Women Direct Film Series Opens 17th Season

Ithaca, NY--Women Direct, Ithaca College's series of new films, video, and media by women, will begin its 17th season on Wednesday, March 18, with a screening of "The Gate of Heavenly Peace," Carma Hinton's controversial film documenting the 1989 massacre in Beijing's Tiananmen Square. All four of this year's Women Direct screenings are set for 7:00 p.m. in Roy H. Park Hall Auditorium, and all are free and open to the public.

The Chinese government attempted to ban Hinton's film--regarded as one of the most provocative documentaries of the last decade--from being shown at the New York Film Festival and the Berlin International Film Festival. In its chronicling of the student democracy movement and the events that unfolded at Tiananmen Square, "The Gate of Heavenly Peace" illuminates the historical complexities of the uprising from an insider's point of view. Produced with an international crew and research team and including camcorder footage from all over the world, the film includes never-before-broadcast scenes of the movement's internal political debates.

Hinton's previous works include "Small Happiness, To Taste a Hundred Herbs," and "First Moon." She has been directing acclaimed documentaries for more than 20 years. Hinton will be present at the March 18 screening.

Here's a look at future Women Direct installments:

"Women/Welfare/Health Care," featuring screenings of visiting artist Pamela Yates's "Poverty Outlaw" and "Loss of Innocence." An internationally recognized documentary filmmaker, Yates will present an evening of riveting new work on poverty, welfare, and health care in the United States. "Loss of Innocence," produced for the Learning Channel's series "Trauma: Life in the ER," chronicles events at an emergency room at New Orleans's Charity Hospital. A hit at the Sundance Film Festival, "Poverty Outlaw" places the viewer amid desperate women who have been pushed into homelessness and poverty by Pennsylvania's early version of the national welfare reform laws.

"Pirating Patriarchy," featuring visiting artist Leah Gilliam and a potpourri of short experimental hybrid forms by emerging artists. Guest speakers will include Nina Martin of the Department of Cinema and Photography at Ithaca College, and Amy Villarejo of the Department of Theatre Arts and Women's Studies at Cornell University.

"Digital Feminism and Environmental Activism," featuring visiting artist Branda Miller and a screening of "Witness to the Future," a multimedia presentation of video, CD-ROM, and interactive Web sites chronicling the transformation of ordinary citizens into environmental activists.

Women Direct series programmers are Ithaca College faculty members Barbara Adams, writing, and Patricia Zimmermann, cinema and photography. Major funding for the series is provided by the James Pendleton endowment of the Roy H. Park School of Communications. Additional funding is provided by the College's Department of Cinema and Photography, the Ithaca College Gerontology Institute, and the Electronic Arts Program of the Experimental Television Center funded by the New York State Council on the Arts.