Castleton festival features films directed by women

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CASTLETON — The Castleton International Film Festival returns to Castleton University in March with a series of films directed by women.

Now in its seventh year, the festival runs from March 10 through March 24 and is free and open to the public. The films are shown in Herrick Auditorium at 7 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Featured films include:

March 10: "Rafiki," directed by Wanuri Kahiu

A 2018 film that highlights the romance between two young women, Kena and Ziki, living in a Nairobi housing estate. The film, which was the first Kenyan feature film to be screened at the Cannes Film Festival, highlights the family and political pressures around LGBTQ rights in Kenya. It is based on the "Jambula Tree," an award-winning short story by Monica Arac de Nyeko.

March 12: "Honeyland," directed by Tamara Kotevska and Ljumbomir Stefanov

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This 2019 Macedonian documentary portrays the life of Hatidze Muratova, one of the last wild beekeepers in the country and the continent, putting a spotlight on environmental topics such as climate change, biodiversity loss, and the exploitation of natural resources. It was the winner of the Cinematography Award, the Grand Jury Prize, and the World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.

March 17: "Atlantics," directed by Mati Diop

This internationally co-produced supernatural romantic drama is Mati Diop's feature directorial debut. Diop made history when the film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2019, becoming the first black woman to direct a film featured in competition — winning the Grand Prix. The film centers around a young woman, Ada, and her partner, Souleiman, who are struggling with employment, class, migration, crime, family struggles, and ghosts.

March 19: "For Sama," directed by Waad Al-Kateab and Edward Watts

"For Sama" is an intimate and epic journey into the female experience of war. A love letter from a young mother to her daughter, the 2019 film tells the story of Waad Al-Kateab's life through five years of the uprising in Aleppo, Syria, as she falls in love, marries, and gives birth to Sama, all while conflict rises around her. The documentary captures her as she wrestles with an impossible choice - whether or not to flee the city to protect her daughter's life, which also means abandoning the struggle for freedom she has already sacrificed so much for.

March 24: "Girls Always Happy," directed by Yang Mingming

In her 2018 directing debut, Yang Mingming creates an offbeat Chinese comedy about eccentric mother-daughter writers who live with each other, facing low points and hardship at the same time. This film brings focus to fraught relationships, life in contemporary Beijing, and the challenges of finding your way forward while being tied down by the past.


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