Walker Moving Image features Women With Vision: Then and Now

From 1994-2010, the Walker Art Center presented an annual month-long screening series featuring women directors, starting with a touring program “Women in the Director’s Chair (WIDC): Homegirls”, which blossomed into the Walker’s very own “Women With Vision” (WWV) festival. This March, the Walker Art Center will celebrate the legacy and influence of these groundbreaking programs that both launched and inspired so many women directors from our region.

Celebrate the legacy and influence of the Walker’s Women with Vision programs, which supported female filmmakers and sought to bring their experiences and perspectives to the forefront. Celebrated international directors screened side by side with local artists at all stages of their careers. Two past participants, Melody Gilbert and Kelly Nathe, guest curate and pay tribute to this era of film programming, largely helmed by Senior Curator Sheryl Mousley.

Image courtesy Walker Art Center.

My indie filmmaking career kicked off in 2002 when Sheryl Mousley selected my first indie doc Married at the Mall to screen at the Walker in the Women with Vision program. I was so honored, and I know there are so many other women in our region who came up through this program just like me. Finding those filmmakers and having a reunion as well as celebrating the up-and-coming women filmmakers of today are reasons why I wanted to guest curate this program with Kelly Nathe. We both had life-changing experiences by screening films at the Walker, and we wanted to find out what happened to the others. And with the Academy Awards leaving women off the best director list again, we thought now would be a good time to do this.” —Melody Gilbert

The four-day program includes shorts screenings, on-stage conversations, introductions of new films by emerging local directors and a celebratory reception.

Image courtesy Walker Art Center.

I have always believed that filmmaking is women’s work. When I came to the Walker in 1998, I took on the annual film program that had started in 1994 called “Women in the Director’s Chair” which had a local sidebar called “Homegirls.” I turned the program into Walker’s “Women With Vision” film festival, always keeping the local filmmakers at the center,” states Sheryl Mousley, Senior Curator, Moving Image. “After my eleven years with the festival, and only when a woman, Katherine Bigelow, in 2010 finally won the Oscar for Best Picture and Best Director, did I hear the shout, “We’ve won!” While ending the series on a high note, I vowed to continue showing women filmmakers at Walker throughout all our programs. I am proud to say that 25% of the Walker Dialogues are women, and the year-round cinema program continues to give voice to local filmmakers and celebrate the legacy and influence of women in international cinema. I am proud of all the Minnesota filmmakers who have shown their films at Walker. It is a wonderful history and confirmation of home-based talent.”

My very first short film, Rock-n-Roll Girlfriend, screened in the WIDC: Homegirls program back in 1995 when I was still a student, and I can’t begin to explain how much my inclusion in the program meant to me back then. It remains a badge of honor to this day! I’ve always wondered what happened to all the women who started here. Where did they end up and how did the Walker program that focused on women directors shape their careers? Melody Gilbert and I were co-chairs of Film Fatales in Minnesota, an international organization of women and non-binary directors of feature films, and we both pondered that question and decided to go on a journey together to find these women as well as celebrate the emerging filmmakers in our region.” adds Kelly Nathe

Women with Vision: Then and Now
Guest curated by Melody Gilbert and Kelly Nathe
Thursday–Sunday, March 12–15


Film Fatales Presents: New MN Shorts Showcase
Post-screening conversation with Film Fatales
Thursday, March 12, 7 pm
Walker Cinema, Free

Film Fatales MN. Photo courtesy Film Fatales.

Enjoy a sampling of recent works directed by MN women and selected by Film Fatales, a national organization of women and non-binary filmmakers advocating for intersectional parity in the film industry. The evening’s screening is followed by an onstage conversation led by Film Fatales about making the leap to feature filmmaking in our region.

Alison Guessou’s Happily Married After. Photo courtesy the filmmaker.
  • Film Fatales Twin Cities Reel, 10 min
  • Santuario, Christine Delp & Pilar Timpane, 3 min. (excerpt)
  • A Winter Love, Rhiana Yazzie, 4 min. (excerpt)
  • Master Servant, Julie Anne Koehnen, 3 min. (excerpt)
  • North Side Boxing Club, Carrie Bush and Amanda Becker, 3 min.
  • Peeled, Naomi Ko, 2 min.
  • Muslim Sheroes of MN: Nimo Omar, Ariel Tilson, 4 min. (excerpt)
  • The Coyote Way, Missy Whiteman, 4 min. (trailer)
  • Oh My Stars, Cynthia Uhrich, 3 min. (excerpt)
  • Happily Married After, Alison Guessou, 3 min. (excerpt)
  • Little Men, Ayesha Adu, 3 min. (excerpt)
  • Untitled Hmong Doc, Joua Lee Grande, 3 min. (excerpt)
  • Underground, Beth Peloff, 3 min.
  • Self-Creation, Shelby Dillon, 5 min.
  • Jasmine Star, Jo Rochelle, 5 min. (excerpt)
Shelby Dillon, Self Creation, 2019. Photo courtesy the filmmaker.

