Women Make Movies

Wednesday, June 8 | 6pm | CCA Cinema
Presented by Women Make Movies

Independent filmmaker and feminist cultural advocate, Ariel Dougherty, a Truth or Consequences resident, is celebrating a cultural milestone throughout 2022. For this showcase at CCA, she will show films from the early days of Women Make Movies, Inc., the organization she co-founded in 1972. She will also present a contemporary short from a girl-centered film teaching program. Fifty years ago there were few films that centered on women protagonists. On one hand, then, you could count the women directors in Hollywood. Today, the organization she celebrates is the globe’s largest distributor of women-directed films, with a collection of over 700 works from around the world. 

About the Program

First on the program are two community-made films from different eras that deal with rape and street harassment issues. Fear (1972, 7m) directed by Jean Shaw, made in a Women Make Movies workshop, was made on 16mm film with the Bolex, a spring-wind, nonsync sound camera.  Do You Know How We Feel? (2002, 21m) is a joint production by teenage girls in New York City and Bombay, India made in the two-year program Gurlz Media Project. Eleven minutes of highlights of the skits presented in the full work will be shown. 

Production still of workshop film Fear (1973, 7m) directed by Jean Shaw, photo by Susan Meiselas 
The original poster of Women’s Happy Time Commune as it appears in Women Make Movies’s first distribution brochure.

The second two films in the program are by the co-founders of Women Make Movies, both shot prior to the incorporation of the organization while they were still film teachers at Young Filmmakers Foundation.  Sweet Bananas (1972, 30m) directed by Ariel Dougherty explores different women’s lives as a growing motley crew descend on a woman’s country house for an undetermined time. Sheila Paige’s Women’s Happy Time Commune (1972, 47m) will conclude the screenings. This feminist improvised comedy takes the Old West for its stomping ground. Both films are creative unfoldings of feminism at the time, shot with all-women crews, and give audiences today a real glimpse into women’s lives fifty years ago. 

Dougherty will lead a discussion after the screening about why she and Paige launched Women Make Movies. These and other works will appear in additional screenings throughout New Mexico. On June 9th she will show a different program at the Taos Center for Arts. At the Silco Theater in Silver City May 14 she conducted a two-part program. She also showed a similar program at Broadway Social Club in Truth or Consequences on May 19th.  In Albuquerque, she launched the series at Guild Cinema on March 31st. The series will conclude in Las Cruces on July 6th at the Rio Grande Theatre.

The New Mexico screenings are supported by New Mexico Humanities Council and the Devsasthali Family Foundation Fund. New Mexico Film Foundation and Sierra County Arts Council, recipients of the grants, are statewide sponsors of the series of screenings.