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Sixth Annual San Diego Women’s Film Festival

Many people are familiar with Jones who not only runs Citizen Video but also helps stage film events at places like the Whistle Stop. Jones' interest not only in film but also in community involvement makes her a perfect choice as curator. At Citizen Video, Jones has always stocked a strong selection of films made by and about women. Jones brings a new vitality to the festival as she seeks out women made films that display a broader and more varied sense of style, content and points of view than the festival has had in the past.

One of the films Jones is championing is a music documentary called The Gits (screens October 4 at 10:00 pm) and directed by Kerri O'Kane. The Gits was a Seattle punk band that was on the brink of breaking out when their lead singer Mia Zapata was brutally murdered. The film investigates both her death and the creative process of the band. Some people may have gotten a sneak peak at the film when Jones did a fundraiser and preview of the film at The Whistle Stop earlier this year. The film makes us appreciate Zapata's talent and feel the void left by her untimely death. Filmmaker O'Kane and her producer will be at the screening to answer questions from the audience.

Samantha Morton and Jason Patric in Expired. Filmmaker Cecilia Miniucchi will be at the festival. (Blockbuster)

Another film that Jones sought is Cecilia Miniucchi's narrative feature debut Expired (screens October 4). Miniucchi worked with the great Italian director Lina Wertmuller and like her mentor; Miniucchi displays a skill for depicting uncomfortable relationships. Expired, listed as something called Curator's Choice, star Samantha Morton and Jason Patric as meter maids... um, I mean meter persons or is that parking officers? Anyway, Morton plays Claire. She's a bit mousy and floats through life in an odd cloud of gentle resignation about her unexciting life. Then she meets Patric's Jay, an angry, aggressive and often downright nasty piece of work. Patric, who started as a kind of teen heartthrob in The Lost Boys , has developed a skill for playing nasty in films like Your Friends and Neighbors and now Expired . This is by no means a feel good film or a charming romance. But it is an exceedingly well-observed study of two lonely people coming together in an unlikely relationship. Morton gives us a wonderfully drawn character and surprises us with an underlying confidence and strength.

On Sunday, the Festival will feature the closing night film by Andrea Kreuzhage, 1000 Journals , and will also be followed by a discussion with the filmmaker. The film follows 1000 blank journals that are passed from hand to hand throughout the world, collecting stories, pictures, collages, and slices of the lives they touch.

Since this is the sixth year I have sat on the selection committee I also wanted to highlight a few of the short films. Leaving Gussie (screens October 5 at 5pm) by Wendy Bednarz involves a housewife with a secret who checks into an isolated hotel and befriends an odd teenager. The Red Scare (screens October 4 at 5pm), Jaden Maher's film inspired by Hitchcock and the films of the Cold War era, and that examines eroticized violence against women in the horror genre. And from Australia, Denie Pentecost's Sexy Thing offers a tale of a 12-year-old girl dealing with difficult family circumstances.

The Sixth Annual San Diego Women's Film Festival has many more films to offer and covering a broad range of styles and subjects. It will be held
October 3 - 5 at a new location, Reading Cinemas' Gaslamp Stadium 15, located on 5th and G in downtown San Diego. Tickets will be available for purchase in advance online at www.sdwff.org or can be purchased throughout the Festival weekend in the lobby at Reading Cinemas Gaslamp Stadium. So check out the strides women are making around the globe in film. Of course, there's still a long way to go because it's still something of a novelity or rarity to have women behind the camera and working in every genre. But this festival proves that progress is definitely being made.

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