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Wichita High School Students Launch Feminist Film Festival

Julia Fetters (left) and Lauren Zoller (right)

Organized by two East High School juniors, Julia Fetters and Lauren Zoller, Femme Fest ICT is a new film festival focusing on equality, gender representation and women storytellers. The one-day festival will take place at 1-9: 30 pm, Saturday, April 20 at Fisch Haus (524 S. Commerce Street.). Screenings will be followed by Q&A and discussion. Local artists and entertainers will also be included as part of the celebration. Sponsors include The Monarch, Digital Brand, and Fisch Haus.

Femme Fest ICT tickets are free and can be reserved here. Advanced reservations are encouraged as seating is limited, and available on a first-come-first-serve basis. A suggested of $5/film is encouraged at the door. Anyone interested in supporting or donating to the project can find more information on the Femme Fest ICT GoFundMe page, or reach out to the organizers directly. Connect with FemmeFest ICT on social media @FemmeFestICT (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram ).

Femme Fest ICT will feature three programs, including the Kansas premieres of two feature films, MISS ARIZONA (Dir. Autumn McAlpin) with McAlpin scheduled to attend, THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING (Dir. Tom Donahue/Producer Geena Davis) and a short film program themed around the unique experience of women. (Read more about the Official Selections below.)

“We are both feminists, interested in film, and have experienced sexism in our lives,” said organizers Fetters, and Zoller who participated in Tallgrass Film Association’s Emerging Programmer Apprenticeship student program. “We wish to educate and shine a light upon gender equality and chose to do it through film because it connects with people on an intuitive level. We also hope to inspire other young people to advocate for causes they believe in.”

“I am consistently impressed by the passion and tenacity of our youth today,” said MISS ARIZONA Director McAlpin. “I speak often to young audiences in the nonprofit space and am convinced they are the catalysts who will make all the difference in cultivating a more kind and selfless society.”

“Both Fisch Haus, and our not-for-profit arm, Fisch Bowl are very pleased to support this exciting new festival, particularly since it encourages youth to take the initiative in creating a cultural milieu within which they feel represented and validated,” said Elizabeth Stevenson, Director. “We hope this festival continues and becomes an annual event: a fitting addition to the increasingly vibrant film and filmmaking scene here in Wichita.”


About Femme Fest ICT

FEMME FEST ICT is a Wichita-based, independent film festival promoting intersectional feminism in our community and world. The festival will include speeches, short films, features, refreshments, musical performances, and more. Femme Fest ICT’s goal is to bring all ages/communities together to celebrate women filmmakers and their films. The creators are Wichita East High School students, Julia Fetters and Lauren Zoller. Advisors are Gretchen Mitchell, former Co-Director of Programming for Tallgrass Film Association, and Lela Meadow-Conner, Executive Director, Film Festival Alliance.

About Fisch Haus

FISCH HAUS is a multi-disciplinary art facility, located in Wichita’s Commerce St. Art District, currently accommodating five full-time local creatives as well as a steady stream of artists, actors, and musicians, both regional and international. The artist cooperative was founded in 1990; and since 1993, has operated out of a three-story warehouse that contains studio and gallery space, small businesses, a full wood and metal shop, and a graphic design studio. The Fisch Haus, through their not-for-profit arm Fisch Bowl, produces several large-scale shows annually, and hosts numerous community art events, ranging from visiting artist exhibitions and performances, to lectures, classes, benefits, readings, and music festivals throughout the rest of the year; most which are offered free of charge and are open to all ages.

2019 Femme Fest Screening Schedule:

2019 Femme Fest Screening Sche

1:00pm: FEMME FEST SHORT FILMS

ESPERANZA Y FUTURO, dir. Claire Imler, USA, 2018, documentary, 12m ALRIGHT dir. Giulia Gandini, UK, 2017, live action, 9m
REFLECTIONS dir. Morgan Gruer, USA, 2017, animation/live action, 3m FANTASY dir. Kate Gondwe, USA/Wichita, 2017, live action, 6m UNAWARE dir. Caitlyn Cody, USA/Wichita, 2010. live action, 6m (Additional films scheduled for inclusion)

4:00 pm: THIS CHANGES EVERYTHINGdir. Tom Donahue, USA, 2018, 1h 37m, followed by panel conversation

THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING is a feature-length documentary that premiered at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival and uncovers what is behind one of the most confounding dilemmas in the entertainment industry - the under-representation and misrepresentation of women. The film features interviews with powerful feminist advocates including Meryl Streep, Natalie Portman, Taraji P. Henson, Cate Blanchett, Jessica Chastain, Chloe Grace Moretz and many more.

7:00pm: MISS ARIZONA, dir. Autumn McAlpin, USA, 2018, 1h 34m, followed by filmmaker Q&A (McAlpin scheduled to attend)

MISS ARIZONA tells the story of Rose Raynes, a former Miss Arizona. She leads a life dealing with a distant husband and pre-teen son. When she accepts the opportunity to teach life skills at a women’s shelter, she meets four women who show her a new meaning of friendship through a night full of adventures. This one’s an anthem for any woman who’s ever been told to sit and look pretty. This one’s for the marginalized. This one’s for the girls. 

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