The Women of Wonders Film Festival (WOWFF) was a celebration of women’s and girls’ lives and accomplishments, and an opportunity to facilitate conversations around issues that are important to women and girls.
The two-day festival, held at the Honolulu Museum of Art’s Doris Duke Theatre, consisted of three programs that were broken down into four viewings, each followed by a panel discussion.
The first day featured short films by the graduates of HWF’s filmmaking programs: Reel Camp, Spooky Reel and Making Media That Matters. The second day presented short films by local filmmakers, and a featured documentary.
Program #1 was followed by the first panel “Girls Make Movies” moderated by Taylour Chang. The participants shared their experiences making the films and what drew them to their specific projects.
“We wanted to focus on something that’s really relevant in a lot girls our ages lives, which is friendship and how friendships can end badly with betrayal and bullying,” Lucy Fagan said in explaining her film A Twisted Friendship.
Program #2, whose films addressed notions of beauty and the role that media play in their definition, was followed by a panel on “Alternative Narratives” moderated by HWF’s Making Media That Matters mentor Katie Caldwell, who stressed that change begins with talking.
Zoe Payne of Blank Projections said that more conversations bring about more awareness.
“I think you need to talk about things. You need to discuss them. I think you need to have media that’s focused on this just to bring the issue to awareness,” she said. “Once that awareness is present, which it isn’t everywhere yet, I think it needs to move through the rest of society, and the way to do that is for people who have that awareness need to keep making media.”
Program #3 featured local filmmakers Cindy Iodice, Laurie Arakaki, and Alana Bombino. In the Q&A that followed moderated by Carter Schneider, they shared about their experiences and the importance of collaborations. There, they emphasized their trust in others.
“I didn’t trust myself to be the only narrator,” she said. “I really depended on other people to help me see my vision,” Cindy said.
Lastly, Ovarian Psycos concluded the screenings. Ovarian Psycos was a documentary that rides along with the Ova’s, exploring the impact of the group’s activism, born of feminist ideals, Indigenous understanding and an urban/hood mentality, on neighborhood women and communities as they confront injustice, racism, and violence, and take back their streets one ride at a time.
The screening was followed by a conversation with Pamela Velazquez Avila, a member of the Ovarian Psycos Bicycle Brigade based in Los Angeles, moderated by Dani Ortiz-Padilla.
Pamela discussed the Ova’s community activism programs, the principles the brigade hold to themselves, and the reason they continue to reach out.
“We’re going to put the children in the frontline all the time. This isn’t for us, it’s for them. This is something we need to break through and break the silence in order for them to have something to work with already,” she said.