From the Wilmette Beacon by Eric DeGrechie, Editor
Dr. Kassie Porreca is a self-described “film fanatic.”
Currently, in her first year as principal of Wilmette’s Regina Dominican High School, she wanted to bring something new and unique to the school. With Regina in the midst of celebrating its 60th anniversary, Porreca thought there was no better time than the present to create the inaugural Women’s Film Festival.
“We wanted to thank local residents for Regina being part of the overall community for the last 60 years. We were looking for a way to welcome people back onto our campus,” Porreca said. “We were also looking to create events that really connect with what our mission is as a school.”
After brainstorming with staff on the particulars, the film festival was soon hatched. Each of the four movies selected feature female directors and strong female characters.
“The films we are featuring at the festival in many ways mirror the qualities of a Regina student,” Porreca said. “Regina women accept the challenges of personal growth, face conflict assertively and emphatically, appreciate religious and cultural diversity and most importantly are women of integrity — and those are women represented by these films.”
The films chosen cut across genres, from comedy, to drama, to documentary.
The general public is invited. Tickets for individual movies are $5 and a festival pass will cost $15. The films will be shown in the school’s 800-seat O’Shaughnessy Theater.
The film schedule is as follows:
- 7 p.m. Friday, April 5 — “The Trouble With Angels” (1966). Described as a comedy featuring two best friends in an all-girls Catholic school run by nuns.
- 3 p.m. Saturday, April 6 — “Wadjda” (2012). Described as the first feature film made by a female director in Saudi Arabia.
- 7 p.m. Saturday, April 6 — “After Parkland” (2019). Directed by Regina alum Linda Corley (Class of 1978) about the lives of students and families affected by the 2018 shooting at Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
- 2 p.m. Sunday, April 7 — “Theodora Goes Wild” (1936). Starring Irene Dunne as the author of a controversial best-selling book who tries to hide her celebrity status from her small-town neighbors.
“Our state-of-the-art auditorium was made for community celebrations such as this and we welcome all to join us,” Regina President Elizabeth Schuster said. “We have exciting plans for the next 60 years including campus redevelopment, accelerated growth of our Leadership Institute and new sports-playing fields. We want everyone to come and check us out.”
For the film festival, Porreca connected with Regina alum Annette Bochenek (Class of 2008), a film studies expert who at one time had even taught film at the school and is president of the Chicago chapter of Turner Classic Movies. After hearing from Porreca about the film festival idea, Bochenek was quickly on board to help out and became the festival’s co-director.
“We each made a list of movies that we thought would be great to show and got together over coffee. Between our two lists, we have enough movies for about 20 years of film festivals,” Porreca said.
Utilizing the criteria of the Bechdel test, a measure of the representation of women in film, each movie selected needed to meet the criteria of 1) having at least two women characters; 2) they need to have names; 3) they need to have a conversation with each other that is not about male characters in the film. That combined with choosing movies that represented the qualities of a Regina student led to the four selected.
During the festival, several short films made by Regina students will also be shown.
To purchase tickets and get more information about the films, special festival guests and events, go to www.rdhs.org.