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“The FFFM is dead, long live feminism! “

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The Feminist Film Festival begins its latest edition

Posted at 9:00

Silvia Galipeau

Silvia Galipeau
The print

The sixth edition of the Montreal Feminist Film Festival (FFFM) is launched these days in a mixed atmosphere, sadly funereal and still just as militant.

“The FFFM is dead, long live feminism! It is more or less in these terms that this final edition was announced in a press release, in a context of post-pandemic crisis, of cultural financing, in a context at the height of inflation: “Refusing to ‘offer hunger wages to his team […], the cultural workers of the FFFM preferred to harairize themselves rather than contribute to the environmental culture of Quebec’s cultural environment, which cruelly underpays its workers to the detriment of their health and the organizations they collaborate with. Out of respect for the value of the work of women and marginalized people, we would prefer to pack our bags rather than exploit them. ”

Met in her office (read: at her home, in a workspace set up in her bedroom), the festival’s founder – not to be confused with Filministes, another Montreal feminist festival -, Magenta Baribeau, is trying her hand at . “It is certainly sad, she says, it is a project that I have been carrying out for six years. The lack of funds was the last nail in the coffin … ”

Since 2017 he has been working here on a voluntary basis. Like all his collaborators, whether they are in planning, logistics or on the board of directors.

It’s a huge volunteer load. I cannot. And my co-workers have all left one after the other burntnot just for the festival, but for the cultural world in general.

Magenta Baribeau, founder of the Montreal Feminist Film Festival

She has also been hoping for scholarships for six years. Objective: to pay everyone adequately (about ten people, in addition to paying a sum to all participating directors). Ironically, this year she finally received a small envelope, largely insufficient for the needs of the cause: $ 8,000 from the Conseil des Arts de Montréal. “That’s half of what I asked for …”

In the current inflationary environment, Magenta Baribeau is at a dead end. He can no longer ask for voluntary help. It is out of the question to pay “a starvation wage”, as you put it. “You are not a feminist …”

It must be said that in addition, this year, “everything costs more”, he continues. If she has managed to symbolically finance her directors in previous years through the sale of tickets or T-shirts, it is simply no longer possible. “Rooms, promotions, even T-shirts and bags are three times more expensive than three years ago. It is unlivable. “

And everyone risks suffering from it, he believes.

The alternative cultural offer is less and less great. […] Yes, this is a big deal. We shouldn’t come up with a single culture.

Magenta Baribeau, founder of the Montreal Feminist Film Festival

She doesn’t hide that the fact that there is a second feminist festival doesn’t help her. “For lenders, this is a problem. They confuse us. But the audience knows the difference, in her opinion, between the Filminists, more mainstream, and her festival, more militant.

Also, it should be remembered, all holidays face the same abyss. “I work at another festival, Presence Aboriginal, and I know how low the salaries are. […] If the bigger festivals aren’t capable, how can we do it? ”

Even if it certainly did not expect to have to close for economic reasons, Magenta Baribeau can still give up several great successes. First of all, from the beginning (with the exception of 2021, a “really difficult” year for culture in general), her premises have always been full. “We even turned people down! Furthermore, she has always been delighted to present these “little gems” discovered elsewhere to the Montreal public. In addition to inviting (even pushing) foreign directors. “We have allowed many people to discover that feminist cinema is not boring! […] It is not heavy. We make sure to present upbeat films that bring hope. And this definitive edition will be no exception.

The Montreal Feminist Film Festival takes place from 7 to 10 September with screenings at the Casa del Popolo, Casa d’Italia and Cinéma Public, as well as some films offered online.

Four films or screenings not to be missed

Life on tapeby Melanie Lischker


IMAGE PROVIDED BY THE FESTIVAL

Life on tapeby Melanie Lischker

This is Magenta Baribeau’s “coup de coeur”. This German documentary (presented in the original version with English subtitles) tells the story of director Melanie Lischker’s quest to understand and decipher her mother, who died in her youth, and “reconnect” with her. Through the family archives, she discovers patriarchal Germany of the 1970s here.

Offered online from 7-11 September

“Reproductive rights threatened”


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Polkaby Joanna Suchomska, lifts the veil on the experiences of Polish women struggling with strict policies on contraception and abortion.

“It says what it says, and it is extremely topical”, comments Magenta Baribeau, summarizing the short films presented during the opening night on Wednesday. Films from El Salvador, Guatemala, Poland and even from here that address issues of access to abortion, contraception or health care in general, among trans young people in particular.

Wednesday 7 September at 19:00

Incorrigibleby Karin Lee


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IncorrigibleCanadian Karin Lee

On Friday there will also be several short and medium-length fiction films, with the theme “Truer than nature”. Between these, Incorrigible, by Canadian Karin Lee, tells the story of Velma Demerson, imprisoned in 1939 for daring to marry a Chinese. Sixty years later, you are suing the Canadian government for wrongful detention.

Friday 9 September at 6:30 pm, in the presence of the director

“Sex, vulvas, masturbation and orgasms”


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The female gender existsby Camille de Pietro (Switzerland), presents talking vulva puppets.

“Warning, this is not a porn movie session! », Specify the program. Rather a short film and three documentaries by directors particularly interested in vulvas. An invitation to learn and laugh at the same time.

Thursday 8 September at 6.30 pm

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