The theme of this year's Intersections Film Festival is "displacement," and organizer Carole Woodall finds it especially appropriate for this region.
"I'm not from Colorado Springs originally, and many of us do find ourselves in Colorado Springs who are not from this community," says Woodall, who's an assistant professor in the department of history and the women's and ethnic studies program at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. "Hopefully, the goal is for us to be a little bit more mindful of our community and of the individuals who reside here."
As in the inaugural festival in 2009, Woodall will turn to movies about the Middle East to catalyze thought and discussion. The six-film lineup includes For a Moment, Freedom, about Iranian refugees stranded in Turkey, and Winterland, about a Kurdish refugee in Norway.
In addition to campus support, the 43-year-old Woodall has received vital support from the community. The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center will host some of the film showings, as it did two years ago. But in addition, thanks to a challenge grant from the Gay & Lesbian Fund for Colorado, new donors' contributions to IFF will be matched dollar for dollar.
Budget constraints mean that none of the filmmakers will attend, but Woodall has recruited post-screening speakers including Robert von Dassanowsky, the UCCS film department head who is also the region's foremost film scholar, and Livia Alexander, director of Brooklyn-based ArteEast, an organization that promotes artists in the Middle East and North Africa.
Turnout for the inaugural festival, which she also curated, vastly exceeded expectations at about 800 attendees. The 2011 audiences should be even larger, and Woodall hopes their festival experiences will help make the Middle East seem more accessible.
"Film is a way to de-politicize something that's actually very political," she says. "And given the past 10 years, with the prominence of the Middle East, film provides a wonderful way to open up dialogue, as opposed to squelching it." — Rhonda Van Pelt