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Featured Films, Videos, and Performances with Artists' Biographies

Opening Night

Watermelon Woman (1996, 90 min, 16mm, b/w, color)

Director: Cheryl Dunye

Set in Philadelphia, The Watermelon Woman is the story of Cheryl, a 20-something black lesbian struggling to make a documentary about Fae Richards, a beautiful and elusive 1930s black film actress, popularly known as "The Watermelon Woman." While uncovering the meaning of Fae Richards' life, Cheryl experiences a total upheaval in her personal life. Her love affair with Diana, a beautiful white woman, and her interactions with the gay and black communities are subject to the comic yet biting criticism of her best friend Tamara. Meanwhile, each answer Cheryl discovers about the Watermelon Woman evokes a flurry of new questions.

Clips from Stranger Inside (in production)

Director: Cheryl Dunye

Stranger Inside is the story of a young Black woman, Treasure Lee, who, after twenty-one years of life in and out of jail, is being transferred for the first time to the main State Facility for Women. It is at State that Treasure finds out about a bad-ass lifer nick-named "Brownie." But until that moment Treasure had thought that her mother, Margaret "Brownie" Lee, was dead. Could Treasure's dream possibly come true? Stranger Inside is a bittersweet drama about one young woman's struggle to confront the secrets and lies that have, until now, shaped and controlled her life.

Cheryl's Residency

Information unavailable at time of printing.

Cheryl Dunye is a native of Philadelphia, who was born in Liberia in 1966. Dunye is the director and creator of the first African-American lesbian feature film THE WATERMELON WOMAN, which has been shown and won numerous awards around the world. Her most recent work, Stranger Inside, tells a story of Black women in prison. Using documentary, fiction, and pseudo-documentary styles of filmmaking, Dunye creates what she calls the "Dunyementary," to explore race, sex, and class in the lives of Black women. Dunye received her BA from Temple University and her MFA from Rutgers University's Mason Gross School of the Arts. She is currently a part-time instructor in the Department of Media Studies at Pitzer College in southern California, a board member of OUTFEST in Los Angeles, a member of the IFP/West and Film Arts Foundation as well a mother of two children. Visit <www.strangerbaby.com> for more information about her career, vision, and past.

Artists' Workshop

Tricks of the Trade: The Basics of Funding Your Art and Distributing It

This workshop will explore the various avenues of funding and distribution and the struggles and opportunities for independent women of color filmmakers and media artists today. Drawing upon the insight of women of color who've been there, done that, and tried a whole lot more, we will discuss and share tactics for getting financial support for our visions and the final work out to the people. Speakers will include filmmakers who've traveled the festival circuit, distribution folks who know the inside, and programmers who've surveyed the path.

Workshop Facilitators

Darshan Elena Campos, please see page 27.

Margaret R. Daniel, please see page 9.

Desi Del Valle, biographical information unavailable at time of printing.

Aparna Malladi, please see page 14.

Dolissa Medina, please see page 13.



Retrospective I: Of Visible Distinction (1992-1994)

Curated by Margaret R. Daniel

During the first three years of the festival I had the opportunity to foreground central concerns found in much of women of color short-length film and video--identity, sexuality, memory and their inherent mutability. This retrospective program is comprised of works from the first and second festivals: The Colors of Her Language and Of Visible Distinction. The first title came from my own visions of multiplicity and cultural translation, the second was a play on the title of the first major international festival of women of color film and video, In Visible Colours (Vancouver, Canada, 1989). For this retrospective program I chose to screen much of the heart of the first program of the first festival, mining those aforementioned cardinal territories from which many of the women short-length makers assemble their works.

Illusions (1983, 34 min, 16mm, b/w)

Director: Julie Dash

Illusions is one of Julie Dash's small masterpieces. Set in 1942, this narrative illuminates still timely issues of cultural exclusion and the power of the Hollywood machine to manipulate national identity and history.

Julie Dash (Illusions) the director of the acclaimed DAUGHTERS OF THE DUST, is a Fulbright and Guggenheim awardee and has numerous short films to her credit, as well as a novel based on DAUGHTERS. After branching into music video and HBO, she is currently at work on a feature project and a second novel. 

