The Women of the West are ready for their close up.
The fledgling film festival debuted last year at the State Theatre and returns this year with a new slate of screenings this weekend. The Women of the West Film Festival was founded by State Theatre Executive Director Sue Richardson to help bring the region’s women together.
This year’s festivities include documentaries, shorts and a networking reception with food and more. As in its inaugural year, the screenings will all highlight work for and by women focused on a variety of issues and accomplishments meant to unite the community. This year’s featured films will be the documentaries “Sepideh” and “Embrace.”
The 2013 release “Sepideh,” an Iranian name meaning “Dawn,” played at the Sundance Film Festival in 2014. The film follows an Iranian girl from the film’s title who dreams of becoming an astronaut. The new documentary “Embrace” was released earlier this year. The film from Taryn Brumfitt, founder of the Body Image Movement, explores issues of body image, acceptance and shaming for women.
Besides showing films, the event will include a reception with food from around the world and give area women the opportunity to strike up new friendships. There will be a beer tasting courtesy the the female brewmaster at Good Hop Bottle Shop in Oakland. This year the festival will have a featured speaker as well. Valley native Signe Darpinian, a licensed marriage and family therapist who has specialized in eating disorders for close to 15 years, will give a talk during the event. Darpinian’s work has been featured in national publications, and she is the vice president of the International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals, San Francisco/Bay Area Chapter.
The event is intended for those ages 12 and older. The reception begins at 5:30 p.m. with films screening at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 24, at the State. Admission is $15 and includes the screenings, food and a swag bag for every attendee. For more information, call 209-527-4697 or visit www.thestate.org.
Elsewhere around the Scene: YES KIDS is looking for a some real boys, and girls, for its upcoming production of “My Son Pinocchio Jr.”
The Youth Entertainment Stage Company is seeking students in grades 4 to 8 to take part in the YES KIDS program as actors, singers and dancers. To audition, attend one of the open casting calls scheduled at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 27, at the Modesto Junior College East Campus recital hall; 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 29, at the Downey High School theater; and 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 8, at the Johansen High School theater. All materials will be provided.
YES KIDS’ production of the Disney musical “My Son Pinocchio Jr.” is based on the classic tale of toymaker Geppetto and the little wooden puppet that turns into a real boy. Those selected will be in rehearsal and production from Jan. 15-March 7. The performances will be March 3-5 at Gallo Center for the Arts. Tuition is $200 per student, with scholarships available. For more information: www.yescompany.org.
And finally, come hear from area theater veteran and California State University, Stanislaus, professor John Mayer about his new book.
The chairman of Stanislaus State’s Department of Theatre published “Steppenwolf Theatre Company of Chicago: In Their Own Words” in August. The tome looks at the creation and legacy of the iconic Chicago theater company. Mayer conducted interviews with ensemble members to reveal the story of Steppenwolf’s rise.
The conversation and book signing will run from 4-5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 27, at the West Reading Room at the Stanislaus State Library. The event is free, and refreshments will be served.