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On The Divide directed by Leah Galant and Maya Cueva
On The Divide directed by Leah Galant and Maya Cueva

rePRO Film Fest, the film festival dedicated to reproductive justice and advocating for women’s (cis, trans, and non-binary inclusive) reproductive health care, justice, and bodily autonomy, announced the lineup for its 2nd edition, which will take place from August 9-18, 2021.

The 2021 lineup of films and conversations includes three feature films and twelve short films that explore a range of topics including equal access to abortion, criminalization of bodily autonomy, gender stereotyping, reproductive health concerns, postpartum depression, reproductive justice for women of color, among others.

Feature films playing at the festival will include Leah Galant and Maya Cueva’s On The Divide, a documentary that premiered at Tribeca earlier this year about three Latinx people’s weaving stories related to the last abortion clinic on the U.S/Mexico border; Celina Escher’s Fly So Far, a documentary that premiered at the Seattle International Film Festival about the true story of a 9-month miscarriage that led to Teodora Vásquez being accused of killing her own baby by police in El Salvador, and Marion Lipschutz and Rose Rosenblatt’s Bei Bei, a documentary that follows a pregnant Chinese immigrant who faces 45 years-to-life in prison when she survives a suicide attempt and her baby doesn’t. The festival will also hold a special work-in-progress event, which will include an exclusive sneak peek from the film and conversation with the filmmaker, for the upcoming feature documentary on uterine fibroids called Red Alert: The Fight Against Fibroids, which focuses on the difficult prognosis in women that leads to nearly 300,000 hysterectomy surgeries in the United States yearly.

100% of all rePRO Film Fest films are directed by individuals using she/her pronouns, while 67% are directed by BIPOC or AAPI individuals. All filmmakers are also being paid to screen their films.

The festival will once again present a “ChangemakeHER” Award to an individual who has dedicated their career to inspiring advocacy and awareness in a wholly unique way. This year’s recipient will be Jonelle Procope, President and Chief Executive Officer of the historic Apollo Theater in New York City, who helped restore the theater to its original brilliance. Since 2003, Procope has led the Apollo, an American cultural treasure and vibrant non-profit organization that is rooted in the Harlem community but that speaks to, and welcomes, people from around New York, the nation, and the world. Under her leadership, the Apollo has remained steadfast in its commitment to meeting the needs of its community while standing firm in what it has always been — a beacon for Black artists and contemporary culture, and a catalyst for social and civic advocacy. The rePRO team honors Procope for her commitment to the art of storytelling – particularly supporting people from historically marginalized communities – and its power to humanize lived experiences and catalyze important dialogue that can incite advocacy and awareness in a wholly unique way.

Special programming from the lineup also includes ‘Yoni Hour With Laura Bell Bundy’ – a pre-festival celebratory virtual happy hour with singer/activist Laura Bell Bundy that will be available for free to stream as of Monday, August 2nd. Laura will be joined by her Women of Tomorrow album co-writer and podcast co-host, Shea Carter, to explore reproductive health issues facing women throughout history, and take an intimate look at both Bundy and Carter’s personal journeys with their own experiences with reproductive justice.

The festival will also host rePRO’s Call-to-Action Conversations – a series of engaging discussions with filmmakers, activists, and experts around various reproductive justice topics. The full conversation programming lineup will be announced in the weeks leading up to the festival.

rePRO Film Fest was founded by Mallory Martin, Lela Meadow-Conner, and Debby Samples, who together have more than 40+ years of combined film festival experience. The trio has since been joined by women’s reproductive rights leader Jill Lafer, the former board chair of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and entrepreneur.

“As we enter our second edition of rePRO Film Fest, we celebrate that for the first time in history our second-in-command has a uterus, but also recognize the threat to women’s bodily autonomy remains constant – both around the world and here in the U.S.,” said the founders Mallory Martin, Lela Meadow-Conner and Debby Samples. “Storytelling – especially film – is an incredible entry point into dialogue and discourse around reproductive justice. All too often, these issues become politicized and the women* behind these lived experiences are forgotten. We are thankful to the filmmakers who are brave enough to tell these stories and are also excited to highlight our three beneficiary organizations who are on the ground, doing the good work. We’re honored to have the opportunity to connect them all with audiences across the country.”

Each year, rePRO Film Fest identifies a handful of grassroots organizations to support through its platform and through ticket proceeds. All box office proceeds are converted to donations to be split evenly to support the missions of these essential organizations whose work for reproductive rights and justice impresses and inspires. The 2021 chosen beneficiaries include the all women-led Black Women’s Health Imperative, Lilith Fund, and No More Secrets.

2021 rePRO Film Fest Lineup

FEATURE FILMS

BEI BEI (USA)
Directed by Marion Lipschutz, Rose Rosenblatt / Documentary
Alone in a foreign land, a pregnant woman is abandoned by the man she loves. She attempts suicide and survives, but her baby does not. Is she a tragic heroine or a murderous criminal?

FLY SO FAR (SWEDEN, EL SALVADOR)
Directed by Celina Escher / Documentary
Imagine that you are pregnant. You are in your ninth month. You feel an intense pain. You faint. When you wake up, you are at the hospital, surrounded by police officers. They accuse you of having killed your own baby. This is the story of Teodora Vásquez, the spokesperson of “The Seventeen,” the women accused of aggravated homicide because of having a miscarriage in El Salvador.

ON THE DIVIDE (USA)
Directed by Leah Galant, Maya Cueva / Documentary
Follows the story of three Latinx people living in McAllen, Texas who, despite their views, are connected by the most unexpected of places: the last abortion clinic on the U.S./Mexico border. As threats to the clinic and their personal safety mount, these three are forced to make decisions they never could have imagined.

