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Women in Media-Newark Celebrates Women’s History Month with Annual International Film Festival

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Free Screenings March 28 – April 6

Women in Media-Newark will hold its eighth annual International Film Festival March 28 through April 6 in celebration of Women’s History Month.  Working in conjunction with Rutgers University–Newark, their major partner, WIM-N will host film festival over nine days at six venues.  All events are free and open to the public.

 “Each year our festival brings high-level content centered on global issues that confront women.  It presents an amazing array of independent films from around the world that celebrate the indomitable spirit of women. Our theme this year is Women In the World with a focus on human rights issues such as human trafficking and early child marriage, as well as  polygamy, human sexuality, and the familial relationships that maintain society,” said Pamela Morgan, executive director and founder of the festival.   She added, “Although the feature films are the anchor of the festival, the film shorts are nuggets bringing brief, often profound insights on myriad topics.  As always, we’re impressed with the talent and expertise of the filmmakers who take part in our festival.”

The opening ceremony on March 28 at Newark Public Library includes the screening of “Life’s Essentials with Ruby Dee,” a film about the incredible life of film icon  and political activist Ruby Dee, which was produced and directed by her grandson Muta’Ali Muhammad, who will be in attendance at the event.  In addition to recognizing significant women in the community at the Newark screenings, other festival activities will include interviews with filmmakers, panel discussions, vendors, a jazz concert, and art exhibits.  

On Mach 31 – April 1, a symposium on Tayari Jones’ acclaimed novel “Silver Sparrow” will take place as part of the film festival, in collaboration with Rutgers University-Newark’ s John Cotton Dana Library, as part of the Essex County Library Directors “Big Read Film” screenings. A natural hair care demonstration and panel discussions also will take place at this free event. Dr. Consuella Askew, director of the Dana Library, states, “"The John Cotton Dana Library at RU-N is a proud partner of the WIM-N Film Festival and the Symposium on Dr. Jones’ novel “Silver Sparrow”. Libraries are by design culturally based organizations. We acquire and make accessible many resources - not just books - that foster an informed citizenry in an increasingly global world. By virtue of its mission, our partnership with the WIM-N organization helps us meet this objective by enabling us to connect with our community in an engaging and meaningful way. We look forward to strengthening our partnership with WIM-N in the future. "

A few of the festival highlights include:

March 28

  • Recognizing Newark City Council President Mildred Crump
  • Screening “Life’s Essentials With Ruby Dee”

March 29

  • Film shorts screening program
  • A jazz concert by the Amina Figarova Band, with the Science Park High School Jazz Band opening the concert

March 30

  • Screening of “Profiled,” a film about the mothers of black and Latino youth who were killed by NYPD officers. A panel on community policing will follow the screening.

March 31 - April 1

  • A symposium on Rutgers University-Newark’s professor Dr. Tayari Jones’ novel, “Silver Sparrow.” This will include film screenings and panel discussions on polygamy/polyamory on Friday, and  on Saturday, “The Politics of Hair” with panelists Anu Prestonia of Brooklyn’s Khamit Kinks, Jane Carter of the Jane Carter Solution, Columbia University Professor Farah J. Griffin, and  author Noliwe Rooks.

April 3

  • Screening at Monmouth University of “Sold,” a film about human trafficking. Panel discussion with panelists from law enforcement and the NJ Coalition against Human Trafficking.

April 4

  • Screening of “Dialogue With My Grandmother,” Cuban filmmaker Gloria Rolando’s latest film at the East Orange Public Library.

April 5

  • Screening of Brina, film about a woman with multiple husbands, at the First Unitarian Society of Plainfield.

April 6

  • Filmmaker Nicole Franklin’s New Jersey Premiere of TITLE VII, a film that examines same race discrimination.

In addition, Morgan said, the achievements of six accomplished women will be celebrated during the Festival.  They are:

  • Newark City Council Chairperson Mildred Crump;
  • Chancellor of Rutgers University Newark Dr. Nancy Cantor,
  • actress and arts educator Marie Thomas,
  • arts/cultural activists Celeste Bateman and Sanaz Hojreh; and
  • author & Professor Tayari Jones.

Honoree Celeste Bateman observed, “The response to our festival over the years has been tremendous. People of all genders, ethnical and cultural backgrounds want to hear good stories by and about women. This is the mission of this organization, to tell those stories – some inspiring, some heartwarming, some heartbreaking and some empowering – and to support the works of these extraordinary storytellers, women filmmakers from around the world.”

An integral part of the film festival is “Women In the World: A Visual Perspective,” an art exhibit at three locations featuring work by local women artists.  Curated by Gladys Barker Grauer and Adrienne Wheeler, the exhibit is on display at Rutgers University-Newark’s Paul Robeson Art Gallery, at Monmouth University’s Pollak Gallery, and in the lobby of the Victoria Theater at New Jersey Performing Arts Center March 1 - 30.  Co-sponsors of the Women In Media-Newark film series include the Rutgers University–Newark Office of University-Community Partnerships/Office of the Chancellor, the John Cotton Dana Library, Rutgers Institute of Jazz Studies, the City of Newark, the East Orange Public Library, the First Unitarian Society of Plainfield, Monmouth University, New Jersey Performing Arts Center,  Newark School of the Arts, and WBGO-Newark Public Radio.

The film festival is open to the public and free, although donations are welcome. More information can be found at or you can contact: Pamela Morgan; 973-996-8342,


About Women In Media-Newark
Women In Media – Newark is an organization that advocates for and educates the public about issues affecting the lives of women using film, video and new media as our platform. Merging culture and academia, we rally behind our sisters who courageously struggle to assume leadership roles in the film industry with their conscious effort to present a balanced image of women, dispelling the stereotypes and changing public perception of their sisters worldwide.

About Rutgers University – Newark
Rutgers University - Newark is a diverse, urban, public research university that is an anchor institution in New Jersey’s cultural capital.  Approximately 12,000 students are currently enrolled at its 38-acre campus in a wide range of undergraduate and graduate degree programs offered through the Newark College of Arts and Sciences, University College, the Graduate School-Newark, Rutgers Business School-Newark and New Brunswick, the Rutgers Law School, the School of Criminal Justice, and the School of Public Affairs and Administration.  At a historical moment when our cities, our state, our nation, and our world desperately need higher education to fulfill its promise as an engine of discovery, innovation, and social mobility, Rutgers University – Newark is exceptionally well positioned to fulfill that promise. It has a remarkable legacy of producing high-impact scholarship that is connected to the great questions and challenges of the world. It has the right mix of disciplines and first-rate interdisciplinary centers and institutes to take on those questions and challenges.  It is in and of a city and region where its work on local challenges, undertaken with partners from many sectors, resonates powerfully throughout our urbanizing world.  Most importantly, Rutgers University - Newark brings an incredible diversity of people to this work—students, faculty, staff, and community partners—making it more innovative, more creative, more engaging, and more relevant for our time and the times ahead. For more information please visit


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