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Ann Arbor’s second annual Nevertheless Film Festival to go virtual in July

Nevertheless Film Festival celebrates womxn (includes non-cisgender women) in film. (Credit: Jessica Miglio)

ANN ARBORNevertheless Film Festival has announced it will be taking place online this year July 9-12.

Now in its second year, the festival was slated to take place at the Michigan Theater, but organizers pivoted to a virtual platform over health and safety concerns amid the current coronavirus pandemic.

At least half of the films featured in the festival are produced, written or directed by womxn (a term which includes non-cisgender women).

Its 2020 program includes six feature films and 20 short films from eight different countries. According to festival organizers, the benefit of a virtual festival is that anyone in the United States can access the program.

From July 9-12, films will be available to watch anytime, in contrast to an in-person event when screenings are on a set schedule.

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A live stream Q&A with filmmakers will accompany each film screening and viewers will be able to ask questions in a live chat.

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to pivot to a virtual platform for the 2020 Nevertheless Film Festival and continue forward with our mission of elevating the work of womxn in film even during these uncertain times,” Meredith Finch, founder and director of the festival said in a news release. “Our unique program of films is timely, thought-provoking and inspiring. These films are made by womxn, for everyone.”

This year’s lineup includes a variety of genres, including four documentary features with social justice themes. Finch calls this “indicative of the times.”

Nevertheless will donate 25% of ticket sales to several nonprofits, the majority of which are in Michigan. In addition, 25% of ticket sales from certain films will go to specific nonprofits that share missions similar to the film’s theme.

Here’s a list of where a portion of donations from the following films will go:

  • “Asking For It” will go to ACLU of Michigan
  • “Easy Land” will go to Welcoming Michigan
  • “First Vote” will go to APIAVote Michigan
  • “Hungry to Learn” will go to Maize & Blue Cupboard
  • “Personhood” will go to Planned Parenthood of Michigan
  • “Waging Change” will go to Michigan One Fair Wage
  • Narrative Shorts will go to The Future of Film is Female
  • Documentary Shorts will go to Brown Girls Doc Mafia
  • Take Care Shorts will go to Made in Her Image
  • Late Night Shorts will go to Sisters in Cinema at the University of Michigan

Below is a breakdown of programming, according to Nevertheless Film Festival:

Narrative Features

“Asking For It”

Directed by Amanda Lundquist and Becky Scott

A put-upon journalist resorts to vigilante justice when the law fails to protect her from an anonymous Internet stalker. Starring Stephanie Hsu (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel), Irene Morales, and Janeane Garofalo.

“Easy Land”

Directed by Sanja Zivkovic

Recent immigrants to Canada, a Serbian mother and daughter must find a balance between what they have chosen for the future and what they have left behind. Starring Mirjana Jokovic and Nina Kiri (The Handmaid’s Tale).

Documentary Features

“First Vote”

Directed by Yi Chen

Directed by a soon-to-be first-time voter, this thought-provoking journey into the Rust Belt and South captures four Asian American voters’ ardent grassroots political participation in battleground states centered around the 2018 midterm elections.

Until 1952, federal law prohibited immigrants of Asian descent from becoming U.S. citizens and voting. Today, Asian Americans are the fastest growing population in the United States. First Vote is a timely story exploring what it means to be American through personal stories of the nation’s fastest growing political constituency’s diverse experience at the polls in battleground states.

“Hungry to Learn”

Directed by Geeta Gandbhir

This documentary film by Soledad O’Brien and Geeta Gandbhir introduces the faces behind an American crisis -- college students so strapped to pay tuition that they don’t have enough money to eat or a place to live.

A lack of food is just a symptom of a bigger problem, the American Dream of a college education slipping out of reach. It is the story of how colleges, once places for children of privilege, opened their doors to students of limited means but failed to provide enough financial aid to allow these new students to graduate without making painful choices. This documentary is not just about the devastating hunger crisis unfolding on American campuses, it is about what can -- and should -- be done about it.

“Personhood”

Directed by Jo Ardinger

Personhood tells a different reproductive rights story that ripples far beyond the right to choose and into the lives of every pregnant person in America. Tammy Loertscher’s fetus was given an attorney, while the courts denied Tammy her constitutional rights. In this timely documentary, we see her sent to jail, and then forced to challenge a Wisconsin law that eroded her privacy, her right to due process, and her body sovereignty. Personhood reframes the abortion debate to encompass the growing system of laws that criminalize and police pregnant women. These little-known laws, which now exist in 38 states, disproportionately target lower income women and women of color. At the intersection of the erosion of women’s rights, the war on drugs, and mass incarceration, Tammy’s experience reveals the dangerous consequences that these laws have on America’s mothers and families.

