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Santa Monica ArcLight Cinemas Launches Women's Documentary Series


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By Lookout Staff

October 2, 2017 -- ArcLight Cinemas launched a female-led documentary series this weekend that includes two more screenings at its theater in Santa Monica Place this month.

This bi-annual series will screen "Girl Unbound: The War to Be Her" on October 8 and "The S Word" on October 22 at 4 p.m. at the ArcLight Cinemas on the third level of the mall downtown. The screenings are followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers.
"Girl Unbound" poster

The series, presented in collaboration with Women in Entertainment, is a chance to "celebrate the powerful storytelling of the documentary form and to celebrate women behind the camera," organizers said.

“Living in Los Angeles, the epicenter of film, I find myself frustrated that so many of the best documentaries that have debuted at top festivals around the country never have a chance to play in theaters in this city,” said the festival's curator Marjan Safinia.

“This series is filling that gap," she said. "Documentary is a considerably more level playing field for women directors, and their work is entertaining, moving, intelligent, brave and unwaveringly excellent.”

"Girl Unbound," directed by Erin Heidenreich, is the story of Maria Toorpakai, who defied the Taliban by disguising herself as a boy so she could play sports freely in Waziristan, “one of the most dangerous places on earth," festival organizers said.

Toorpakai and her family faced constant death threats after she became a rising star and her identity was revealed. The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Directed by Lisa Klein, "The S Word," which receives its LA premier at the festival, follows a suicide attempt survivor "on a mission to find fellow survivors and document their stories of courage, insight and humor," organizers said.

The festival also features the world premiere of "Everything Must Change" by Iranian-American filmmaker Mariam Jobrani at the Arclight Hollywood on Sunday, October 15.

“We are passionate about supporting these films," said Gretchen McCourt, the ArcLight Cinemas' executive vice president of programming. "Documentaries are among the most interesting and nuanced films being made today."


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