,000 Palestinian youth in the West Bank, giving them a voice and stake in their communities. Through elected bodies, these youth are proposing, planning and executing community projects, and practicing leadership and good governance to transform their society, in an environment that bets against them.


Note: This films are all directed by female directors, but are not films about women or dealing with woman issues.

Documentary Features:

Armenians of the World
Carmen Labaki

On a journey that documents the pain and suffering of the Armenian people from Turkey to Syria, to Lebanon and Armenia; the film tells the stories of agony, death, and lost dreams. It records the lives of the Armenian people, resurrecting their voices from the graves, despite the dangers and taboos encountered during the filming.

Cause of Death: Unknown
Anniken Hoel

After director Anniken Hoel's sister Renate mysteriously died while being treated with certain medications, Hoel's probe into the circumstances uncovered a web of dark happenings in the world of prescription anti-psychotics. Soon, her query sparks a global investigation into the crimes of "Big Pharma", which turns dangerous and deadly medications into multi-billion-dollar industries.

Doing Nothing All Day
Margarete Hentze

A young mother starts the search for the ideal school for her son and discovers the tradition of democratic schools, where they practice self-determined education - a system that seeks to employ the freedom of choice to the process of education. She speaks with scientists and advocates of the democratic education movement in Germany, England and Israel.

Hotel Everest
Claudia Sobral

Filmed over a tumultuous two-year period, the film follows the efforts and relationship between two unlikely peace activists: Eden Fuchs, a retired Israeli army colonel, and Ibrahim Issa, a Palestinian born in a refugee camp, are joined by the Idahoan founders of the Centre for Emerging Futures, Whit and Paula Jones at the Hotel Everest. Located in Beit Jala, this Palestinian owned business nestled between Bethlehem and Jerusalem provides a haven where both Israelis and Palestinians are equally welcome and free to meet together.

Instrument of Change: Street Piano
Maureen Ni Fiann

Acoustic pianos that were once at the heart of our community lives are being dumped. Thousands go to landfill every year. In this film we see how some get rescued and are put on the street for anyone to play. Street pianos become a magnet for a rich diversity of players and bring human connection into urban spaces.

Stacey Tenenbaum

Take a journey around the world to learn about one of its most overlooked professions. Meet men and women from Tokyo, La Paz, New York, Toronto and Sarajevo who have devoted their lives to cleaning our shoes. A character-driven documentary, Shiners introduces you to people and their families who have a valuable lesson to teach about job satisfaction, and in turn, life satisfaction.

Margaret Galbraith

A knife altered the course of Roosevelt Wilkerson's life twice. As a young man, it sent him to prison. Later, homeless and angry, he picks up a stick and begins carving. Stickman is the incredible story of Roosevelt's journey off the street and the transformative - and unlikely - friendships he makes along the way. Stickman demonstrates that love and compassion hold no economic or racial boundary and have the power to transform each one of us.

Narrative Shorts:

Artemis & the Astronaut
Alice L. Lee

Artemis watched her once brilliant pianist husband slip away from her one memory at a time. It's been four weeks since Henri died, and today is the day the conservatory is coming to pick up his beloved piano. Filled with sadness and anger, Artemis wanders her empty house-- there was so much left unsaid as Henri slipped away. And then, she hears him crying in the other room. Will Artemis get another chance to be with Henri?

I Seek Asylum
Anna Southgate

Based on actual asylum interviews, the film shows what faces survivors of trafficking and torture when they come to the UK.

The Importance of Finding the Other
Marcey Frutchey

The Importance of Finding the Other is the story of a young, biracial girl named Iris who sets out to discover what it means to be an "other." Along her way, she encounters a pair of immigrants, a homeless veteran, and a transgender female who all bring some piece of the definition to light.


The Shelter
Ysabel Fantou

Based on true events: Erwin and Hildegard get lost whilst on a hiking holiday in Bavaria. They end up in a strange guest house, not knowing that it's long closed and now a refugee shelter. Only when demanding the bill for the delicious meal, the truth unravels.

Lauren Ide

Young Emily, a local small town girl runs away from home after finally being fed up with the estranged relationship with her parents, and her struggle with being bullied at school. Having left her hearing aids behind, Emily is left to wander the unknown of the world. With little way to communicate, and only a few dollars to her name, Emily struggles with her inability to hear. This is Emily's story, a world without sound.

Documentary Shorts:

Journey Without a Map
Jill Woodward

In the short documentary Journey without a Map, Abdul discovers an unlikely passion in contemporary dance, tapping into the healing power of art as he seeks asylum in Greece from his native Afghanistan.

The Fall of the Bamboo - and the rise of a community
Raúl Capote Braña, Jan-Kåre Breivik & Solvei Stoutland

The film is a short documentary around action learning and creation of a laboratory for social change based on two experimental university workshop (2014 and 2016) for master students from diverse fields (social science, community work, theatre/music) in Bergen, Norway. Key topics have been - physical ensemble work, dumpster diving, community music/drumming, photovoice, Facebook activism, ritual sharing/bartering, baking bread, and the art of making socially relevant parades etc.

The Forgotten Farragut
Sonya Shields

Located in Northern Brooklyn, DUMBO has become the borough's most expensive neighborhood and New York City's fourth richest neighborhood overall. Just blocks from DUMBO is NYC Housing Authority's Farragut Houses, which has housed low income Brooklynites since 1952. These are the stories of the residents of the forgotten Farragut Housing Projects, as told by Brooklyn Community Services.

The Hammamis
Molly Bareiss

This short documentary takes an intimate look at the struggles of a Syrian refugee family and the new hope they've found upon settling in the US, while touching on the contentious national dialogue surrounding the entrance of Syrian Refugees into the United States.

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NYWIFT programs, screenings and events are supported, in part, by grants from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York State Council on the Arts