Two Lies (1989, 25 min, 16mm, b/w)

Director: Pamela Tom

Two Lies is a subtly poignant precursor of more recent works on dealing with physical alteration and cultural assimilation. A marvel of optical printing that melds the experimental with narrative story-telling techniques, even its silences are rich with the language of uncertainty.

Pamela Tom is a graduate of the UCLA film program, and formerly an instructor at Los Angeles' Visual Communications, an Asian Pacific American media arts organization. She is currently the Director of Project: Involve , a program of the Independent Feature Project/West, an outreach program founded to support and promote culturally diverse filmmaking within the film industry. Visit <www.ifp.org/docs.cfm/Locales/West/Project_Involve> for more information.

Juxta (1989, 29 min, 16mm, b/w)

Director: Hiroko Yamazaki

Juxta is a profoundly insightful portrait of intergenerational racism and its effects on two Japanese women and their Japanese Euroamerican and Japanese African American children in a narrative that spans the period from the 1950s to the 1980s.

Hiroko Yamazaki was born in Osaka, Japan and is a multi-disciplinary artist whose diverse interests eventually coalesced in filmmaking. After a stint in advertising she moved to the U.S. to realize her goals, first in New York then at UCLA's film program. Yamazaki hopes to continue filmmaking in the U.S. and Japan.

Urban, but Definitely Indian (1992, 6 min, video, color)

Urban, but Definitely Indian represents award-winning poet Esther G. Belin's early work. Her portrait of the urban Native American experience it is a sometimes raucous exclamation of an often invisible perspective.

Esther G. Belin's poetry collection, From the Belly of My Beauty (1999), was an American Book Award recipient. Belin was a founding member of the Women of Color Film/Videomaker's Collective at UC Berkeley, which originated that campus' Annual Women of Color Film and Video Festival. She graduated from UC Berkeley and the Institute of American Indian Arts, in Santa Fe New Mexico. A second-generation Navajo (Diné), she currently lives in Durango, Colorado, about two hours from her homeland.

Columbus on Trial (1993, 18 min, video, color)

Director: Lourdes Portillo

Columbus on Trial is one of the Lourdes Portillo's few forays into overt, if still ironic humor. Collaborating with the celebrated all-male Chicano performance troupe, Culture Clash, Portillo interjects enough espiritu chicana chingonas to keep the fuses of race and gender equally aflame.

Lourdes Portillo is the Academy Award nominated director of such documentary work as LAS MADRES: THE MOTHERS OF PLAZA DE MAYO (with Susana Muñoz) and her latest genre expanding work, THE DEVIL NEVER SLEEPS. She is currently at work on an experimental noir documentary, SENORITA EXTRAVIADA, about the over 300 Mexican women that have been murdered on the Mexican-U.S. border.

Curator, Margaret R. Daniel is a doctoral candidate in the History of Consciousness Department at UC Santa Cruz. Her work as a media professional includes founding the annual UC Santa Cruz Women of Color Film & Video Festival, and three-years programming video/New Media at the Mill Valley Film Festival. She has also worked in educational film distribution, and as a media consultant and educator in a variety of settings

Retrospective II: Subversive Geographies: Remapping Representation in the UCSC Women of Color Film & Video Festival (1995-1998)

Curated by Maylei Blackwell

The 1995 festival marked a transition from one principal organizer to collective organization where a group of six members used their creativity, vision and hard work to bring together the fourth annual festival entitled, "Out of Bounds, Subversive Geographies." In what was definitely a process of women of color in collaboration and conflict, between 1995 and 1998 a (changing) core group of organizers ranging from four to six people, along with sometimes up to 14 other people working on everything from logistics to PR, brought 110 films and videos to the screen at UCSC and over 44 guest speakers, film and video makers and critics to our audiences. With a commitment for screening thought provoking, challenging and inspiring images of women of color, we also engaged and grappled with the charged and critical political context that bore propositions 187, 209 and 227.

Each one of the following films was featured during one of these four incredible years of the festival's history where the transformative act of representing was remapped here at UCSC. The set of films and videos challenges the expected conventions of representations of women of color by reworking media figures, stereotypes and mass media genres such as MTV, aerobics videos, melodrama and ranchera. It brings together critically needed, but often unexpected forms of, solidarity with the transformative mixture of humor and hard-hitting political analysis.

