NewGate Students Partner with International Film Festival

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Pictured: This year's opening film will screen the documentary Shirin Ebadi: Until We are Free, featuring Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi.

The Through Women’s Eyes International Film Festival 2023, now in its 24th year, began as a one-film event with screenings at a theater on the Ringling campus. It has now evolved into a five-day festival with an online platform for viewing as well as in-person events in Sarasota. It was the brainchild of women who knew that women’s films and women’s perspectives were grossly underrepresented in mainstream media, a fact that remains true to this day.

E. Scott Osborne is president of the organization and one of the festival chairs. A former teacher at NewGate Montessori School and parent of NewGate students, she is always looking for ways to engage students in compelling conversations and events. When she first became involved with running the festival in 2015, she reached out to Amy Kremer, an English and theater teacher in the secondary program at NewGate, as both women are passionate about finding community-oriented projects and experiences for students so that they are learning outside the traditional classroom as often as possible.  Through their involvement with this particular festival, her students are getting opportunities to become critical viewers of films, just like Kremer is teaching them to become critical viewers of books, poems, and conversations.

Elizabeth Hale is working with Osborne, Kremer, and the student reviewers.  Hale has been a Montessori teacher for about 25 years.  “I’m always looking for an authentic way for students to do their school work. This is an authentic writing experience for them because it’s not just for their teachers, it’s for the festival–a quality that makes it really important for these adolescents,” she says. “I’m so grateful for the students to have the perspectives of these filmmakers.”

The student reviewers are from the New Gate Montessori IB Global Program, which is the online campus made up of about 18 students from all parts of Florida, several parts of the United States and a couple of different parts of the world. This year, festival organizers are showcasing two types of films from around the world: (i) exceptional films by female and non-binary filmmakers and (ii) films that portray a woman’s perspective and life experience, made by any filmmaker. After receiving over 325 submissions from 43 countries, the selection committee chose 38 films that reflect a diverse array of experiences by and about global women and the LGBTQ+ community. Links for the selected films are sent to Kremer and Hale and the students view them and write synopses or reviews. The students also get to select the NewGate Inspiration Award for the film that is most inspirational to them.

“We have all sorts of films in this festival, and on all sorts of topics, including the war in Ukraine,” shares Osborne. “So to hear students talk about what they feel is most significant is wonderful from our perspective.”

“From the student side of it, it’s the conversations that are most important,” shares Hale, “They watch on their own, with parents, with friends, and they’re having meaningful discussions.”

Dates for the festival are: Thursday, March 9th - Monday, March 13th, 2023 All films are available online, on-demand March 9 - March 13. Select films will be showcased Friday and Saturday at in-person events, accompanied by social receptions, an opportunity to chat with visiting filmmakers, and topic-relevant presentations. All net proceeds from the film festival go to support the work of gender equality organizations. Link to festival: https://twe2023.eventive.org/welcome.

Pictured: This year's opening film will screen the documentary Shirin Ebadi: Until We are Free, featuring Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi.

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