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UNR Student And Teacher Featured In Upcoming Nevada Women's Film Festival

From stray dogs in Athens and vampires on skateboards, to documentaries on sex trafficking and child abuse, the Nevada Women’s Film Fest will take you to a lot of interesting places this year. 

The filmmakers come from all over – but many are from Nevada. Two of the filmmakers hail from the University of Nevada-Reno.

Kari Barber is an assistant professor of electronic media, and an international journalist turned filmmaker. 

Barber's film, “Struggle and Hope” is a feature documentary that tells the history of all-black towns that sprung up in the American West following the Civil War. 

Barber became interested in the subject after a family member gave her a program from a production of the musical "Oklahoma!" that featured information about the all-black towns established in Oklahoma. 

Barber, who grew up in Oklahoma and went to college there, didn't know about this time in the state's history.

“That is what began my interest in the topic and then I got this job here at the University of Nevada-Reno where the Reynolds School of Journalism has been very kind to allow me the opportunity to travel and explore this film, explore this story and produce this documentary,” she said.

She said a few of the towns still exist around the country, but like most small rural towns, they're struggling for survival. Barber hopes the film will give these towns a boost.

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“That’s what I hope the film does is helps to bridge geographic divides between rural towns with important history that is disappearing and to give each other ideas about how to save their town, how to save their history, how to preserve what they have,” she said.

One of Barber's students, Crystal Powell, also has a film in this year's festival, "Life's Just Hard," and tells the story of two adults who were victims of child abuse. 

The project started before Powell was in college. She had personal experience with domestic violence, but it was not a topic covered in any of her middle school or high school classes.

“I felt like I needed to do something and I was in a video production class and I was doing very well and tended to follow projects that I felt passionate about,” she said.

Powell originally wanted it to be a educational tool, but that changed in the seven years it took her to put the project together. 

“I was using my own story as the female student example, but it wasn’t going to be a narrative when I initially started the film it was going to be an educational tool and it changed over the course of editing,” she said.

Now, Powell hopes victims of violence, who see the film, connect with it and know there is hope. 

Guests

Kari Barber, director, "Struggle and Hope";  Crystal Powell, director, "Life's Just Hard" 

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