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The inaugural rePRO Film Festival with a spotlight on movies about reproductive health care and rights is set to open with Erika Cohn’s Belly of the Beast, a documentary about forced sterilizations in California’s women’s prisons.
Cohn’s legal probe of illegal health care procedures — often targeting women of color — will launch the virtual August 12 to 16 showcase of films about reproductive health care and activism, including access to abortion and sexual education. rePRO is programmed by festival founders Lela Meadow-Conner, Mallory Martin and Debby Samples.
“The three of us have young children and want them to grow up in a world where they and their peers have access to fundamental reproductive rights and freedoms, and we will advocate for that in any way we can, especially before this November’s election,” the three co-founders said in a statement.
Also booked into rePRO is Shannon Cohn’s endometriosis documentary Endo What?, Jo Ardinger’s pregnancy policing movement film Personhood, Maria Finitzo’s female sexual desire documentary The Dilemma of Desire and Jan Haaken’s Our Bodies Our Doctors, about abortion providers.
Elsewhere, rePRO will also screen Shelby Hadden’s Tightly Wound, an animated documentary about a woman recounting a life of pelvic pain; Alice Seabright’s End-O; and Sindha Agha’s Birth Control Your Own Adventure, where the filmmaker recalls struggling with the side effects of birth control medication.
The festival’s lineup, accessible virtually in the U.S. market, will be 88 percent directed by women and will include free call-to-action conversations with directors, activists and policy makers from the reproductive healthcare sectors. And the proceeds from online film ticket sales will be converted to donations to be split evenly among five beneficiary non-profit organizations — SisterSong, Endometriosis Foundation of America, Center for Reproductive Rights, URGE and Trust Women.
The festival, a project of the Wichita & Cleveland based non-profit film series mama.film, plans to award a inaugural ChangemakeHER prize to a yet-to-be-named individual who has made a significant contribution towards the fight for women’s reproductive healthcare, including education, awareness and activism.
The full film program is available on the rePRO festival website.
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Sterling K. Brown