Total run time: approximately 60 min.

Secret Screening
Directed by Laura Gabbert
Post-screening conversation with Amy Thielen
Friday, March 13, 7 pm
Walker Cinema, $10 ($8 Walker members, students, and seniors)

Image from Laura Gabbert’s Secret Screening. Photo courtesy Original Productions.

Women with Vision alumna and Minnesota native Laura Gabbert (City of Gold) returns to the Walker for a sneak peek of her latest documentary, which follows a master chef and the creation of spectacular desserts. Stay for a conversation with the director, led by James Beard Award–winning chef and writer Amy Thielen (The New Midwestern Table) after the screening.

Amy Thielen is a two-time James Beard Award-winning food writer. She’s the author of two books—The New Midwestern Table, and the memoir Give a Girl a Knife–and her next book, a radically casual entertaining cookbook, will come out in the fall of 2020 from W.W. Norton. She was the host of Heartland Table on Food Network, and before that, spent seven years working as a line cook in the New York City fine dining scene—a job from which she’s been in recovery for twelve years and counting. She lives with her husband, visual artist Aaron Spangler, and their son in rural northern Minnesota.

Directors on Stage: A Conversation
Saturday, March 14, Free
Walker Cinema, 2 pm

A conversation with Minnesota directors who emerged through the Women with Vision programs, presented with selected clips from their early and current work. Guest curators and directors Melody Gilbert and Kelly Nathe will moderate a panel of filmmakers including Laura Gabbert, Gayle Knutson, Jila Nikpay, and Thalia Drori Ramirez.

A Celebration of Women with Vision
Saturday, March 14, Free
Walker Cinema, 7 pm

A screening of short films reunites these regional directors featured in Women with Vision festivals. Stay for a celebratory gathering and reception honoring the service and influence of Senior Curator of Moving Image Sheryl Mousley.

Mary Ahmann. Photo courtesy the filmmaker.
Jila Nikpay. Photo courtesy the filmmaker.
  • differences, Lu Lippold, Women in the Director’s Chair (WIDC) 1994, 1 min.
  • Three, Cheryl Wilgren Clyne, Women with Vision (WWV) 2006, 3 min.
  • Wednesday’s Child, Mary Ahman, WIDC 1994, 15 min.
  • Mulching Blade, Michele Lepsche, WIDC 1995, 8 min.
  • Gaze, Eleanor Savage, WWV 2002, 3 min.
  • Ramona, Kella (Prill) Alam, WIDC 1995, 7 min.
  • sHe hEr heR, Tomoko Oguchi, WIDC 1999, 3 min.
  • Shroud and Torrent, Jila Nikpay, WWV 2004, 6 min.
  • Rebel in Soul, Marie-Francoise Theodore, WWV 2003, 13 min.
  • Corporate Sponsorship Parade, Thalia Drori, WIDC 1998, 3 min.
  • Venus of Mars, Emily Goldberg, WWV 2002, 7 min. (trailer)

Video and film transfers courtesy Augsburg University Department of Communication Studies, Film, and New Media. Special thanks to Professor Jenny Hanson, Director of Film and New Media, Augsburg University.

Women with Vision in the Mediatheque
Sunday, March 15, 11:30 am–4:30 pm Free
Bentson Mediatheque

A daylong program of select films originally featured in the Walker’s Women with Vision programs. Women in the Director’s Chair programs are noted with WIDC and Women with Vision programs are noted with WWV.

11:30 am

  • This is Destiny, Shelli Ainsworth, WIDC 1996, 21 min.

12 noon

  • Rock and Roll Girlfriend, Kelly Nathe, WIDC 1995, 10 min.
  • Happy are the Happy, Sarah Jane Lapp & Jenny Perlin, WWV 2000, 18 min.

12:30 pm

  • Married at the Mall, Melody Gilbert, WWV 2002, 55 min.

1:30 pm

  • Mother Logic, Liza Davitch, WIDC 1995, 26 min.

2 pm

  • Grandfather’s Birthday, Gayle Knutson, WWV 2000, 17 min.
  • C. Beck, Deb Wallwork, WWV 2009, 9min.

2:30 pm

  • Indian Princess Demystified, Lorraine Norrgard, WIDC 1999, 26 min.

3 pm

  • Birth Stories, Lu Lippold, WIDC 1995, 27 min.

3:30 pm

  • Moving in a Mirror, Joanna Kohler, WWV 2006, 35 min.
  • What’s with the Hijab, Barbara Weiner, WWV 2004, 12 min.

Video and film transfers courtesy Augsburg University Department of Communication Studies, Film, and New Media. Special thanks to Professor Jenny Hanson, Director of Film and New Media, Augsburg University.