Cinema Femme Documentary Issue — Editor’s Letter
I’ve always loved how documentaries can connect with viewers by taking them through worlds that are not their own. And some documentaries, like Yance Ford’s “Strong Island” (2017), our Issue 3 film focus, demand your attention and you can’t look away.
In our third issue, “Strong Island” edition, we feature four personal essays (written by Marjorie H. Morgan, Amy Renee Wasney, Jaylan Salah, and Atavia Reed) that beautifully examine the tragedy and injustice of the murder of William Ford Jr, director Yance Ford’s brother.
Last year, there were many narrative films that brought us deeper into the reality of police brutality and injustice toward African Americans, like “Blindspotting” (one of my favorite films of 2018), “BlacKkKlansman,” and “The Hate U Give.” But I have not seen a film as powerful and personal as “Strong Island,” that conveys the deep emotional pain and strain that happens to a family affected by these injustices.
Laurine Cornuéjols illustrated our Issue 3 cover with a powerful, electrifying illustration of two shadows in darkness hugging one another. This illustration channels the power of the film. And Cinema Femme’s new illustrator Tavi Veraldi contributed an illustration to accompany Jaylan Salah’s poem about “Strong Island,” perfectly reflecting the mood and tone of the piece. We’re so lucky and fortunate to have so many talented contributors.
Danielle Solzman is Issue 3’s featured film critic. Danielle is giving a voice to the transgender community in film criticism and making a huge impact with her words. It’s incredible how many films she reviews—Danielle covers most of the major film festivals (Sundance this year!) and Chicago premieres and screenings. You can find her work at solzyatthemovies.com.
Film critic Pamela Powell (FF2 Media, The Daily Journal, “Reel Talk with Chuck and Pam”) interviewed filmmaker Penny Lane about her film “Hail Satan?” (2019), which premiered at Sundance this year. Penny also directed the award-winning film “Nuts!” (2016), which also premiered at Sundance in 2016. We’re so happy to have Pamela as part of our team. Thank you, Pamela, for introducing us to such amazing films by female filmmakers!
I had the pleasure of interviewing Meryl Goldsmith, director of “The Syndrome” (2014) and producer of “Love, Gilda” (2018). Meryl taught me so much about the mechanics of documentary filmmaking through sharing her unique style and individuality that has set her apart as a documentary filmmaker and producer.
I also interviewed director Andrea Alberti and producer Katy Osborn (sisters!), who are working on a documentary called “Head to Head.” “Head to Head” about the human hair industry, specifically about women who suffer from hair loss due to medical reasons, such as cancer, alopecia, or lupus. It’s about how much hair ties into somebody’s sense of self, and how that affects their mental and physical health. Andrea and Katy have interviewed so many brave women for this documentary. Struggling with identity, vulnerability, and authenticity is a universal issue, and this documentary connects with viewers on such an intimate level.
And finally, I got to interview Nassim Abdi, cofounder of Docademia. Nassim discovered that educators can reach students on social justice topics by sharing documentary films in the classroom. Nassim’s work is revolutionizing the way we look at documentaries and is making them an essential tool for education and discussion.
Founder and Editor in Chief
Cinema Femme magazine
*And a special-thank you to Jennifer Jenkins for bringing color and design to the words on our pages, and a special thank-you to Alison Marcotte for having her sharp eye on all the words that elegantly come together on our pages. Thank you, ladies!