Does this dress show my celluloid?

Lora Barstad

Robin Williams laughed all the way through Teknolust. Lynn Hershman Leeson’s tongue-in-cheek cyber-fi adventure in artificial intelligence premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and Sheryl Mousley, curator for the Walker Art Center’s annual celebration of women in film, was in the audience to see Williams’ reaction.

“When I’m scouting films, I always pay attention to the audience, how they’re reacting,” she says.

Teknolust makes its Midwest debut at the Walker’s month-long Women with Vision film festival. Now nine years old, the festival honors the work of women filmmakers from around the world. The theme for this year’s festival is Restless Age. Mousley says she came up with the theme after looking at the 100-plus films up for consideration.

“The words ‘restless energy’ kept coming up,” she says. “There is a very urgent feeling to these films, these women need to share their stories and their view of the world.”

Among the 54 films selected for the festival, 13 were made by Minnesota women. They include preludes the Walker commissioned to introduce the screenings, short, experimental works and long-form documentaries, one of which explores tying the knot at the Mall of America’s Chapel of Love.

If you can only make it to a couple of screenings, Mousley has some recommendations. Teknolust, a new approach to a classically male-dominated genre, is a given. Director Leeson will even be on hand to answer questions. Another film Mousley suggests is Brother, the U.S. premiere of a story about a Hong Kong man who travels to remote Western China in search of his older brother. Director Yan Yan Mak uses this setup to create a metaphor for the relationship between China and Hong Kong. Since Mak didn’t get a permit from the Chinese government to make her film, it has never been shown in her home country.

Thursday, March 21st is devoted to films made in the wake of September 11th. These works are by filmmakers who live near the World Trade Center. They offer an unmediated, firsthand reaction to the day’s tragic events.

Go to walkerart.org for film schedules.