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June 13, 2006 05:39am
Candida Royalle on Festival Panel
Source: Femme Productions
by: Company Press Release

(NEW YORK, NY) -- On Saturday, June 17th, at 12:30 Pm Eve Ensler will introduce the Women and Media Responsibility Panel as part of a 3-day event in connection with her V-Day festival, Until the Violence Stops. The panel will discuss important issues impacting women in filmmaking such as whether women working in media are mandated to tell certain stories, or whether art should really be just about art.

Panel participants include Academy-Award Winning actress Kathy Bates, Monster's Ball producer Lisa Cortes of Lee Daniels Entertainment, President and CEO of the Museum of Television & Radio Pat Mitchell (formerly PBS President & CEO), Executive Director of Women Make Movies Debra Zimmerman, Program Director of HBO's Young Filmmaker's Lab Stephanie Walters-Williams, Film & Television Producer Linda Gottlieb, Co-founder of Feminists for Free Expression & women's erotica pioneer Candida Royalle, Playgirl Magazine writer Jamye Waxman, and LaSalle-Holland Management Production principal Lillian LaSalle. Abiola Abrams, an emerging filmmaker who has hosted shows for HBO & NBC will moderate the discussion and Prudence Heyert, an actress who recently starred in M. Night Shyamalan's filmic Oscar© night commercial, will field audience questions.

As a community based event in connection with V-Day's festival Until the Violence Stops: NYC, Abiola Abrams and Prudence Heyert will co-direct and curate Until the Violence Stops: NYC Women's Film Festival. A 3-day event from June 16th-18th at the Museum of the City of New York and the Museum of Television & Radio, the fest has been billed as "The film festival for vagina warriors." Their mission is to aid in stopping violence against women and girls worldwide by showcasing diverse films and programs­ documentaries, narratives, comedies and dramas, that empower women or increase awareness of violence. This film festival is presented in association with the Guerrilla Girls, HBO's Young Filmmaker's Lab, Tribeca Film Festival, Lunafest, Women Make Movies, the Museum of the City of New York and the Museum of Television & Radio; and features a panel with such luminaries as Hollywood actress Kathy Bates.

For two weeks in June, Until the Violence Stops: NYC will take over the city, putting women, their empowerment and their safety on center stage in our culture and community. Produced by V-Day, the festival will feature marquee events with performances by celebrated actors, original works by noted authors, community events throughout the five boroughs, a citywide messaging campaign, and a run through Prospect Park. Until the Violence Stops: NYC will issue a call to action to all New Yorkers, and to the world: Demand an end to violence against women and girls and become an active participant in ending it.

The UTVS: NYC Women's Film Festival opens on Friday June 16th, 2006 6-9pm at the Museum of the City of New York. Playwright, performer, and Obie©-winning activist Eve Ensler introduces her compelling film What I Want My Words to Do to you (2003), an honest window into the hearts of the women inmates of New York's Bedford Hills Correctional Facility. Directed by Madeleine Gavin, Judith Katz and Gary Sunshine, the film features Ensler, Glenn Close, Marisa Tomei, Rosie Perez, Mary Alice and Hazelle Goodman. The film will be followed by a Q&a with Eve Ensler and participants in the workshop and film.

On Saturday June 17th the film festival continues at the Museum of the City of NY from 10:30am to 6pm. From 11am to 12pm award-winning urban teen female filmmakers of the HBO Young Filmmaker's Lab introduce their films examining compelling self-esteem related topics. A brief Q&a with these young filmmakers will follow.

An important objective of the film festival is to encourage new socially-conscious media-making and so at noon Luna®, the Whole Nutrition Bar for Women, will sponsor the Midday Business Card Kick it Spot, a designated networking time. Luna® also presents Lunafest, a series of short films by, for and about women. On screen during the Luna® Networking Half Hour will be powerful images created by feminist activists the Guerrilla Girls, who aim to expose sexism, in art, film and pop culture with facts, humor and outrageous visuals, in addition to work by multimedia artist Cece Wheeler.

At 12:30pm Eve Ensler will introduce the Women and Media Responsibility Panel. The screening of films beginning at 2pm includes official selections from the Tribeca Film Festival, Women Make Movies and Lunafest in addition to compelling general submissions. Themes explored include feminism, body image, the beauty myth, sexuality, domesticity, honor killings, female genital mutilation, mother-daughter issues, domestic violence, politics, rape and race. As young women who create media Abrams and Heyert are proud to showcase the work of 99% female directors and "one incredible male vagina warrior." Selected films and filmmakers will be posted at TheGoddessFactory.com .

On Father's Day, Sunday June 18th, the film festival continues at the Museum of Television & Radio. After a small half hour reception at 1pm, the Museum will show episodes from the Simpsons, the Cosby Show, and Picket Fences that feature various father/daughter issues. The festival will then close with a 3pm screening of Until the Violence Stops (2003) introduced by Eve Ensler. This Emmy Award­winning documentary follows the grassroots impact of V-Day, an international movement to end violence against women and girls that grew out of Ensler's play, the Vagina Monologues. The film features Ensler, Rosario Dawson, Jane Fonda, Salma Hayek, Rosie Perez, and Isabella Rossellini. Directed by Abby Epstein; 2004 V-Day Productions.

Abrams and Heyert have met with resistance regarding language around the festival. "Among young women 'feminist' is still very much interpreted as a pejorative 'f-word.' in addition, some are also wary of the term "vagina warrior" which V-Day defines as a woman or man committed to stopping violence against women and girls." Heyert and Abrams do not want to tell people how to think, only to think.

"We hope that this explosion of film and discussion inspires other women to continue to tell our stories. We demand that women everywhere ­ and we are 51% of the global population - recognize our incredible strength and stand up against violence Now. Onward!" the film festival has even set up a MySpace page to encourage youth participation and awareness. The film festival was created by emerging women who work in media including actress Carly Robins, the festival's Project Manager, and Swaziland Peace Core alumna Lisa Grossman, Director of Operations.

The Museum of the City of New York is located at 1220 Fifth Avenue NY, NY 10029; (212) 534.1672; MCNY.org. The Museum of Television & Radio is located at 25 West 52 Street New York, NY 10019; (212) 621.6800; MTR.org. General Seating. Standard museum admission / donation fees apply.

Please read more about the Until the Violence Stops: NYC Women's Film Festival at VDay.org and TheGoddessFactory.com. Contact Abiola Abrams at (212) 426.0056 or Abiola@EvesMagic.tv.

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