4th Annual Grand Rapids Feminist Film Festival Announces Films, Performances and Panels

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Film festival spurs discussion around trans rights, cultural appropriation, mental health advocacy, body positivity, the 2016 election and more

“Whether you're just discovering what ‘feminism’ means to you, or you teach a class on it, we've got something for you."

The Grand Rapids Feminist Film Festival (GRFFF) today announced films, performances, and panel discussions for what will be its most exciting festival to date. Taking place at the UICA in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan, on October 21, GRFFF is a free one-day celebration dedicated to elevating voices and showcasing talent from historically underrepresented groups in mainstream media. The full lineup of films, performers and panels can be found at http://www.grfff.org.

GRFFF began when a group of film buffs and social justice advocates decided to put together a film festival that showcased diversity in front of and behind the camera. In addition to short films – including a kid-friendly block! – the festival offers panel discussions, comedy and musical performances, a drag show and presentations on feminist issues ranging from trans rights to feminist parenting to cultural appropriation to body positivity and diversity. In 2016, GRFFF hosted upwards of 800 attendees, and received nearly 150 film submissions from around the world. This year, with a new downtown venue and a stronger focus on elevating diverse voices, GRFFF expects to have its most successful festival yet.

“What I love most about this festival is that we’ve been able to use our privilege to shine the spotlight on those who don't often get to have the stage,” said festival Co-Founder and Director Lydia VanHoven. “We try to be better and better each year at being more intersectional, and especially in this political climate, making sure we provide a safe, inclusive, and educational space for women and non-binary folks to be empowered.”

In fact, in order to ensure the voices and perspectives from the diverse Grand Rapids community are highlighted, there will be a greater push this year to connect with the community on social media. In addition to having reached out to the community to encourage people to volunteer and join the organizers in planning the event, GRFFF will be soliciting from its social media community suggestions for questions and topics to address with panelists and presenters. The festival organizers will also be taking questions from the audience in real time during the festival using the hashtag #GRFFF2017 to help fulfill the festival mission of ensuring as many diverse voices as possible are heard and empowered.

“This film festival is a unique event in Grand Rapids,” said festival Co-Founder Sarah Vesely. “Whether you're just discovering what ‘feminism’ means to you, or you teach a class on it, we've got something for you. We're not overly academic or exclusive, and by keeping our event free at a central downtown venue, we are able to include the whole community.”

GRFFF by the Numbers:
Exploring issues like racism, LGBTQ rights, body image, gender equality, the wage gap, disability rights, the 2016 election, the portrayal of Muslim women in the media, immigration, sexual assault, and more.

  • 32 short (20-minute or less) films from local, national, and international filmmakers made by or about women and non-binary folks in 6 individual film blocks
  • 11 films from outside the U.S.
  • 9 Michigan-made films
  • 9 kid-friendly films

Speakers, Artists and Performances
Exploring issues like cultural appropriation, feminist parenting, women in advertising, feminism in horror films, fake news, and lots more. All speakers, artists and performers are compensated for their time.

  • 30 panelists
  • 17 diverse panels, performances and speakers
  • 6 speakers
  • 4 t-shirt designs printed exclusively at the fest by CitizenShirt, designed by local Grand Rapids’ artists, Rayne Klar, Complete VII, and Ariana Ortega
  • 2 performances, including a sketch comedy show and a drag show

Organizers and Volunteers
GRFFF loves hearing from its community, and encourages anyone who has a topic they want to champion, art they want to contribute, or time they want to donate to reach out to the organizers via the GRFFF website.

  •     Over 20 volunteers donating their time
  •     15 organizers who have worked for months in advance to organize the festival
  •     100% of all funds raised and proceeds earned by the festival go directly back into the not-for-profit GRFFF

About Grand Rapids Feminist Film Festival:
The Grand Rapids Feminist Film Festival was founded in 2014 as a not-for-profit, free, one-day celebration dedicated to elevating voices and showcasing talent from historically underrepresented groups in mainstream media. Join the conversation this year by visiting our website at http://www.grfff.org, connecting with us on social media, and contributing your perspective with hashtag #GRFFF2017.

Festival organizers, filmmakers, and panelists are available for interview prior to and on-site at the festival. Press photos can be found at: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0B4zRA9FKt1ILRG42eVk0VkYzcGs?usp=sharing


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Elise Waugh
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