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In partnership with Toyota, we’re excited to add a Diversity Film Series to our Virtual Movie Palace beginning this month and progressing over the course of the year and beyond.

Through film and storytelling, we hope to stimulate thoughtful and deeper conversations around race, gender, equity, inclusion, and social justice, among many other issues.

We also aim to provide a space for viewers to learn more about how they can engage within these issues through post-film discussions with filmmakers and/or thought leaders in the Washtenaw County community, and more.

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This March we’re excited to share four films centered on the stories of women and the vital role female voices have and continue to play in empowering art, workers’ rights, political activism, and workforce gender equity.

 
We hope you enjoy these stories and keep an eye to our weekly emails for details on upcoming post-film discussions!

Individual Tickets – $12 ($10 for members, free for Gold Members!)

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Martha Cooper is an unexpected icon of the street art movement – a tiny, grey-haired figure running alongside crews of masked graffiti artists. In the 1970’s, as the boroughs of New York City burned, Cooper was both the first female staff photographer at the the New York Post and the first to seek images of creativity and play where others saw crime and poverty. As a result, she captured some of the first images of New York graffiti, at a time when the city had declared war on this new culture.

30 years later, her book “Subway Art” is one of the most sold – and stolen – art books of all time and her images catalyzed a global art movement, that permeated boundaries of time, language and culture. Now at 75, Martha is an icon of one of the biggest art movements in history. Yet as she continues to document the beauty in otherwise neglected communities, she questions her own place in a world now dominated by selfies and Instagram art.

Martha: A Picture Story presents a multifaceted view of a woman who moves at the edges of society to find the beauty of humanity, in their art and in their daily lives.” Citizen Dame

Director Selina Miles is an Australian filmmaker. She began her career as an editor of online content before moving into directing commercials, and most recently working on her first feature documentary, supported by Screen Australia and Submarine Entertainment.

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Shimu, 23, works in a clothing factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Faced with difficult conditions at work, she decides to start a union with her co-workers. Despite threats from the management and disapproval of her husband, Shimu is determined to go on. Together the women must fight and find a way.

This is a story of the women who make our jeans and T-shirts, told as a moving, suspenseful tale not simply of exploitation, but also of empowerment.

As Shimu’s efforts ramp up and appear increasingly futile, ‘Made in Bangladesh’ acquires a quiet power.” New York Times

Director Rubaiyat Hossain is one of Bangladesh’s handful of female filmmakers, known for her critically acclaimed debut feature film Meherjaan (2011) which faced political and cultural wrath in Bangladesh for its anti war narrative, and its critic of masculine nationalism from a feminine point of view. Her second feature film Under Construction (2015) premiered at New Directors Showcase at Seattle International Film festival and was theatrically released and well received in Bangladesh. Her third feature film Made in Bangladesh (2019), premiered at Toronto International Film Festival and is distributed by Pyramide Films. Rubaiyat uses a feminist lens to deconstruct the otherwise phallocentric institution of cinema.

Go Behind The Scenes

Watch a recorded conversation with MADE IN BANGLADESH director, Rubaiyat Hossain; activist and union leader Daliya Akter; actors Shimu Rikita Nandini and Novera Ahmed; and host Cat Kim, Associate Director at the Cinema Art Center, New York.

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World-famous South African singer Miriam Makeba spent half a century travelling the world spreading her political message to fight racism, poverty and promote justice and peace. Mika Kaurismäki’s documentary, traces fifty years of her music and her performing life. Through rare archive footage of her performances and through interviews with her contemporaries we discover the remarkable journey of Miriam Makeba.

A portrait of a woman … whose dynamic range and earth-wide smile made the words and sounds pouring from her like a hand extended, a heart exposed, a story of the world made achingly real.” Los Angeles Times

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Her Name is Chef brings to light the conversation about the changing culture in the restaurant industry through the stories of six amazingly talented, inspiring, females of the kitchen – Elizabeth Falkner, Fatima Ali, Hillary Sterling, Esther Choi, Juliet Masters, and Caroline Schiff.

Each of these incredibly hard workers share their triumphs in cutting through the clichés of the restaurant industry, and explore how they broke down the doors to ‘earn’ the title of Chef. Chef Leia Gaccione travels to learn about their struggles in having to prove themselves in an industry that has become ‘bro-a-fied’. These six courageous ‘sheroes’ of the kitchen open up their hearts to the world, leaving no stone unturned.

At the core of the film is a conversation about the changing culture in the restaurant industry. 19% of Chefs are female, and only 7% are head Chefs. While at the Culinary Institute of America, 51% of students enrolled are female and they make up 47% of the total US workforce.

Watch & Then Hear from Local Chefs!

Watch our virtual conversation with four local and inspiring women chefs: Abby Olitzky from Spencer, Allie Lyttle from LaLa’s Ann Arbor, Ji Hye Kim from Miss Kim, and Eve Aronoff from Frita Batidos.