“Waging Change”

Directed by Abby Ginzberg

Waging Change weaves together two female-driven movements that reveal an American worker's struggle hidden in plain sight -- the effort to end the federal tipped minimum wage of $2.13 for restaurant servers and bartenders and the #MeToo movement's efforts to end sexual harassment. The film shines a spotlight on the challenges faced by restaurant workers, 70% of whom are women, trying to feed themselves and their families on tips. Through the personal stories of workers we come to see and experience the everyday challenges these workers face in trying to make ends meet, underscoring the need for One Fair Wage in the 43 states that do not require restaurants to pay their workers minimum wage.

Short Films

“Abortion Helpline, This is Lisa”

Directed by Barbara Attie, Janet Goldwater and Mike Attie

At an abortion helpline, counselors arrive each morning to the nonstop ring of calls from women and teens who are seeking to end a pregnancy but can’t afford to.

“Beef”

Directed by Ingride Santos

In front of all her classmates, Melisa questions the school system and the usefulness of what they are studying by asking a very uncomfortable question.

“Blocks”

Directed by Bridget Moloney

An existential comedy about the mother of two young children who begins to spontaneously vomit toy blocks.

“Call Center Blues”

Directed by Geeta Gandbhir

A lyrical portrait of an unlikely community of U.S. deportees and their loved ones struggling to rebuild their lives in Tijuana, Mexico.

“Day One”

Directed by Arielle Goldman

A woman prepares for her day whilst on her period.

“Dia de la Madre”

Directed by Ashley Brandon and Dennis Hohne

A band of juveniles embarks on a 24-hour spree of breaking into houses and causing a ruckus.

“Dorris 85”

Directed by Grace Philips

While trying to maintain composure and a sense of normalcy in a tough situation, Dorris Havemeyer struggles to keep up her spirits while celebrating a significant birthday.

“Flesh (Carne)”

Directed by Camila Kater

Rare, medium rare, medium, medium well, and well done. Through intimate and personal stories, five women share their experiences in relation to the body, from childhood to old age.

“He’s the One”

Directed by Jessie Kahnweiler

A girl meets a guy and falls head over heels, but a shocking discovery forces her to question everything. A dark comedy about falling in love with the one person you're supposed to hate.

“Knock, Knock, Knock (똑, 똑, 똑)”

Directed by Arom Choi

A short film about a woman who confines herself to a tiny room, struggling to find meaning in life.

“Mizuko (Water Child)”

Directed by Kira Dane and Katelyn Rebelo

Inspired by a Buddhist ritual to grieve abortions, a Japanese American woman reevaluates what it means to end her own pregnancy.

“Odd Bird”

Directed by Katy Dore

When a young man makes the long drive home to share his truth with his conservative family, he fears it’s the last time he’ll be welcome.

“PICK”

Directed by Alicia K. Harris

A young girl wears her afro to school on picture day and must deal with the unexpected consequences.

“Power Out”

Directed by Lauren Keating

Coming-of-age story meets supernatural thriller, in which Grace loses a toxic girlfriend and gains a true understanding of her family’s past.

“Princess Rita”

Directed by Blair Waters

A lonely insurance adjuster becomes consumed by his desire to meet his internet girlfriend, who claims to be a princess from a faraway country.

“So What If The Goats Die”

Directed by Sofia Alaoui

In the Atlas Mountains, the shepherd Abdellah must go to find supplies at a market village for his animals. There, he finds the village abandoned due to a strange event that has wreaked havoc on the lives of all believers.

“Stucco”

Directed by Janina Gavankar and Russo Schelling

An agoraphobic woman finds a suspicious, hollow wall in her house.

“The Bony Lady (La Flaca)”

Directed by Adriana Barbosa and Thiago Zanato

A film about Arely Vazquez, a Mexican transgender woman and leader of the Saint Death Cult living in Queens, New York.

“The Tampon”

Directed by Erica Ortiz

Following a night of heavy drinking, an art student comes face to face with the complexities of consent in her college sorority through her art.

“Warpaint for the Teenage Soul”

Directed by Rebecca Woolf

Two teenage girls form an unlikely bond in a school bathroom when they're supposed to be in class.

Tickets:

Tickets for a single film are $6. All Access Passes with access to all 10 film screenings and live streams are $29.

Buy tickets here.

For more information about Nevertheless Film Festival, visit www.neverthelessfilmfestival.com.


About the Author:

Meredith has worked for WDIV since August 2017 and was voted one of Washtenaw County's best journalists in 2019 by eCurrent's readers. She covers the community of Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in International Broadcast Journalism from City University London, UK.