The Rocky Mountain Women's Film Festival, now in its 25th year, brings a strong, diverse selection of films to the region this weekend for viewing, discussion and celebration. The longest-running women-centered film festival in North America, it will showcase both fiction and non-fiction work starring, written, directed and filmed by women. With more than two dozen films on tap for this edition -- including Inocente, the story of a homeless, undocumented teen's struggle with life and the pursuit of her art, and the critically acclaimed The Invisible War, which captures the mass cover-ups of rape in the military -- the range of topics is far-reaching.
The Rocky Mountain Women's Film Festival has grown quite a bit in its quarter-century of life, and so has the independent movie industry at its heart.
"With the advent of better, more affordable technology and the ability to make films at a lower price, it means there are more people at it," says executive director Linda Broker. "The products are much better than when I first got involved; the film quality is outstanding. This year in particular, with the films that we have at the festival, it is the strongest line-up ever. We're super happy about that, given that it is our 25th anniversary."
A film like Ethel -- the intimate portrait of Robert F. Kennedy's wife, who raised eleven children on her own after his death in 1968 -- shows the festival's propensity to embrace personal stories of familiar figures in the public eye. At the same time, the programming acts as a platform for films like A Girl Like Her and Donor Unknown, works dealing with the social stigma of unplanned pregnancy and a child's search for their birth father. From independent to fully-funded movies, the Rocky Mountain Women's Film Festival brings it all together.
Broker -- who has been with the film festival for close to two decades -- says another positive aspect of the event is its own longevity. "We always love to have returning filmmakers. Now that we've been around long enough, we've been given time for filmmakers to return several times with new films that get programmed for the festival."
Mondays At Racine, a forty-minute film by Cynthia Wade, marks the filmmaker's fourth movie shown at the fest and her third visit. Lisa Jackson's Sex Crimes Unit will also mark her fourth visit. "It is fun to have the opportunity to establish a longterm relationships with these women and watch their careers unfold," says Broker.
At the same time, Broker says that the hardest part of her job is often having to turn down the work of previous filmmakers -- but having a critical eye keeps the film programming fresh for viewers, year after year. "We totally try to mix it up in terms of subject matter -- which is sometimes why a film may not get selected. It may have nothing to do with the quality of the film, it simply has to do with the fact that we have another film on a similar topic that is just slightly better," say Broker.
"One year, we ended up with two films about women pilots in World War II -- go figure. They were both great films, but we couldn't show both of them in one weekend. The festival is too short to do that. If we were a ten-day festival and we showed one on day two and one on day eight, it wouldn't be quite as noticeable. That hugely impacts our selection process. A lot of our atttendees are repeat viewers and they want to see something that is different."
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The Rocky Mountain Women's Film Festival opens at the Fine Arts Center in Colorado Springs Friday evening, November 2, with films starting just before 8 p.m. For a full program of events or to purchase tickets, visit the fest's website.