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Strong Leads Summer 2022

Strong Leads: A Film Seminar for High School Girls is a free program spotlighting films by and about women. It is designed for rising 10th, 11th and 12th grade girls of all identities. 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.

This special weeklong seminar is scheduled for Monday through Friday, Jul 25-29, 10am to 2pm. Each day, participants will watch a film, discuss the film with their peers and a guest speaker, and participate in a hands-on activity. Lunch and snacks will be provided.

Please note: Participation in Strong Leads is by application only. 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).

Application deadline is Wed, July 20. Participants will be notified on Thu, July 21.


Strong Leads 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.

Facilitated by Allison Inman, the Belcourt’s education and engagement director, and Jessie Griffith, the Belcourt’s theatre operations director and education associate.

Mon, July 25 at 10am | HALF THE PICTURE (Dir. Amy Adrion | USA | 2018 | 94 min. | NR)

Tue July 26 at 10am |  REAL WOMEN HAVE CURVES (Dir. Patricia Cardoso | USA | 2002 | 85min | PG-13)

Wed July 27 at 10am |  RAFIKI (Dir. Wanuri Kahiu | Kenya | 2019 | 83min | NR)

Thu July 28 at 10am | WRITING WITH FIRE (Dirs. Sushmit Ghosh and Rintu Thomas | India | 2021 | 92min | NR)

Fri July 29 at 10am | I CAN FEEL YOU WALKING (Dir. Rachel Lambert | USA | 85min | NR)

First-time director Amy Adrion’s HALF THE PICTURE celebrates the groundbreaking work of female filmmakers and investigates systemic discrimination that has for decades denied opportunities to far too many talented women in Hollywood. Gender-parity experts and academics discuss Hollywood’s dismal employment practices, and these conversations are woven between interviews with prominent women directors (including Jamie Babbit, Gina Prince-Bythewood, Kasi Lemmons, Catherine Hardwicke, Miranda July, Penelope Spheeris, Ava DuVernay, and many others), telling their stories of breaking into a male-centered business. They confirm the double standards that still exist while eloquently outlining their career paths, their struggles, and their hopes for the future.

Now is the time for Ana to help provide for the family, not the time for college. Torn between her academic ambitions and her cultural heritage, she agrees to work with her mother at her sister’s downtown LA sewing factory. That summer her eyes are opened to the life her family leads in order to survive, and through the seamstresses on her sister’s team, what solidarity and hard work can carry when we share our true selves.

Bursting with the colorful street style and music of Nairobi’s vibrant youth culture, RAFIKI is a tender love story between two young women in a country that still criminalizes homosexuality. Kena and Ziki have long been told that “good Kenyan girls become good Kenyan wives,” but they yearn for something more. Despite the political rivalry between their families, the girls encourage each other to pursue their dreams in a conservative society. When love blossoms between them, Kena and Ziki must choose between happiness and safety. Initially banned in Kenya for its positive portrayal of queer romance, RAFIKI won a landmark court case chipping away at Kenyan anti-LGBT legislation. Featuring remarkable performances by newcomers Samantha Mugatsia and Sheila Munyiva. In English and Swahili with English subtitles

Reporting from a social environment built to divide based on caste and gender, a fearless group of journalists maintain India’s only women-led news outlet. The women of Khabar Lahariya (“Waves of News”), all from the Dalit (“untouchables”) caste, prepare to transition the newspaper from print to digital even though many of their reporters don’t have access to electricity at home. Armed with smartphones, chief reporter Meera and her team of investigative journalists confront some of India’s biggest issues – exposing the relentless discrimination against women and amplifying the voices of those who suffer from the oppressive caste system. WRITING WITH FIRE chronicles the astonishing determination of these local reporters as they empower each other and hold those responsible for injustice to account. Reaching new audiences through their growing platform, the women of Khabar Lahariya redefine what it means to be powerful in this timely and inspiring documentary. In Hindi with English subtitles

Shannon can only use one arm. Who knows what happened to the one in a splint. Well, she knows but she’s not telling. But she can’t rest on the healing. There’s bills to pay, and this time she’ll make it work. This place will be different. She’ll even paint the walls. Make it real pretty. Like a grown-up. And covers on the bed. And places to sit. Maybe that’s how to make this life stick to the ribs. Kevin is a sleepwalker. He’s awake alright, walking right through the day not sure when it starts and stops and starts again. He boxed up his life and drove down to move his mom into a nursing home about a year ago. Now, those boxes have collected as much dust as he has. These two broken people are neighbors in a duplex South of Nashville. They just shuffle and sleep through their broken lives, yards apart, walking the same floor of the same house with a wall running through it. Don’t even know each other’s names. That is, until the night they collide.