Thursday night, the annual Little Rock festival Filmland kicked off with Girls Night, an evening that celebrated female voices in film. In fact, only women appeared on-stage the whole evening. The feature presentation of the night was Troop Zero, but before director Bert and screenwriter Lucy Alibar took the stage, the audience was treated to a pair of short films created entirely by young women from Arkansas.
Earlier this year, the Arkansas Cinema Society held a Filmmaking Lab for Teen Girls in partnership with the Women’s Foundation of Arkansas Girls of Promise Initiative and JM Associates. The two short films that screened, Ensemble and Justitia, were produced during the lab under guidance of ACS mentors and paired perfectly with the evening’s feature. Both shorts highlighted gender inequality, in very different corners of society, all while showing off an impressive command of film language and a high degree of creativity.
After the screenings, the filmmakers themselves came out and took questions from ACS Executive Director Kathryn Tucker and from the audience. The symbolic power of seeing such a large group of young women on stage actively participating in an industry that has been so plagued by gender discrimination was simply breathtaking. It could very well go down as the most memorable moment of Filmland 2019, though only time, and the next three days of exciting cinematic events, will tell.