NTV: Native Television (1995, 10 min, video, color)

Director: Hulleah J. Tsinhnahjinnie
Created for the National Museum of the Native American in New York, NTV presents channel surfing as a way to survey social commentary about Native issues such as identity, Shamanism, and sports teams' names in a humorous and biting manner. Using a series of mixed media skits, NTV airs as an ongoing parody of MTV where satire and political insight are given to issues facing Indian America.

Hulleah J. Tsinhnahjinnie is a visual artist who has exhibited nationally and internationally, Tsinhnahjinnie claims photography as her primary language. Using her unique visual grammar her imagery and photo-collage often blend political commentary and Indian humor. In addition to her artwork, Tsinhnahjinnie is an active member of her community, having served as a Board member for American Indian Contemporary Arts, San Francisco and the Intertribal Friendship House in Oakland.

Prey (1995, 26 min, 16mm, color)

Director: Helen Lee

The morning after a break-in at her Korean immigrant father's convenience store, Il Bae, 20-something and strong-willed, catches a hunky shoplifter and new surprises abound. In the space of one day, Il Bae's family routine collides with her New World romance, catching her between loyalty to her father and her passion for a new lover with a checkered past. Physical chemistry, cross-cultural confusions, racism, and the constant threat of urban violence converge in this fast-paced, wryly humorous take-off on love at first sight where trust and desire strike a delicate balance.

Helen Lee is a Toronto-based filmmaker and writer who received an MA in Cinema Studies at New York University and attended the Whitney Museum's prestigious Independent Study Program. Her previous films include SALLY'S BEAUTY SPOT, and MY NIAGRA, which have been screened at numerous festivals worldwide.

Badass Supermama (1996, 16 min, video, color)

This film is a playful, but questioning personal exploration of race, gender, sexuality, adolescent notions of beauty, body image and representation. These multi-layered, inter-connected issues are intimately examined through 1970s "blaxploitation" movie goddess Pam Grier in Foxy Brown. The videomaker tries on the powerful badass supermama role of Foxy Brown while exploring the space between body and image. The lyrical video is gently critical, playing with the idea of masquerade as well as girlhood and adolescent fantasies of black womanhood. 

Etang Inyang received her M.A. from Stanford University's Documentary Film and Video Program. Her film and video work includes SISTER INSIDE and SWIRL STORIES. She was formerly a California Arts Council Artist-in-Residence at the East Bay Center for Performing Arts in Richmond, California.

Carmelita Tropicana: Your Kunst is your Waffen (1994, 25 min, 16 mm, color)

Director: Ela Troyano

This film portrays an event-filled day-in-the-life of its eponymous heroine, Carmelita Tropicana, a Latin performance artist who supports herself as a building superintendent. Tropicana's experience -- a single woman and lesbian living on New York's Lower East Side - are filtered through a nightclub performance in which she embellishes them in humorous monologues and novella-style melodrama. This film introduces lesbian cultural terrorist Carmelita Tropicana, girl-gang rebel by day and club-singer by night through a shrewd and hilarious dissection of cultural stereotypes

Ela Troyano is a New York-based, Cuban-born, Latina filmmaker whose films and performances have been shown throughout the U.S. and at international festivals. Her other works include a 1993 feature length film, LATIN BOYS GO TO HELL, and the short ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE BRONX, which featured the Spanglish rap group, "Latin Empire," and was produced for public television.

Curator, Maylei Blackwell

Biographical information unavailable at time of printing.

Struggling for Sovereignty, Fighting for Freedom

Video: Two Palestinian Women Political Prisoners (1999, 25 min, video, color)

Translated and Read by Elham Bayour

Palestinian womenís contributions to the Palestinian National struggle and to Palestinian culture under the Israeli military occupation have been vital to the continuation of the Palestinian struggle heritage for the past eighty years. Palestinian women's nationalistic consciousness was never less than Palestinian men, they fought the Israeli occupier in their own homes, on the streets, at schools, at checkpoints, and in its oppressive barbaric prisons. Roula Abo Deho and Zahra Karoush, two Palestinian women among thousands of Palestinian women political prisoners, were detained, tortured, mentally, physically and sexually terrorized by the Israeli occupier for their unquestioned beliefs in the moral, historic, and basic human rights to resist the Israeli occupier/colonizer on their land. In this interview, Roula and Zahra talk about their experience in Israeli Prison and their feelings and reactions towards the Israeli occupation post imprisonment.

