The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has encouraged many to find creative ways to foster togetherness and social being. Two New Mexico State University gender and sexuality studies faculty members came up with the idea to share films of the Feminist Border Arts Film Festival through a virtual event May 8-10.
M. Catherine Jonet and Laura Anh Williams will host a mini film fest and social justice zine exhibition, titled “Pandemic Pop Up! A Virtual Film Fest and Culture Work Exhibit.” The virtual film fest offers viewers a chance for reflection, escape, some fun and release.
Williams and Jonet organized the film festival, which is free and open to the public, to support and thank our communities. They chose these dates to honor the graduating seniors at NMSU, mothers for Mother’s Day, first responders and many others because a creative escape is needed now.
“We believe that creativity and the circulation of culture play an undervalued but important role in human survival and the thriving of societies,” Jonet said. “They allow space to reflect, to feel both on a personal level and collectively, to think and become inspired and they can provide some imaginative distance to momentarily allow us to escape and relax a little.”
The films in the “Pandemic Pop Up!” will provide different snapshots of the world before and in the early days of this new reality. The selected small collections of self-published work, also known as zines, films, and other media are separated into different programs. One program titled “Quarantine Beyond” includes films that directly reflect this moment and others that shift to a different reality.
In just one month, Jonet and Williams received more than 300 submissions. One of the featured films, Quarantsin, directed by Spanish filmmaker Chevoy Alonso, is the story of self-isolation and contemplates the uncertainty of what the future holds.
“Many of the film’s visuals are cityscapes from the perspective of someone looking through their windows onto the world in front of them,” Williams said. “Mourning one moment; fearing the next; feeling grateful another and then also reflecting on a strange sense of collective humanity because of the global proportions of the impact of the pandemic and social distancing.”
Jonet and Williams have also reshaped the parameters of the festival to include longer films and one feature-length film. One of the longer films featured will include, Mis Amigas y Yo (My Friends and I) by the Argentine film director, Belén Paladino, which creates a collective sense of observing several generations of women within a family through photographs, images, and other blurred objects.
A Dropbox link to the event will be made available on the gender & sexuality studies website that will be active May 8-10. The link will allow you to stream the selected films, read the zines and other media collected for the event.
For more information, please visit genders.nmsu.edu/film-festival.