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Belcourt - Nashville's Nonprofit Cinema

Strong Leads: A Film Seminar for High School Girls

Strong Leads: A Film Seminar for High School Girls is an after-school seminar spotlighting films about and made by women. It is designed for 10th, 11th and 12th grade girls. A presentation of the Belcourt’s education and engagement program, Strong Leads explores gender representation in cinema, in the Hollywood establishment, and in film discourse.

We’ll feature films from a variety of genres and cultures—and follow with discussions and activities. Strong Leads sessions take place on Tuesday afternoons, Oct 15-Nov 12 | 4:00-7:30pm.

Please note: Participation in Strong Leads is by application only, and space is limited. This seminar is offered at no cost to participants, but you must apply and be selected to attend. It is designed for students only and is meant to be taken in its entirety (no single sessions). Popcorn and bottled water are provided. Application deadline is Tue, Oct 1. Participants will be notified on Fri, Oct 4.

About the Films:

Tue, Oct 15 | JINN (Dir. Nilja Mu’min, USA, 2018, 92 min, Not Rated)

Tue, Oct 22 | ZERO MOTIVATION (Dir. Talya Lavie, Israel, 2016, 101 min, Not Rated)

Tue, Oct 29 | CLÉO FROM 5 TO 7 (Dir. Agnès Varda, France, 1962, 90 min, Not Rated)

Tue, Nov 5 | EVE'S BAYOU (Dir. Kasi Lemmons, USA, 1997, 111 min, R)

Tue, Nov 12 | CERTAIN WOMEN (Dir. Kelly Reichardt, USA, 2016, 107 min, R)

This series features high-quality films designed to spark conversation about important issues. Because of that, some films contain adult situations, profanity, drug/alcohol use, nudity, sexual situations, and violence.

The acclaimed feature debut from Nilja Mu’min, JINN tells the story of Summer (Zoe Renee), a 17-year-old carefree black girl whose world is turned upside down when her mother, a popular meteorologist named Jade (Simone Missick), abruptly converts to Islam. Summer initially resists Islam, but over time becomes drawn to its teachings, particularly around the "Jinn," supernatural beings who occupy a parallel world and have free will, like humans. Summer soon realizes that the religion is more complex than she thought, and that people interpret it in different ways. When Summer meets Tahir (Kelvin Harrison Jr.), a fellow Muslim classmate who attends the same masjid, she’s further drawn to the religion, especially his parent’s fluid, freeing practice of it. As Summer and Tahir build a connection based in laughter, curiosity, and beef pepperoni, a budding sexual attraction ignites, causing conflict between physical desire and piety.

Talya Lavie's brilliant debut is a unique, sharply observed, sometimes dark and often hilarious portrait of everyday life for a unit of young, female soldiers in a remote Israeli desert outpost. Playing out like M*A*S*H meets Orange is the New Black, ZERO MOTIVATION details the power struggles of three women with different agendas and very little to do. Pencil-pushers in the Human Resources Office, best friends Zohar (Dana Ivgy) and Daffi (Nelly Tagar) spend their time playing video games, singing pop songs, jousting with stationery and dreaming of Tel Aviv. The indolent twosome are watched over by their aspiring senior officer, Rama (Shani Klein), who dreams of a higher position and a significant military career, but with a platoon of unskilled, idle, female soldiers without any drive under her charge, her ambitions for promotion are constantly thwarted. With shifts of tone that go from slapstick to satiric to horrifying with fluid ease, and with a superb supporting cast of characters, Zero Motivation was a smash hit in Israel and winner of the Best Narrative Feature Award at the Tribeca Film Festival.

Groundbreaking French New Wave filmmaker Agnès Varda, who died this year at age 90, eloquently captures Paris in the sixties with this real-time portrait of a singer (Corinne Marchand) set adrift in the city as she awaits test results of a biopsy. A chronicle of the minutes of one woman’s life, CLÉO FROM 5 TO 7 is a spirited mix of vivid vérité and melodrama, featuring a score by Michel Legrand (THE UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG) and cameos by Jean-Luc Godard and Anna Karina. 

Actress Kasi Lemmons made an auspicious debut as a writer and director with this delicately handled, wrenchingly emotional drama, hailed by critic Roger Ebert as one of the best films of 1997. EVE’S BAYOU begins with ominous narration: "The summer I killed my father, I was 10 years old." From that point the story moves backward in time and memory to Louisiana in 1962, when a young girl named Eve (Jurnee Smollett) witnesses a shocking act on the part of her womanizing father (Samuel L. Jackson). But what really happened? And can Eve be certain about what she saw when there is more than one interpretation of the facts? Less a mystery than a study of deeply rooted emotions rising to the surface to affect an entire family, the film has the quality of classic Southern literature, with layers of memory unfolding to reveal a carefully guarded truth. 

One of America’s foremost auteur filmmakers, Kelly Reichardt (WENDY AND LUCY, MEEK’S CUTOFF) directs a remarkable ensemble cast led by Michelle Williams, Kristen Stewart, and Laura Dern in this stirring look at three women striving to forge their own paths amidst the wide-open plains of the American Northwest: a lawyer (Dern) who finds herself contending with both office sexism and a hostage situation; a wife and mother (Williams) whose determination to build her dream home puts her at odds with the men in her life; and a young law student (Stewart) who forms an ambiguous bond with a lonely ranch hand (radiant newcomer Lily Gladstone). As their stories intersect in subtle but powerful ways, a portrait emerges of flawed, but strong-willed individuals in the process of defining themselves.

Facilitated by Allison Inman, the Belcourt’s education and engagement director. The seminar will be held in the Belcourt’s second floor Jackson Education and Engagement Space and Manzler/Webb Screening Room.

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