Photo Exhibit: Palestinian Women Refugees in Lebanon and Palestine

Photographer: Peter Fryer

View an extraordinary Palestinian refugee children's photo exhibit done by the children themselves, ages 10-15, in the refugee camps in Lebanon and Palestine; a Palestinian refugee women's exhibit from the refugee camps in Lebanon, and a Palestinian Bedouin women photo exhibit.

Elham Bayour was born and raised in the Dbayeh Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon. She graduated from UCLA in Cultural Anthropology. Currently she is writing her Masterís thesis in Anthropology/Women's Studies and Oral History at California State University at Long Beach. Her research focuses on Palestinian women who are former Israeli political prisoners, including the psychological effects of torture the women experienced at the hands of Israeli military soldiers during imprisonment, and the social and political conditions surrounding the women post-imprisonment. Ms. Bayour is the co-chair of the Middle Eastern Committee at Womenís International League for Peace and Freedom. She has toured nationally and internationally, including a presentation she gave at the Color of Violence: Women of Color Against Violence Conference, University of California at Santa Cruz, CA

Peter Fryer is a freelance photographer based in the United Kingdom. For the past ten years he has worked and lived extensively in the Middle East with Palestinian refugee communities in the refugee camps and displaced communities in Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan and with the Palestinian minority groups throughout Israel including the Bedouin in the Negev and the Unrecognized Villages in the North and South. Over the past five years Peter Fryer, has been working in conjunction with Save The Children UK to assist Palestinian children to photograph their own lives and communities in Palestine and Lebanon. The project aims at empowering the children to speak about their own experiences and the representation of the Palestinian people.


No Place Like Home/No Place is Home

This set of short films explores the roots we travel as we make homes for our families and ourselves. By sharing with us worldviews often not like our own, these films ask us to consider how memories of the past and experiences in the present shape who we are and how we live. Some sad, some loving, some uncertain, these films invite us to imagine ourselves as part of broad yet intimate communities where love is all about work.

Full Moon (1999, 18 mins, 16 mm, color)

Director: Marie Chao

Mei awakens to herself on the day of the Chinese Moon Festival. Now that the kids have left to pursue their own futures, the entire house is left with the routine monotony she shares with her husband. In the midst of cleaning, however, she is suddenly disgusted by the mundane life she lives, and decides to run away. Now she has to decide whether to return to the only way of life she knows, or to move on and fulfill her newborn awareness and desires.

Born in Taipei, Taiwan, Marie Chao lived in various cities in Taiwan and the Philippines before immigrating with her family to Los Angeles in 1988. She received a Master of Fine Arts degree in December 1997 from the California Institute of the Arts, School of Film and Video. FULL MOON is the first story of three in her feature-length FULL MOON trilogy, and premiered at the 2000 Los Angeles Asian Pacific American Film and Video Festival, 23rd Asian American International Film Festival in New York, and the 2001 San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival.

Grounds (2000, 11 mins, 16mm, color)

Director: Dolissa Medina

During the Mexican Revolution, a widow buried a coffee can filled with family treasures and crossed into the United States. The can was never found and became a lost ancestral time capsule. More than eighty years later, the woman's great-grandaughter uses her own story of moving to San Francisco to explore the scent of history and the organic texture of migratory memory.

Dolissa Medina is a San Francisco-based filmmaker writer and cultural worker. The recipient of a 1999 Film Arts Foundation STAND grant for emerging filmmakers, Ms. Medina has been involved with the Bay Area independent film community through her work as a film festival publicist and volunteer for several media arts organizations. She has lectured on film at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor and at other institutions, and is a founding member of the Women of Color Film & Video Network of the Bay Area.

Dog Days (2000, 25 mins, 35mm, B/W)

Director: Ellie Lee
This is dystopia. As an invasion threatens the United States, a family is forced to consider what home and family look and sound like. Meanwhile, a beggar becomes a dog as a means of survival. Does anyone in a state of real and psychological war emerge unscathed?

