NMSU Feminist Border Arts Film Festival returns in person this summer

Release Date: 05 Jun 2023. Link to original press release

Isabel Darancou
News Media Intern
United States


The Feminist Border Arts Film Festival continues to grow steadily since 2016, even after going online during the pandemic. This summer, the short film festival returns to New Mexico State University on June 28, International Pride Day.

This year, the festival will screen 60 short films from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday, June 28 at the University Art Museum.

The date also has an historic significance according to M.C. Jonet, co-organizer and NMSU associate professor of gender and sexuality studies.

“It is the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in 1969,” Jonet said. The Stonewall Riots were a series of spontaneous protests by members of the LGBTQ+ community in response to a police raid, which was a catalyst for the modern LGBTQ+ civil rights movement in the U.S. and internationally.

“In our festival, we take great pride in showcasing a selection of U.S. and transnational short films that navigate the complexities of identity and difference, taking a socially-engaged stance through film. We concentrate our efforts on unifying narratives around women and LGBTQ+ topics, stimulating a rich dialogue about diverse representation,” Jonet added.

When the festival began eight years ago, Jonet and Laura Anh Williams, also co-founder and an NMSU associate professor of gender and sexuality studies, reviewed hundreds of film submissions to create the festival. Now they review thousands.

"The exceptional number and quality of films we receive is genuinely affirming," said Jonet. This enables us to continue to offer a dedicated platform for filmmakers and audiences deeply invested in these areas. Moreover, it reinforces our festival's ability to draw remarkable films that beautifully blend the art of cinema with socially conscious storytelling. This year we also include six NMSU student and alumni filmmakers throughout the festival programming."

With submissions from queer and trans artists and feminist and social justice perspectives, the festival amplifies underrepresented voices. The first five years, the festival was held in-person, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced the 2021 and 2022 festivals online with the films shared on streaming platforms and the festival’s YouTube channel.

The festival provides a platform where thought-provoking narratives and underrepresented voices are given the spotlight. Jonet and Williams carefully curate films that not only entertain but also act as bridges, connecting diverse perspectives and fostering critical engagement.

"We find ourselves in a time when the fight for reproductive rights has gained renewed urgency following the overturning of Roe v. Wade, and when laws targeting transgender individuals and the broader LGBTQIA+ community are increasingly prevalent,” Williams said. “It is precisely these challenges that can serve as catalysts for learning and solidarity, inspiring collective efforts to construct better worlds together.” 

 Williams explained this year’s festival will be dedicated to Emilia Rueda, a student enrolled in Jonet’s Introduction to Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies class, whose life was taken in September 2022, a victim of intimate partner homicide.

Rueda’s video, "Hand of Colonialism," a digital storytelling piece she created for an assignment, will be screened in a special program at 1 p.m. Wednesday, June 28 as an official entry of the festival. 

“Emilia's piece showcases her exceptional talents as both a scholar and artist, skillfully weaving together her lived experiences and theoretical insights to create a thought-provoking work of art,” Williams said. “We wanted to honor and celebrate Emilia's work because the festival has always been dedicated to showcasing emerging talents to the public. Furthermore, we firmly believe in the power of creativity to foster a sense of community and drive social change through storytelling.”

The festival is sponsored by New Mexico State University Gender and Sexuality Studies, the University Art Museum, Office for Equity, Inclusion & Diversity, College of Arts and Sciences, Stan Fulton Endowed Chair, the Department of English and the Department of Art. For more information, visit http://fba.nmsu.edu.