On Saturday, March 24th, Girls for Change, a leadership and policy-training series created by the Memphis Area Women's Council, is holding a daylong film festival. According to Women's Council executive director Deborah Clubb, the films tackle three cultural issues that are important to the 13- to 17-year-old participants in Girls for Change: sexual harassment, teen pregnancy, and self-esteem and body issues.
The films were chosen by Girls for Change leaders, who are students from area private and public schools. The festival will include works by local filmmakers Amy Frazier and Lynda Ingram as well as the Lindsay Lohan black comedy Mean Girls and the documentary Miss Lil's Camp, about the activist Lillian Smith (pictured), who ran a girl's camp in the 1940s and taught her charges the evils of segregation. (Suzanne Niedland, who made Miss Lil's Camp with Anberin Pasha, will be at the festival.) Another film being shown is Catherine Hardwicke's 2003 drama, Thirteen, which follows the downfall of a promising 13-year-old girl who hits the trifecta of a parent's absolute worst nightmare: drugs, sex, self-mutilation. Sensationalistic to an eye-popping degree, the film is not only a controversial choice, it's rated R, beyond the bounds of most of the Girls for Change target audience. According to Clubb, the girls were insistent, arguing that the movie strikes enough nerves on some difficult issues. The Women's Council, after three meetings, relented with the requirement that those too young to see an R-rated movie get a signed parental-permission slip. A discussion will be held after the screening.
Girls for Change Film Festival, Mitchell Hall, University of Memphis, Saturday, March 24th, 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m., free. Call 678-2642 or visit www.memphiswomen.org for more information.