AWFJ Women On Film – First Run Features Women Directors – Jennifer Merin reports

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The good news from First Run Features is that the indie distributor boasts five fem-helmed or co-directed films currently in theatrical release or scheduled to open soon. They’re all superb! So, keep your eyes wide open for:

  • Stonewall Uprising, directed by Kate Davis and David Heilbroner, telling the story of what happened at the Stonewall Inn one summer in 1969, when gays decided to resist police oppression.
  • Mugabe and the White African, directed by Lucy Baily and Andrew Thompson and Lucy Bailey, documents “white African” Mike Campbell’s international court battle against Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, over the forced re-allocation of white-owned farmland and the loss of property owned and worked by his family for generations.
  • Neshoba: The Price of Freedom, directed by Micki Dickoff and Tony Pagano, takes us to Mississiippi’s Neshoba County, where 40 years after the murders of civil rights workers James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner, the State — at long last — indicted preacher Edgar Ray Killen, an 80-year-old racist who allegedly masterminded the killings.
  • Altiplano, directed by Jessica Hope Woodworth and Peter Brosens, is a feature film about how a riot in a small village in the Peruvian Andes eventually creates a bond between two women—one native, one foreign—who are brought together in its aftermath.
  • Kings of Pastry, directed by Chris Hegedus and D.A. Pennebaker, documents France’s Meilleurs Ouvriers de France pastry competition—and, by the way, don’t go to see this one while you’re hungry!

Check the First Run Features Website for more information on the films, scheudling and, for those who cannot find these films in nearby theaters, projected DVD release dates.

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Jennifer Merin

Jennifer Merin is the Film Critic for Womens eNews and contributes the CINEMA CITIZEN blog for and is managing editor for Women on Film, the online magazine of the Alliance of Women Film Journalists, of which she is President. She has served as a regular critic and film-related interviewer for The New York Press and She has written about entertainment for USA Today, The L.A. Times, US Magazine, Ms. Magazine, Endless Vacation Magazine, Daily News, New York Post, SoHo News and other publications. After receiving her MFA from Tisch School of the Arts (Grad Acting), Jennifer performed at the O'Neill Theater Center's Playwrights Conference, Long Wharf Theater, American Place Theatre and LaMamma, where she worked with renown Japanese director, Shuji Terayama. She subsequently joined Terayama's theater company in Tokyo, where she also acted in films. Her journalism career began when she was asked to write about Terayama for The Drama Review. She became a regular contributor to the Christian Science Monitor after writing an article about Marketta Kimbrell's Theater For The Forgotten, with which she was performing at the time. She was an O'Neill Theater Center National Critics' Institute Fellow, and then became the institute's Coordinator. While teaching at the Universities of Wisconsin and Rhode Island, she wrote "A Directory of Festivals of Theater, Dance and Folklore Around the World," published by the International Theater Institute. Denmark's Odin Teatret's director, Eugenio Barba, wrote his manifesto in the form of a letter to "Dear Jennifer Merin," which has been published around the world, in languages as diverse as Farsi and Romanian. Jennifer's culturally-oriented travel column began in the LA Times in 1984, then moved to The Associated Press, LA Times Syndicate, Tribune Media, Creators Syndicate and (currently) Arcamax Publishing. She's been news writer/editor for ABC Radio Networks, on-air reporter for NBC, CBS Radio and, currently, for Westwood One's America In the Morning. She is a member of the Critics Choice Association in the Film, Documentary and TV branches and a voting member of the Black Reel Awards. For her AWFJ archive, type "Jennifer Merin" in the Search Box (upper right corner of screen).