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Meet Edda Manriquez of Les Femmes Underground International Film Festival

Today we’d like to introduce you to Edda Manriquez.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Edda. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I first graduated from UCSD in 2010 with a major in Communications, Visual Arts, and a minor is Stage Management in Theatre. I grew up in North Park and got to witness as a once impoverished community became the focal point of San Diego’s nightlife. It was in that time I became impassioned with creating spaces for individuals marginalized by society. In watching gentrification slowly wash away a lot of the low-income blue-collar families in my neighborhood, I knew I wanted to get involved in bringing a voice to those often silenced due to lack of resources or representation.

In 2015, I founded Les Femmes Underground International Film Festival (LEFUFF), an official 501c3, as a response to the decline of feminist independent media in cinema.

After graduating from the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) in 2014 with a Master of Fine Arts, I found the workspace to be saturated in misogyny and a severe shortage of opportunities for women to succeed. Having been involved in several non-profits such as Ameri-Corps, Camp Kesem, 826LA, Youth Policy Institute, among others; I found I had an innate desire to branch out and create something which really spoke to me as an artist and as a woman.

It was then that LEFUFF was born, a traveling women’s film festival centered on bringing feminist media all throughout the Southwest. I wanted to create a festival that I would want to see as an artist and as a filmmaker. I wanted to see a festival that would be considerate of my socio-economic position and be responsive to my limitations of traveling costs.

As such, I created an organization, which through the support and involvement of my community. helped make possible. LEFUFF, as a result, has become a beacon of hope in the transformation of media, as focus on not just independent media, but experimental, animation, VR, music, and interdisciplinary mediums. LEFUFF is a space of interaction, growth, and support. We try to schedule our annual event from locations that the most admissions come from that year, as a result cutting the traveling costs for the people in those communities.

I attended a workshop held by the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media at CalArts, it was then that something truly resonated with me. I realized how everything we saw in media, starting as children, showed women in truly limited roles, “the mother” “the sister” “the daughter” “the crush”, but never truly herself without addressing gendered roles.

I wanted to create a space where these labels would be broken down, examined, reconstructed, and assembled into a more wholesome representation of women. I wanted to see the villain, the hero, the tomboy, the feminine one, the transgender character, the one you love, the one you hate. Characters of different sizes, colors, backgrounds, nationalities and social economic positions.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It has been a rather challenging journey. In efforts to cut costs for our attendees, we have found it rather difficult to keep up with competitive rental rates to put on the event. As such, a lot of the costs trickle down from my own personal income, making the event a bit of a personal financial strain.

Additionally, when you are a rather young non-profit with assistance coming in from volunteers, acquiring donations and financial support can become a bit tricky. Often times, donations are given to more established organizations with departments entirely devoted towards grant acquisition. Regardless of those difficulties, I hope we can continue to grow so that we can provide more communities with the opportunity to watch and experience media from various feminist artists.

Please tell us about Les Femmes Underground International Film Festival.
This year’s event takes place on Sept 1, 2018, at the Phoenix Center for the Arts.

About the Organization:
Les Femmes Underground International Film Festival (LEFUFF) is an official women’s charity and educational based 501c3 non-profit and is the ONLY traveling organization that showcases exclusively feminist experimental media and narrative cinema

Our organization prides itself on going beyond the festival by assisting at-need communities through art and education. We provide a vital role in community enrichment and support through various philanthropic drives and events, including Books For Babes, a literacy initiative that focuses on bringing feminist children’s books to under-represented communities nationwide. LEFUFF also provides financial assistance and support to women and female-identified artists attempting to acquire film distribution and career enhancement.

About the Film Festival:
Les Femmes Underground International is a film festival centered on the subversive, unique, and innovative. LEFUFF showcases artists from all walks of life creating work which redefines the manner in which women are represented in mainstream cinema.

LEFUFF invites you to take a cinematic adventure that destroys the meaning of mundane through its unique programming via the underground world of feminist inter-sectional art, music, and celluloid fantasies.

Les Femmes Underground International film festival features films from over 30 different countries ranging in genres from Documentary, Experimental, Narrative, Horror, Female Sexuality, and our own concoction Psychotropic. Our programming digs into the esoteric realms, of witchcraft and feminism. We pride ourselves in emerging occult ideology and notions of the phrase, “witch” as a way to indoctrinate equality, independence, and empowerment.

Why was LEFUFF Created?
Les Femmes Underground was created as a response to the decline of feminist icons and role models in the media. As feminists, we believe it is our responsibility to empower new generations of young women to generate work which breaks away from society’s gendered roles. Les Femmes Underground seeks to premier first time under-represented emerging feminist film-makers and artists.

Dreams for the Future:
We hope that through community support and involvement we can one day acquire a forever home for our young organization. Our hopes is to have a women’s community arts center, where we can provide things beyond art such as free mental health, educational resources for youth, as well as, holistic care for its members. We hope to heal the community through art and we hope you can join us in those efforts, donate today to help us reach those efforts.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
My favorite childhood memory has always been going to seaport village as a kid. I grew up with a single mother who worked several jobs to make ends meet for my brother and I. As a result, we would spend a lot of time just people watching and sharing a small bag of popcorn shrimp at Sea Port Village.

Something I really enjoyed about it as a kid was all the trees. My brother and I would spend hours climbing on the trees and watching all the kites be flown in a small grassy patch at the far end of Sea Port Village. There was something so serene about sitting on a tree, watching ships come to port, and watching the tourists travel with their families, seeing the buskers perform, that made it so wonderful.

Pricing:

  • $15.00 you can buy an enamel pin, die cut sticker, poster, and a postcard to support our organization.
  • $25.00 for an exclusive t-shirt
  • $15.00 entrance fee for the event plus a free enamel pin.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Polartropica, The Kitty Cult, San Diego Latino Film Festival, Chrissy Hampton, Kristine Tomaro

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