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Film fest highlights Women’s History Month

Friday, March 3, 2017

Rachel Carson, a soft-spoken marine biologist and author of Silent Spring, is credited with launching the modern environmental movement. Her story, and those of other women who serve as inspiration to women everywhere, will be highlighted during a Women’s History Film Fest on Sunday, March 19, from noon to 9 p.m. in Mercy Heritage Room at Mercyhurst University.

The “Nevertheless, She Persisted Film Festival” is offered in celebration of Women’s History Month. It is a collaborative effort of the history department, Social Justice Coalition, and the history and philosophy clubs at Mercyhurst. It is free and open to the Mercyhurst community.

“The centerpiece of Mercyhurst’s celebration of Women’s History Month, the film festival shines a light on just a few of the extraordinary stories of American women — their struggle for full equality, dignity, and respect, as well as the contributions of women like Rachel Carson and Shirley Chisholm to a healthier and more just society,” said History Professor Dr. Chris Magoc.

In a related development, students and faculty will journey the following Saturday, March 25, to the Seneca Falls Women’s Rights National Historical Park, site of the 1848 'Declaration of Sentiments’ that launched the modern struggle for women’s rights.

“It should be a full day’s immersion into the rich, transformational history of American women,” said Magoc, who added that there are still seats left. Anyone interested in going should contact Dr. Ben Scharff at or sign up in Preston 118.

For more information on the film series, contact Magoc at


(Student clubs will provide popcorn)



Made in L.A.

Length: 70 min.

Emmy award-winning feature documentary that follows the remarkable story of three Latina immigrants working in Los Angeles garment sweatshops as they embark on a three-year odyssey to win basic labor protections from trendy clothing retailer Forever 21. In intimate observational style, Made in L.A. reveals the impact of the struggle on each woman’s life as they are gradually transformed by the experience. Compelling, humorous, deeply human, Made in L.A. is a story about immigration, the power of unity, and the courage it takes to find your voice.

SCREENS AT 1:15 p.m.

From Danger to Dignity

Length: 57 min.

This film (1995) weaves together two parallel stories: the evolution of underground networks that helped women find safe abortions outside the law, and the intensive efforts by activists and lawmakers to decriminalize abortion through legislative and judicial channels. This film combines rare archival footage with interviews that document the courageous efforts of those who fought to break the silence, change the laws and end the shame that surrounded abortion when it was a crime.

SCREENS AT 2:30 p.m.

American Experience: Rachel Carson

Length: 120 min.

Often called the mother of the modern environmental movement, Rachel Carson rocked the world in 1962 with her book Silent Spring, which warned the American public of the impact of pesticides on the environment and unleashed an extraordinary national debate about science and safety. At the center of that firestorm stood Carson, a strong, intensely private woman who balanced her love of the natural world and passion for writing with personal strife, including a heartbreaking battle with breast cancer. This film provides an illuminating and inspiring portrait of a seminal figure whose writings changed the course of our nation and are more relevant today than ever.

SCREENS AT 4:45 p.m.

The Invisble War   

Length: 98 min.

The Invisible War is an engrossing, deeply moving, deeply disturbing, and award-winning documentary that shines a light on the epidemic of rape and sexual assault in the armed services.  Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) has credited The Invisible War as the inspiration for her ongoing efforts in the United States Senate to reform the reporting and accountability systems of the U.S. military in ways that can bring perpetrators to justice. 


Chisolm ’72: Unbought and Unbossed 

Length: 77 min.

Recalling a watershed event in US politics, this compelling documentary takes an in-depth look at the 1972 presidential campaign of Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman elected to Congress and the first to seek nomination for the presidency. Following Chisholm from her own announcement of her candidacy through her historic speech in Miami at the Democratic National Convention, the story is a fight for inclusion.

Surprise film will be screened at 7:15 p.m.

These films are being shown as part of the required course content for the following courses: HIS 220 (America Since 1945) HIS 221 (U.S. Environmental History) HIS 281 (Gendering World History).