WGST Affiliate Faculty, Giovanna Chesler, Recognized as Filmmaker of the Month

by Sidney Davis, WGST Intern

WGST Affiliate Faculty, Giovanna Chesler, Recognized as Filmmaker of the Month
Professor Chesler, recipient of Best Short Action Film, Best Short Film, and Screenwriting Award for "The Pick Up"

The Department of Women and Gender Studies would like to extend our congratulations to Professor Giovanna Chesler. She was recently recognized as the April 2019 “Filmmaker of the Month” by the D.C. Office of Cable Television, Film, Music, and Entertainment (OCTFME).

The OCTFME prides itself in recognizing filmmakers who widely contribute to the D.C. creative scene through art, visual, and sound media that encourages community and social engagement. Professor Chesler’s contributions were no exception, with her films reflecting and exploring issues of identity: namely gender, race, sexuality, class, and bodily autonomy.

Professor Chesler was particularly recognized by the OCTFME for her recent short film drama, “The Pick Up”, a co-production of the Film and Video Studies program’s (FAVS) Mason Film Lab, made with students in the program and produced by Professor Lisa Thrasher, cinematography by Professor Hans Charles

"The Pick Up" earned Best Short Fiction Film (Audience Award) at the Cineffable Paris International Lesbian and Feminist Film Festival, Best Short Film (Audience Award) at image+nation Queer Film Festival in Montreal, and a Screenwriting Award from the Jury at Big Muddy Film Festival.

“The Pick Up” focuses on a young girl who grapples with news that her divorced mother, who was previously in a heterosexual relationship, is now dating a woman. As the title alludes, the majority of the film takes place in her mother’s minivan as they travel home from swim practice. There will be a screening locally at the Film Fest DC on April 28. 

In the past, Professor Chesler served as our annual Women and Gender Studies Research Conference Keynote Speaker in 2015 in which she screened the feature film she produced, “Out in the Night”. This film highlighted how four queer black women were assaulted in New York City in 2006 in a homophobic street attack, and were charged criminally and in robust public vilification through American media after they defended themselves.

The film was broadcast nationally on PBS’s POV documentary series and on the Logo Network. “Out In the Night” was used as a tool by the United Nations to address homophobia and transphobia in 77 countries through their “Free and Equal” film program. Students can watch the film through GMU Library’s Kanopy streaming subscription.

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