Moonfaze Feminist Film Festival: What Does Feminism Mean In 2016?

Moonfaze Feminist Film Festival: What Does Feminism Mean In 2016?
Moonfaze finalist, Rebel and a Basketcase's (Zach Villa and Evan Rachel Wood) debut music video OH YEAH, directed by Machete Bang Bang

Moonfaze Feminist Film Festival was founded in 2015 and is currently in the run up to its second edition, taking place on the 1st of December in Los Angeles. The festival provides a platform for voices traditionally marginalised in film for film makers from all over the world. We caught up with Premstar Santana, founder and director of the festival, to find out more about this magical festival.

You say the idea to start Moonfaze struck you like a “bolt of badass lightning”. What were the main challenges you faced when making this magical vision materialise?

Premstar Santana: When approaching people with the title of the festival, I was surprised by the subtle rejection of the word “feminist”. People wanted to be a part of Moonfaze but they were afraid to fully embrace the word feminist. It made me realize how important it is that feminist platforms exist. How important it is to celebrate feminist voices, and that we, Moonfaze continue to illuminate HER story.

What’s the story behind the enchanting name of the festival?

Well, like many women, I have always felt a special connection to the moon. I’m fascinated by her mythology and by her phases. The “faze” part of Moonfaze is a play on words, but the definition of faze is what really struck me. Faze: to disturb the composure of :  disconcertdaunt  Which, in my opinion, is what we as feminist artists aim to do: to disturb the norm, the hetero, white, and patriarchal norm and society’s perception and depiction of women. Our first Moonfaze tagline says it all: “Let HER story faze you”.

Moonfaze Feminist Film Festival: What Does Feminism Mean In 2016?
Margaret Kleveland, Elana Margot, Premstar Santana, Emma Elizabeth-Tillman at Moonfaze in 2015

Despite Moonfaze Feminist Film Festival only being in its second year, you’ve had an exceptional response and screened a high calibre of films from filmmakers across the world. Did you expect Moonfaze to have the reception it has in such a short amount of time?

Thank you. Although I had nothing but faith and high hopes, I did not expect such an expansive and positive response – it is absolutely phenomenal. I am deeply moved by the support and appreciation Moonfaze has received and continues to receive. I think our mission really speaks to people’s hearts and the all inclusiveness allows for empowerment for everyone.

Why is it so important that there are platforms for marginalized voices?

Without these platforms we risk becoming the world we so deeply fear. A world where the oppressed remain oppressed, the unfree remain unfree, where giant walls separate us, where diversity no longer exists, where a woman’s voice is silenced forever. Feminist platforms provide safe spaces for marginalized voices to shine, to be seen, and to be understood. They provide connection and community that empowers people to stand up and stand together against the patriarchy.

How can the medium of film become a tool to make social change?

Film has always had a strong political, emotional, and creative influence on our culture and in my opinion now more than ever the medium of film is being used to evoke change. Through film people identify, connect and feel. So it’s our job as filmmakers to make a conscious effort to put to the forefront stories that don’t often get told and to give voice those who are silenced.

People identify with the word “feminism” in different ways. For you, what is feminism?

Feminism is more than just striving for social, political, and economic equality of the sexes. Feminism is taking a critical stance against all forms of injustice and oppression – it is thinking critically about power relations, and creatively about how to subvert them.

For me feminism also means having an awareness of and connection with all living beings. To me feminism means acknowledging, celebrating, and having empathy for each Other’s different life experiences.

What are your future hopes for Moonfaze Feminist Film Festival?

My main goal is to continue to foreground female-centered films, via my own films and by celebrating and showcasing the work of my peers. I have a couple of new ideas already brewing for Moonfaze 2017 that I’m very very excited about.

Overall, I hope that Moonfaze goes down in HERstory as the feminist film festival that helped put an end to the ways in which the film industry operates in service of white straight masculinity. I hope that Moonfaze continues to provide a platform from which HER stories are told in order to destabilize dominant narratives.

Moonfaze Feminist Film Festival: What Does Feminism Mean In 2016?
Moonfaze 2016 hosts Alana Johnston and Holly Prazoff

The second edition of Moonfaze Feminist Film Festival will be hosted by actresses Alana Johnston and Holly Prazoff, who are both excited to be involved in the fest!

“I wanted to be a part of an all female festival because I believe in the recognition of women in film. I think now more than ever it’s important to celebrate female expression within the arts and come together for a night of inspiration and entertainment. And I heard the hosts were cool AF” – Alana Johnston
“Cool flicks, check! Cool chicks, check! This event has it all!” – Holly Prazoff

Moonfaze Feminist Film Festival is proud to announce that all ticket sales will be given to Standing Rock. Tickets are a sliding scale donation based purchase and are available online only.

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