Women's International Film & Arts Festival: Jada Pinkett Smith Feels the Lady Love

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Sure, women are making strides in Hollywood. There's Kathryn Bigelow directing fact-based thrillers such as Zero Dark Thirty and Jennifer Westfeldt with off-center comedies like Friends With Kids. Unlike their male counterparts, the majority of films made by women show a broader spectrum in genres, subjects, and styles.

And yet, women represent only 7% of film directors and nine-tenths of movies are made from the male perspective. It's no wonder that the images of women, and the subject matter of films about them presented to the general public, are often just updated versions of dated stereotypes.

The Women's International Film & Arts Festival (WIFF), running March 20-24, is working to change that.

During its run this week, Miami will become a center for sharing and exploring the issue of women in filmmaking and empowering the artistic vision of women on an international scale. It's one of just a few international film and arts festivals specifically designed to promote women in the film industry and to celebrate women's accomplishments.

Now in its eighth year, the festival will feature more than 50 films in five days, launching tomorrow with a red carpet screening of Free Angela, introduced by Jada Pinkett Smith. It also aims at exhibiting other art forms by women, and encouraging the marketing and distribution of their work, while providing a forum to address women's issues. The force behind WIFF believes that the images of women in films directly affect how women are perceived, valued, and treated in society. Great efforts are being made to enhance the opportunity for women's voices to be heard and to present a wider range of roles that all women can identify with.

In addition to the film lineup, there will be panel discussions, workshops, symposia, fashion shows, family events, an outdoor concert, and not to mention plenty of parties. The best part is everyone is invited to join. That includes you too, fellas.

The Women's International Film & Arts Festival is March 20-24. Call 954-990-8088 or visit womensfilmfest.com.

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