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“What’s Up” at This Year’s Cinema Systers All-Lesbian Film Festival in Paducah

Cinema Systers Film Festival logo

A three-day event billed as ‘the only all-lesbian film festival in the U.S.’ is returning for a second year this weekend in downtown Paducah. Cinema Systers Film Festival organizer Laura Petrie said she was inspired by the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival, an annual event that ran for 40 years before closing in 2015.

“They asked us to ‘sprout our acorns’ where we lived. And I decided to have a film festival for women, for lesbians - for lesbian filmmakers in particular,” Petrie said.

Both last year’s eventand this year’s event feature work by international filmmakers. The festival is showing a range of documentaries, dramas and comedies. Films range from documentaries about overcoming racial and cultural adversity to light-hearted works touching on themes of love and courage. Several of the directors and producers are holding Q&A sessions about their work.

“And we hope that this film festival inspires many more women to make films and submit next year,” Petrie said.

She said she also has permission from singer Linda Perry of the 4 Non Blondes to shoot a music video showcasing the event using their song “What’sUp,” released as a single in 1993.

“So we’ve got all five of our musical acts working together to come up with a compilation video - or song - and we will be shooting video with our audience participating in this,” she said. The bands involved are Fame + Fiction, WEEP, Heather Me, Von Strantz and Kristen Ford. (Perry will not be at the event.)

The festival is Friday through Sunday. The event also includes an art show, live music, dancing a quilted prayer flag sale and a silent auction. Attendees can purchase an ‘all-access’ pass or pay to attend individual screenings at Maiden Alley Cinema.

Cinema Systers Film Festival on Facebook

Cinema Systers Film Festival website

Maiden Alley Cinema website

Matt Markgraf joined the WKMS team as a student in January 2007. He's served in a variety of roles over the years: as News Director March 2016-September 2019 and previously as the New Media & Promotions Coordinator beginning in 2011. Prior to that, he was a graduate and undergraduate assistant. He is currently the host of the international music show Imported on Sunday nights at 10 p.m.
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