SHORT FILMS

ALE LIBRE (USA)
Directed by Maya Cueva / Documentary
Alejandra prepares for the biggest moment of her life – her deportation case.

BLACK BIRTH (USA)
Directed by Haimy Assefa / Documentary
Three expectant mothers, including the director, navigate the joys, fears, and complexity of Black motherhood in America.

BLACK GOAT (NEPAL, USA)
Directed by Yi Tang / Narrative
A new girl at a nunnery gets her first menstruation.

BLOOD AND GLORY (USA)
Directed by Satinder Kaur / Narrative
Two homeless, female veterans’ friendship is tested when they confront adversity, discrimination, and even mother nature itself in their attempt to find work and survive the day.

FREEZE (USA)
Directed by Maya Albanese / Narrative
When Joy’s fairytale romance crashes and burns on her 35th birthday, the incessant TICK-TOCK of her biological clock pushes her to try new things.

THE GALLERY THAT DESTROYS ALL SHAME (USA)
Directed by Aurora Brachman, Jessie Zinn / Documentary
One evening in L.A., a group of womxn gather to learn how to take back the speculum.

GIRLSBOYSMIX (NETHERLANDS)
Directed by Lara Aerts / Documentary
Why is it so important to be a boy or a girl?

IN ACCORDANCE WITH (USA)
Directed by Sarah Ema Friedland, Alessandra Lacorazza / Narrative
At a border check point, a pregnant person is forced to endure invasive and emotionally abusive measures in order to get an abortion.

POSTPARTUM (GERMANY)
Directed by Henriette Rietz / Narrative
Postpartum is about the chaotic phase in life of a new mother. Pumped up with hormones and lacking sleep, this intense time has burned deep into the protagonist’s heart. This film is an honest and very personal insight into the world of an overwhelmed mother, who seriously thought that parental leave would become a sort of sabbatical.

RESIST: THE RESISTANCE REVIVAL CHORUS (USA)
Directed by Susan O’Brien / Documentary
In the midst of a country divided, a diverse group of women and non-binary individuals unite through the historic power of music to create a movement ignited by song.

TEN LEAVES DILATED (USA)
Directed by Kate E. Hinshaw, Ebony Blanding / Documentary
A documentary that uses the make-believe world crafted by Cabbage Patch Kids to examine discourses surrounding childbirth in the American South.

UMBILICAL (USA)
Directed by Danski Tang / Animated Documentary
A mother’s abusive relationship with her husband shapes the daughter’s experiences in a boarding school in China.

SPECIAL EVENTS

CHANGEMAKEHER AWARD
This year’s recipient for the “ChangemakeHER” Award, going to an individual who has dedicated their career to inspiring advocacy and awareness in a wholly unique way, will be presented to Jonelle Procope, President and Chief Executive Officer of the historic Apollo Theater in New York City, who helped restore the theater to its original brilliance. Since 2003, Procope has led the Apollo, an American cultural treasure and vibrant non-profit organization that is rooted in the Harlem community but that speaks to, and welcomes, people from around New York, the nation and the world. Under her leadership, the Apollo has remained steadfast in its commitment to meeting the needs of its community while standing firm it what is has always been — a beacon for Black artists and contemporary culture, and a catalyst for social and civic advocacy.

Through its nearly 90-year history, the Apollo has continued to present emerging talent and legendary performers through its annual music, theater, dance, and comedy offerings, as well as its educational programming that engages more than 20,000 students, teachers, familiars, and scholars annually, uniting communities in Harlem and beyond through internship programs, career panels, and discussions on intersectional issues. The ChangemakeHER Award will be presented on Monday, August 16th at 6:30pm ET / 5:30pm CT / 3:30pm PT.

The prestigious Apollo Theater is a venue that has deep Black history – well known for being the location where megastars Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Jimi Hendrix, Gladys Knight, and more launched their careers, the location of numerous comedy specials, amateur nights, and musical performances. Last year’s recipient was Martha Plimpton, actress/activist and founder of A is For… who was honored during the festival and interviewed by actress Ariana DeBose as a part of the festival’s programming.

YONI HOUR WITH LAURA BELL BUNDY
The multitalented Tony nominated Broadway star & Billboard top 5 recording artist Laura Bell Bundy, best known for her Broadway roles in “Legally Blonde: The Musical”, “Hairspray” and “Sweet Charity”, will host a pre-festival Yoni Hour (celebratory virtual happy hour) to be released on Monday, August 2nd at 7pm ET/6pm CT/4pm PT at reprofilmfest.com. Laura and her Women of Tomorrow album co-writer and podcast co-host, Shea Carter, will delve into reproductive health issues facing women throughout history, the event will take an intimate look at both Bundy and Carter’s personal journeys and their own experiences with reproductive justice.

EXCLUSIVE SNEAK PEEK – RED ALERT: THE FIGHT AGAINST FIBROIDS (USA)
Directed by Erica L. Taylor / Documentary
An exclusive sneak peek excerpt from the upcoming feature documentary RED ALERT: THE FIGHT AGAINST FIBROIDS followed by a discussion with director/producer Erica L. Taylor and special guests, is scheduled for Monday, August 16th at 8:30pm ET/7:30pm ET/5:30pm ET.

RED ALERT: THE FIGHT AGAINST FIBROIDS is a film project designed to build awareness and compassion for the vast amounts of women whose lives have been interrupted by fibroid tumors and related reproductive illnesses. There is no known cause or cure for fibroids, but nearly half-million fibroid-related hysterectomies are performed annually in the United States. In some cases, the lasting effects of permanent, invasive surgery are mental and physical distress. While 70% of all women have fibroids, 80% of black women will have symptomatic fibroid tumors by age 50. Red Alert unmasks the hopes and fears of real fibroid patients while presenting cutting edge research that will spark progressive change for millions of women.

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