Movie Maniac

High schoolers kick off Femme Fest ICT film festival this weekend. Here’s the lineup.

A former beauty queen meets four women at a shelter and sets out for a night full of adventure in “Miss Arizona.”
A former beauty queen meets four women at a shelter and sets out for a night full of adventure in “Miss Arizona.” Courtesy

There’s a new film festival in town, and there’s no need to man up about it.

That’s because the focus will be on women storytellers, equality and gender representation.

Femme Fest ICT is the brainchild of two East High School juniors, Julia Fetters and Lauren Zoller, who say they are both “feminists, interested in film, and have experienced sexism in our lives.”

They both participated in the Tallgrass Film Association’s Emerging Programmer Apprenticeship student program.

“We wish to educate and shine a light upon gender equality and chose to do it through film because it connects with people on an intuitive level,” the girls said in a statement. “We also hope to inspire other young people to advocate for causes they believe in.”

Femme Fest ICT will take place from 1 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday, April 20, at Fisch Haus, 524 S. Commerce. Screenings will be followed by a Q&A and discussion. Local artists and entertainers will also be included as part of the celebration. Sponsors include The Monarch, Digital Brand and Fisch Haus.

Tickets to the festival are free. Advanced reservations are encouraged as seating is limited. A suggested donation of $5 per film is encouraged at the door.

Here is the festival schedule and films to be shown:

1 p.m. — Short film program

“Esperanze Y Futuro,” directed by Claire Imler, USA, documentary, 12 min.

“Alright,” directed by Giulia Gandini, United Kingdom, live action, 9 min.

“Reflections,” directed by Morgan Gruer, USA, animation/live action, 3 min.

“Fantasy,” directed by Kate Gondwe, USA/Wichita, live action, 6 min.

“Unaware,” direced by Caitlyn Cody, USA/Wichita, live action, 6 min.

(Additional films may be included.)

2:45 p.m. — Performance by musical group The Mystery Trio (Jenny Wood, Susan Mayo and a “mystery saxophonist”)

4 p.m. — “This Changes Everything,” directed by Tom Donahue, USA, 97 min., followed by panel conversation

This documentary premiered at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival and uncovers what is behind one of the most confounding dilemmas in the entertainment industry — the under representation and misrepresentation of women. The film features interviews with Meryl Streep, Natalie Portman, Taraji P. Henson, Cate Blanchett, Jessica Chastain, Chloe Grace Moretz and more.

6:15 p.m. — Performance by musician Kamaria Cozart

7 p.m. — “Miss Arizona,” directed by Autumn McAlpin, USA, 94 min., followed by filmmaker Q&A (McAlpin is scheduled to attend)

This is the story of Rose Raynes, a former Miss Arizona, who leads a life dealing with a distant husband and pre-teen son. When she accepts the opportunity to teach life skills at a women’s shelter, she meets four women who show her a new meaning of friendship through a night full of adventures.

For more information on the festival, go to

Rod Pocowatchit is an award-winning independent filmmaker and SAG/AFTRA-eligible actor who has written and directed four feature-length films, all made in Kansas. He has been a journalist for 29 years and is also an internationally award-winning page designer.