Philadelphia’s Fourth Annual Women’s Film Festival

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The fourth annual Women’s Film Festival runs from March 16th to March 24th. The event is the brainchild of one Temple alumnus.

Phuong Nguyen met with Layne Marie Williams four years ago and began to look for places for women to show off their work in the city. They realized that many festivals—including the Asian Film Festival, which Phuong was already involved in—still had a male focus. In turn, they founded the Women’s Film Festival, which has grown exponentially each year.

Director of Programming Suzi Nash believes that it’s something the city desperately needed. She said that it was the perfect time for it as well, with #MeToo growing in power and the film industry beginning to recognize female empowerment.

Nash says that they have been doing the same thing for four years – creating a space for, by, and about women to share their filmmaking talents. The festival keeps growing, and received over 400 submissions this year.

In recognition of the huge influx, they shifted the event from 4 days to 9. Visitors can check the schedule online.

For the end of the week, the Women’s Film Festival has partnered with Qflix for their closing ceremony on Sunday, March 25th. The festival has several venues, starting with its big opening night showing at the Kimmel Center.

Opening night viewed a recent, award winning film And Then There Was Eve and had a number of guest speakers to kick off the event.

Other venues include the Ruba Club and African American Museum for a variety of special events. Saturday’s final venue will be at the Drexel Urban Center Annex, where the first several screenings were held last weekend.

The festival, held in March to celebrate Women’s History Month, has been an exciting new scene for Philadelphia’s filmmakers. Phuong stated that the city has been looking to become a hotspot of the film industry, and the best way to insure that was by giving young filmmakers a place to share their stories and get audience feedback.

Temple students and alumni Colin Pawlowski, Jenna Lam, and Eli LaBan were featured at the event. Their student film last year The Art of Being Izzy has been chosen and featured at this event, and they were brought up for a Q&A with several film professionals. Temple graduate Amy Frear’s short film Selkie was shown as well.

Queer People of Color Organization Receives Offensive Letter

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The Village, which is located on the third floor of the Student Center, is a floor full of community and student organizations. But organization members were shocked to find an offensive letter outside the QPOC offices – the Queer People of Color organization. Run by students, their meeting the following day focused on the letter as the group had never been targeted in this way before.

The letter used racist and homophobic slurs, insulting the group and its members. The organization, which is based on welcoming people into a safe, friendly environment, has been trying to remain positive. Communication Chair Natasha McCombs said that they have been focusing on positivity and moving past the personal attack with fun, supportive meetings.

Though the group may be moving on, the investigation is far from complete. The case was turned over to Temple Police, but the culprit has not been caught as of yet. The blame is being placed on the lack of security cameras in the Village. Only one camera is located in the entire section, far away from the offices. Because of this, they fear it is unlikely the person will be caught.

However, students and other organizations are standing up for QPOC. Temple students denounced the event, including Adam Ebndaoud, who stated, “We are a community of different races, different people, opinions…so we have to respect each other and live together.”

Major organizations like the BSU and NAACP, to Temple’s own Asian Student Association, have all agreed to meet with QPOC to show their support. Overall, the members hope that this upsetting event can bring the community together, rather than tearing it apart.

More information about Queer People of Color can be found on their Facebook page or at

Farewell to the Septa Token

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Septa tokens, which have been a staple of subway and bus transportation in Philadelphia for over 100 years, are finally going away this March 1st.

The city will be fully embracing their electronic systems, including the quick trip kiosks and the Septa Key Card.

For some months after, employees will still accept the tokens, good for “one trip only.” However sales will completely cease on March 1st and any remaining token vending machines will be removed from stations.

The phasing out of tokens has been in the works for some time, although the full 25% of Philadelphia transit users have yet to switch. The complete removal could be a controversial subject for the many residents who have been using these token system for years.

For some, however, this change has been long overdue. Cities have incorporated magnetic keycards for decades, and some like New York have entirely phased out tokens since 2003. In fact, Philadelphia is currently the last major U.S. city to still sell subway tokens for their transit system.

Though many find the card system more convenient, some say that the tokens have a historical value. They represent the Philadelphia mint and have been in use since the late 1800s. While change is inevitable, moving on from the classic token design will signal the end of an era.