FemFilmFans at Remake. Frankfurter Frauen Film Tage
By Christina Schultz
Animal rights are environmental rights are disability rights are women’s rights are girls’ rights are trans rights are human rights. If you’re not for one, you can’t be for all. Promoting perspectives from these marginalized groups (and the list above is by no means exhaustive) and allowing their stories to be told is vital to our work at FemFilmFans and a must in order to change the still largely white cis ableist media landscape.
Therefore it was an honor and a privilege to again be named media partner for the second edition of the Remake. Frankfurter Frauen Film Tage organized by the Kinothek Asta Nielsen because that is one of their aims, too. This year’s festival, although shorter than last year's inaugural run (which was held from November 2-November 11, 2018), was no less intense or impressive. Festival curators Gaby Babic, Karola Gramann and Heide Schlüpfmann presented audience members with a diverse range of films by filmmakers, most of them female, from all over the world.
The festival had four main foci: *Geschichtsanschauung. Her Story (Viewing History. Her Story in Cinema); *Fixsterne des queer cinema (Fixed stars of queer cinema); *Tribut at KIWI - Kino Women Internatioal in Osteuropa (1987-90) (Tribute to KIWI - Kino Women International in Eastern Europe); and *Neues Frankfurt: Die Filmaktivistin Ella Bergmann-Michel (New Frankfurt: Film Activist Ella Bergmann-Michel).
Lissy, Marina and I were mainly privy to the Her Story and New Frankfurt programs. We viewed avant-garde feminist filmmaker Heiny Srour’s documentary The Hour of Liberation Has Arrived (1974) about the struggles in Oman, the thorough Ella Bergmann-Michel program which featured all her documentary films, plus a biographical homage to her life and oeurve by Jutta Hercher and Maria Hemmleb, and Agnieszka Holland’s feminist eco-thriller Spoor (2017), to name a few. I also had the pleasure of accompanying my Grade 8 Media Studies class to the viewing of Sally Potter’s Orlando (1992), part of the Queer Cinema program. A particular favorite of mine was the surprisingly strongly feminist Hindle Wakes from 1927. It was not directed by a woman, but starred the fabulous Estelle Brody (think Louise Brooks but slightly more wholesome) and rekindled my love of silent film. As with last year’s festival, I felt incredibly inspired, full of ideas for future collaborations, plans to visit other related film festivals and armed with plenty of material for FemFilmFans. The high caliber of the films left me uplifted, curious, melancholy, sometimes even angry at the injustices of the world.
But after the very literal buzz of the festival, reality set in. I was dealing with crippling anxiety and sleep deprivation. My personal life was quite honestly a mess and I was in constant distress. Trying to find the time to be creative escaped me. Even writing emails post-festival seemed difficult. I put so much pressure on myself to pump out articles and content for Instagram that I am unfortunately still feeling the effects (even trying to write this has been a struggle). I am slowly starting to feel better and would like to continue to write what I had originally intended (at the very least some reviews of the films listed above). I also plan to follow up with all the incredible women I have had the pleasure to meet and introduce a wider range of people to the female filmmakers with whom we became acquainted this past November and December. This environment of female empowerment and encouragement, especially for women of all shapes, sizes, colors, sexualities and genders in the media, was the reason we started FemFilmFans so long ago and something I continue to strongly believe in.
Which is why, perhaps most importantly, my current goal is to take care of myself. Part of my healing journey is knowing when enough is enough, guarding my time and saying no, being assertive but polite and listening to my body and my heart (in other words, the voice inside your head telling you how you really feel). Feeling ashamed or hiding from mental health issues will get you nowhere. Even women who seem to have their shit together might be struggling under the surface, which is why we need compassion for one another. Watching so many films from women with vastly different experiences humbles me, just as it makes me realize that it is worth taking the time to listen to her story, whatever it may be. This is why Remake is such an important festival in Frankfurt because it provides the opportunity for women (but not just women) to present their stories, when they have normally been repressed and silenced for far too long.