“God has given you one face, you make yourself another.” -William Shakespeare
Hamlet used these words to attack the way Ophelia expresses her femininity, but in this simple phrase we see the freedom to define oneself. From the moment we are born, we are assigned identities outside of ourselves & our control. So, when deciding this year’s theme, we realized it would be a disservice to box the many voices you will hear from into something as simple as “Faces of Women.” But gender--as an identity, as a construct--is still a source of much pride and joy, as well as oppression and misunderstanding. So how do you encompass gender without defining it?
This is why we decided on “FACES OF WO/MEN.”
The face we were born with is not necessarily one we would choose for ourselves. FACES OF WO/MEN seeks to reconcile the powerful and the vulnerable, the self and the other, the feminine and the masculine. But how do you define these terms? Can you? Should you? Our hope is that you, the viewer, will see those like and unlike yourself on screen and converse with those like and unlike yourself off screen. By using film to elevate the joys, sorrows, and chronicles of a diverse palette of women, men, and gender non-conforming individuals, the CMUIFF seeks to derive strength from their stories and to better understand the complexities in constructing one's own identity.