Project seeks matching donations for 2019 film festival
— Local organizer and school teacher Brit Charek believes that exposing young Akronites to great art featuring women front and center can directly impact gender equality in future generations.
“When I look at the type of media that’s designed for them, I know we can do better,” said Charek, who’s seeking matching funds for Bechdel Fest, a film festival whose movies pass the “Bechdel Test,” or a work that has at least two female characters who are given names and talk to each other about something other than a man or boy. “I want young people to see women, people of color, those with disabilities, the LGBTQ+ community, or really anyone who is different from them in any way as more than just a token or someone who needs saving,” added Charek.
With one-third of its necessary donations, Bechdel Fest, a winner of a Knight Arts Challenge matching grant, is seeking community support for its Kickstarter campaign to unlock matching funds from the Knight Foundation—and make the 2019 festival a reality.
Bechdel Fest plans to bring attention to gender inequality in film and fiction. Just half of all films produced meet the Bechdel Test’s benchmark requirements, and media aimed toward children and teens is even bleaker in terms of on-screen females with their own narrative, according to Charek.
If the funds are matched, Bechdel Fest will take place May 28 through June 2, 2019 and feature films made by women directors, producers and actors to promote diversity in media for Akronites of all ages, and will shine a spotlight on Akron’s indie theater, The Nightlight Cinema, and other venues (like the Akron Summit County Main Branch Library and the Trolley Barn) within the downtown Akron footprint.
The Nightlight’s mission statement is to “advance cinema and community in tandem” and happens to be located on the block that contains the historic marker for Sojourner Truth’s “Ain’t I A Woman?” speech, which was delivered at the Women’s Convention in 1851. The festival is slated to take place on the 168th anniversary of the notable event in May 2019.
One of the Kickstarter rewards is a t-shirt featuring Truth’s image, illustrated and hand-screen printed by independent female artists.