Child, Mother, Bridge: Nigeria

A still from the short film ‘Child, Mother, Bridge: Nigeria.’ This year’s Femme Frontera Filmmakers Showcase includes movies from Nigeria, Sweden, India and the U.K.

“When I was growing up it was always the rock magazines like Rolling Stone, Guitar World,” said local filmmaker Angie Tures while searching for the perfect description of her youth.“I always dug those ones because the pieces always felt more personal.”

That passion for personal pieces never went away, and now Tures’ second Femme Frontera Filmmaker Showcase – which exhibits distinct and intimate works primarily made by women – is only days away. Seven short films from around the world will screen at The Alamo Drafthouse on Saturday, Sept. 23.

Through inspiration, fortune, grit and collaboration, her simple idea has developed into an event of global reach. The passion project of six local female filmmakers made waves last year when major media outlets such as Variety, Texas Monthly and Remezcla reached out to them to write about the first fest. This national interest in the project was organic, but unsurprising to Tures.

“There was content that is typically harder to break through to large film festivals, but it was also a bit of perfect timing because of the Trump campaign putting down everything we represented,” Tures said. “We were women and five of the six of us were of Mexican descent.”

Although it was welcome, the attention placed on Femme Frontera did make Tures rethink its structure.

“The fear as an organization is ‘Are we just a trending topic as opposed to being judged on content?’ So as a result, the focus has changed a bit this year in that we now have an international array of filmmakers, which I am excited about,” Tures said.

While shifting the pieces from regional productions to works from around the globe, Tures emphasizes that the fest remains true to the mission of breaking boundaries.

“The biggest difference is the geographic region from where the films come from, but thematically, it’s still about challenging perceptions,” Tures said. “It still has to do with breaking down barriers, but they are sexual, psychological and physical barriers.

“We have a Swedish film about refugees that are migrating to the Democratic Republic of Congo,” Tures continued. “There is a piece about child brides fleeing from Boko Haram. Many of these former child brides are carrying children themselves.”

The sheer task of selecting the films for this year’s event was heavy indeed for the selection committee.

“More than 185 films were submitted from women directors,” Tures said. “There were many male directed films that were unfortunately turned away as well.”

She confessed her distaste for excluding any of the film submissions sent their way.

“My ideal response is to feature our region and the lack of representation for so many people in film,” Tures said. “So yes, we want to represent filmmakers from this region just as we did last year, but we are not the only ones dealing with this. I know what it feels like to have your narrative written for you.”

Tures is quick to point out that 10 films from El Paso and Las Cruces were submitted, and they were all excellent, she added. El Paso filmmaker Sarah Hope’s, “That Day Will Come,” a movie about the stigma attached to female drummers, will screen at Saturday’s showcase.

Despite many of the challenges and fears, Tures and the festival will push forward.

“During [last year’s] showcase, I was always so nervous,” Tures said. “I would watch the audience. That’s what motivates me to create. I want them to have some reaction. I think the worst would be to have none.”