Ellie Lee is a filmmaker and artist based in Boston. Her first film, REPETION COMPULSION, combined charcoal sketches with the taped interviews of battered homeless women, revealing how violence in childhood often carries over into the lives of adult women. DOG DAYS, much like her first film, challenges us to see how experiences, at times beyond our control, shape how we look at the world and live within it.

Lullaby (1999, 6 mins, 16mm, B/W)

Director: Antonia Kao
Our stories enable us to survive and resist. In this film, a young girl is welcomed into a dream world when her Jamaican grandmother tells her an alternative creation story.

Antonia Kao received her B.A. from Wellesley College in 1994 and is a candidate for an M.F.A. in cinema-television production at the University of Southern California (USC) in 2001. Her film credits include HAPPY BRIRTHDAY (1998), LULLABY (1998), JUMP ROPE SONG (1999), and STRAIGHT WHITE MEN AND ME (2000). Her films have screened internationally in festivals, classrooms, and conferences. Before making films, she wrote and/or edited for The New York Times, Girlfriends Magazine, Sojourner: The Women's Forum, and The State of Asian America.

Nupur (2001, 8 mins, 35mm, color)

Director: Aparna Malladi
Nupur is the story of a little Indian girl who returns to her ancestral home for the first time. Charmed by her surroundings, she is nevertheless determined to challenge her family's rules and chart her own path by drawing upon submerged memories and traditions she discovers in the attic.

Aparna Malladi is a scientist whose love of the cinema inspired her to make films true to her vision of the world. NURPUR is her first film, and when she isn't on the job, she is learning the festival circuit and working on a feature to be filmed in India later this year.

Curator, Darshan Elena Campos

Please see page 27.


Documentary Feature with Short

900 Women (2000, 72 min, video, color)

Director: Laleh Khadivi

The Louisiana Correctional Institute is located in the swamps of southern Louisiana in the small town of St. Gabriel. Built in 1970 to house an increasing population of female convicts, of 900 women located there today, 75% of these are mothers and one fourth of them are serving sentences of fifteen years or more. The prison compound has a surreal quality; there are no searchlight-capped towers or barbed wire fences. Filmmaker Khadivi delivers a striking, sensitive portrait of life in this deceptively peaceful atmosphere, which is filled with stories of life on the streets, abuse, freedom, childbirth and motherhood. Six women - a grandmother, a young high school student, a pregnant woman, a recovering heroin addict, a prison guard, and the only woman on death row - were brave enough to share their frustrations and hopes.

Laleh Khadivi was hired by Gabriel Films in 1998 to organize and direct THE FARM outreach program. In late 1998 she began shooting for her own film 900 WOMEN at the Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women in St. Gabriel. Having been granted full access to film in the prison, the film took 18 months to complete and is scheduled to be aired on A&E and show in American and European festivals. Ms. Khadivi was born in Iran, and is experienced in both grassroots media activism and working to bring educational documentaries into prisons throughout the south.

O Tamaiti (The Children) (1996, 15 min, video, b/w) 

Director: Sima Urale

This film has won international acclaim for its dramatic tale of young Tino, a Samoan boy in charge of raising his younger siblings and the unexpected tragedy that binds them closer together. Director Sima Urale writes, "The story is seen through the eyes of the children. It is their perspective that the sounds and visuals, combined, reveals their deepest fears and anxieties." The film was "inspired by my own experiences as a child, growing up surrounded by relatives struggling with Samoan and Western cultures."

Sima Urale was born in Samoa, and educated at the New Zealand Drama School and the Victorian College of Arts, Film and TV in Melbourne, Australia. She blazed into the film world with her multi-award winning film O TAMAITI which has won multiple international awards including 1996 Best Short Film Awards from the Venice International Film Festival and Asia Pacific Film Festival. O TAMAITI made its debut in the U.S. at the prestigious Telluride and Sundance film festivals. She has completed a music video and VELVET DREAMS, a tongue-in-cheek documentary on the exotic world of black velvet painting. 


