Held annually on the campus of New Mexico State University, the Feminist Border Arts Film Festival celebrates the power of cinema as a creative tool to reflect upon urgent social issues and thought-provoking representations of identity and difference. The festival emphasizes artistic vision in telling these stories through short film (15 min. and under), including live-action narrative, documentary, essay film, video art, experimental film, and animation. The festival showcases student and professional filmmakers, domestic and international.

The 2020 season will be the fifth anniversary of the festival. To celebrate this, the Feminist Border Arts Film Festival is partnering with the newly-constructed University Art Museum (UAM) located in Devasthali Hall on the campus of New Mexico State University. It is doing so to participate in the inaugural exhibition to be mounted in the new premises: “Labor: Motherhood and Art in 2020,” co-curated by Marisa Sage (Director, UAM) and Laurel Nakadate (NY based photographer and filmmaker). “Labor: Motherhood and Art in 2020” addresses and challenges the documented human experiences of motherhood and the ways the mother and childrearing have been perceived and portrayed in art, both historically and in current popular culture. Building upon the multitudes of conversations happening in the contemporary art world “Labor” looks at motherhood through the lenses of empathy, intimacy, feminism, failure, dedication, and routine.

For its part, the Feminist Border Arts Film Festival will feature a two-day event of public screenings of selected films that encompass and/or expand on artistic/critical explorations of mothering, mothers, the maternal, the divine feminine, queer family, queer or/and trans parenting, race and mothering/parenting, dis/ability and mothering/parenting, refugee and transnational mothering/parenting and more. In short, the festival seeks films that deal with notions of the mother, mothering, kinship bonds, parenting, or the family that intersect with topics of gender, gender identity, sexuality, race, indigeneity, class, dis/ability, transnationality and diaspora, migration, refugees and displaced persons, activisms, the environment, food/water/housing insecurity, and other social justice perspectives and experiences. Our selected films will be screened alongside video works by artists like Mickalene Thomas, Tierney Gearon, Ann Fessler, who are showcased in the “Labor” exhibition.

Located in New Mexico—a state that includes nineteen sovereign Pueblo nations and is situated less than 50 miles from the U.S./Mexico border—the Feminist Border Arts Film Festival is committed to thinking about margins and liminal experience. The festival defines “feminist border arts” as a practice that challenges the limits of conventional representation through telling stories from the edge; threshold visions from the margins that create new ways of seeing, that visualize underrepresented ways of knowing. Selected films revive the promise of cinema, the possibility of film to open minds, create new vistas, and challenge dehumanizing forms of representation.

Gender & Sexuality Studies/Department of Interdisciplinary Studies at New Mexico State University sponsor the event in collaboration with the University Art Museum.

Gender & Sexuality Studies at NMSU offers a major, minor, and graduate minor. Students can complete requirements for the major online or in face-to-face courses. See gender.nmsu.edu for further details.

*Cover Image by Laura Anh Williams. Logo by Cassandra Dixon.*

Juried Awards: The jury is composed each year of select faculty, staff, students, community members, filmmakers, and film critics/scholars.
Best Live-Action
Best Animation
Best Documentary
Best Essay Film (when applicable)
Best Experimental Short (when applicable)
Best Mixed Media (when applicable)
Best in Festival

Festival Director’s Prize (Awarded to the Festival Directors’ Choice for Revolutionary Vision in Festival)

Audience Awards: These awards are selected by festival attendees.
Best Live-Action
Best Animation
Best Documentary
Best Essay Film (when applicable)
Best Experimental Short (when applicable)
Best Mixed Media (when applicable)
Best in Festival

Before submitting your film to the festival, review these conditions:

1. Films need to fit w/in the mission of the festival (see festival description above). Films that do not correspond in any way or only limitedly to the festival’s mission will not be considered.

2. This festival seeks to be accessible to as many filmgoers as possible. Only films containing hardcoded captions/subtitles in English will be considered for live screening.

3. We welcome films in any language. Please provide hardcoded English subtitles. If your film is selected for the festival, we will need to download a copy with hardcoded subtitles.

4. Films may be no longer than 15 minutes in length.

5. Films produced before January 2018 will not be considered.

6. One film per director.

7. If your film is selected, we will need to download a copy of it for the live screening event either through Vimeo or from you directly. If we cannot download a copy of your film, we cannot show your film.

8. While press kits are welcomed, they are not required. We would like, however, access to still images or any other information you have about your film for promotional purposes if possible.

9. The festival's live screening event prefers films that are not currently available on public formats such as You Tube or Vimeo.

10. Student entries should list the school where the project was produced in the credits or description.

11. Acceptance of your film does not automatically mean your film will be shown at live screening events. It is, however, upon acceptance an official selection of the festival.