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Cinema Program Lights Up She Burns Bright Fest

Hope Madden Hope Madden Cinema Program Lights Up She Burns Bright Fest
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Who’s looking for something Femme AF to do this weekend? Besides me, I mean.

Well, we are in luck because She Burns Bright, a Femme AF arts celebration, hits Columbus’s Franklinton Arts District this October 9 and 10. The outdoor event features live music, comedy, poetry, dance, performance art, drag, and cinema.

The cinema portion of the fest takes place Sunday at the The Vanderelli Room (218 McDowell St.). She Burns Bright organizer Nikki Wonder enlisted the aid of Brit Noble Charek, founder of Akron’s Bechdel Fest, local filmmaker Nikki Swift, and Melissa Starker of the Wexner Center for the Arts.

According to Starker, Swift’s showcase offers a sampling of filmmakers from Columbus Moving Image Arts Review while Charek is doing a “best of” Bechdel shorts program with an inclusion focus.

“I’m doing a program of films that highlight women’s resilience and resourcefulness,” Starker says. “All the films/filmmakers have Columbus ties. My lineup is also something of an homage to two amazing women curators who regularly present programming in Columbus: Wex Film/Video Studio Curator Jennifer Lange, and Sarah Schmidt, animator and curator of the Malt Adult Animation. So, layers of women supporting women!”

What drew Starker to the project?

“I couldn’t say no to an invitation to be part of something that not only showcases amazing women artists but involves some of the most impressive and talented women I know behind the scenes, like Bloodthirsty Virgins frontwoman Nikki Wonder, poet and Secret Studio co-proprietor Amy Turn Sharp, and AJ Vanderelli, the powerhouse behind The Vanderelli Room.”

“Every short that we are presenting was directed by a woman or women working together,” Starker says. “Most of the films I’m showing, I was first exposed to through the work of Jennifer Lange or Sarah Schmidt. Both of them pushed through the presentation challenges created by the pandemic to continue sharing and supporting new films. I’m in awe of their dedication, and they both have excellent taste.”

Among the films Starker’s programmed is Jennifer Reeder and Nancy Andrews’s short, I Like Tomorrowa sci-fi musical that combines live action and animation to tell the tale of a lonely astronaut who confronts her past, present, and future selves while isolated in a space station. 

“I Like Tomorrow might not exist if Jennifer Lange hadn’t created an opportunity for Jennifer Reeder and Nancy Andrews to connect through the studio.” Starker says Lange was also “a key player” in the creation of Aimee Wissman’s For They Know Not What They Do as well as Kamisha Thomas’s BANG!, both playing in Sunday’s lineup.

Says Starker, “I’m really excited for people to see what Nikki, Brit, and I put together.”

The lineup for Sunday, Oct. 10 in The Vanderelli Room:

Starker’s program, 3 PM

  • Áine by Alexandria Cree
  • For They Know Not What They Do by Aimee Wissman
  • BANG! by Kamisha Thomas
  • Duo by Sidney Gale
  • I Like Tomorrow by Jennifer Reeder & Nancy Andrews
  • Burning Love by Lease Hart

Swift’s program, 4 PM

  • Blue Rebellion by Cristyn Allen – Steward 
  • Katelin by Janelle Moorman
  • Sona VS by Mackenzie Bigley
  • Ghosting by Stacie Sells-Vanscoder
  • Hello, Old Friend by Janelle Bonfour-Mikes
  • Take Care of Each Other by CG Ryan
  • Bridges of Love by We Amplify Voices (Tiera D. Photo and Nikki Swift)

Charek’s program, 5 PM

  • Heather Has Four Moms by Jeanette L. Buck
  • The One Who Gave You a Name by Carmen Callahan 
  • Last Stand to Nowhere by Michelle Muldoon
  • Julie of the Jury by Jessy Leigh
  • My Aunt Mame by Krissy Mahan

Besides the cinema, located at the Vanderelli Room, the fest has a main event stage and beer garden at 503 West Walnut St.

Tickets for the full 2-day fest are $20. General admission for either day is $15, and VIP passes run $100. For ticketing information and additional intel, visit sheburnsbright.com.

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