Panel Discussion with Short: Punishing Women, Vanishing Bodies

Lil Paypa (2001, 4 min, video, color, b/w)
Directors: Sanipepa Mali Mali and Van Nguyen

Lil Paypa is a prose poem about betrayal, anger, and healing. Shared by Sanipepa Mali Mali, the words are straight from the life of a young Tongan woman growing up in East Palo Alto.

Sanipepa Mali Mali was born in San Mateo and raised in Menlo Park, California, began her pathway in filmmaking through her involvement with the School After School for Successful Youth Young Media Activist Crew program. " I want to become a filmmaker because after working with Van, Molly, and Nick and being a part of the SASSY program, it made me want to make videos that reach out to young people who may have had similar problems Iíve experience. I hope to help heal people like filmmaking has for me."

Van Minh Nguyen Van Minh Nguyen, a child of Vietnamese Refugee parents was born in Oceanside California. She received her B.A in Film and Video Production from the University of California, Santa Cruz and is currently residing in San Francisco, pursuing her soulís passion and mission as a media/art activist. Nguyen teaches "Video Production for self and community growth through truth and visions" to high school youth in East Palo Alto/Menlo Park, through OICW SASSY (School After School for Successful Youth), a.k.a., Young Media Activists Crew youth program. Nguyenís work has been presented was at the Santa Cruz, 6th Annual Women of Color Festival and in the San Franciscoís New Youth Communication Expo, Image Gallery.

Vanessa Agard-Jones is the Coordinator of the Prison Activist Resource Center (PARC) in Oakland, California. A 22 year old human rights activist, Vanessa has been engaged in public education and organizing work around the issues of womenís resource development, police brutality, the prison crisis, and issues facing same gender loving people of color in the United States. A graduate of Yale University, Vanessa is currently an organizer with Critical Resistance and the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement. Most recently she was a project assistant at New Havenís Center for the Study of Race, Inequality, and Politics and currently works on the design team for a School of Social Justice and Community Development at Castlemont High School in East Oakland, slated to open in September 2002.

Anjali Arondekar is Assistant Professor of Critical Race Studies in the Department of Womenís Studies at UCSC. She was the Andrew W. Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellow at Smith College from 1999-2001, and her research interests include queer theory, South Asia studies, critical race studies and Victorian studies. She has published variously in Postmodern Culture, Symploke, Journal of Asian Studies and the Village Voice, and is currently working on a book-project entitled A Perverse Empire: Victorian Sexuality and India.

Angela Y. Davis (Professor of History of Consciousness, UC Santa Cruz) is internationally known for her ongoing work to combat all forms of oppression in the US and abroad. Professor Davis' longstanding commitment to prisoners' rights dates back to her involvement in the campaign to free the Soledad Brothers, which led ot her own arrest and imprisonment. Today she is a member of the advisory board of the Prison Activist Resource Center and the steering committee of Critical Resistance: Beyond the Prison Industrial Complex. She the author of numerous essays/articles and the author of five books, including: Angela Davis: An Autobiography; Women, Race and Class; Blues Legacies and Black Feminism; and The Angela Y. Davis Reader.

Feature Closing Performance

Teaiwa's Kainga (2001, 20 min, video, color)

Director and Performer: Katerina Teaiwa
Rabi Island in Fiji is the home of Teaiwa's family, as well as the displaced population originally from Banaba in Kiribati. They were removed from their island first by the Japanese during World War II and then by the British Government soon after. Banaba was mined for phosphate from 1900 to 1980 by a conglomeration of British, Australian and New Zealand Agricultural and Colonial interests. Though the Banaban people have since made new lives for themselves on Rabi, relationships are fraught at the economic, political, cultural and spiritual levels. The 5000 Rabi Islanders are a mixture of Banaban, Gilbertese, Tuvaluan, European, Fijian, Japanese and Chinese heritage. Teaiwa illustrates this hybridity in the film through a collage of sounds, images and conversations. This dance performance following the video reflects Teaiwa's distance from and connection to Rabi. Born and raised in Suva City Teaiwa learns what it means to be incorporated physically and psychically into the community.

Katerina Teaiwa is a Banaban/Gilbertese/African American woman from Fiji. She did her MA in Pacific Islands Studies at the University of Hawaiíi and is currently doing a PhD in Anthropology at the Australian National University in Canberra.

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