I think when some people think of the idea of feminism, they think of a room full of angry women that hate men, and will do anything to go against them. They picture angry ex wives, plotting how to win all of the money in divorce court while simultaneously turning their children against their fathers. They picture damaged, destroyed women that will stop at nothing to have the upper hand, even if they’re wrong. Although these women may identify as feminist, these examples are not necessarily an accurate depiction of what feminism looks like today.

Amplify Her is a project exploring female artists in electronic music, and showcases all the stories that go along with being a woman in the music industry. Part graphic novel, part animation, part full-length film, the project has taken five years to reach maturity. Canadian filmmakers Nicole Sorochan and Ian Mackenzie spent half a decade scouring music festivals and documenting diverse female performers, their stories, and the story of the resurgence of “the feminine.”

Amplify Her screened at the Globe Cinema in Calgary Thursday December 7. At the beginning of the film, Director Nicole Sorochan addressed the crowd with a quick set of viewing instructions. She encouraged us to be vocal in the parts of the film we supported, and to boo and hiss at the things we hated.

The movie follows seven women on their respective journeys through their own art and within themselves; Apple Cat, Blondtron, CloZee, Wala, A Hundred Drums, Lux Moderna and Kytami.

The story starts with West Coast based bass producer Wala, and a tour of her very cozy and very red studio. In the first five minutes of her vignette, Wala addresses the same tired old bullshit I hear from every single woman in the industry. The gist of it: I’m happy to be considered one of the best female DJs, but why does my gender matter? Also, I’m not trying to be that one woman that paves the way for all the other women, I’m just trying to make banging tunes.

And so it begins.

Enter Blondtron. Between clips of her shaking her booty in provocative outfits, she gives a really poignant interview. Blondtron is no stranger to controversy and sexuality, and in her first two minutes, she brings up scenarios that are all too familiar. She talks about the feeling of wanting to be one of the boys, and to put on a “pant suit.” But then, by doing that, realizing that you’re washing out the best part of yourself, which is not putting on a pant suit but rather being feminine and vulnerable. She’s hilarious when she talks, and so relatable – not just to the women in the audience, but also the men. She talks about the Red Hot Chili Peppers with their dicks out, and how her Instagram series “Merkin Mondays” in which she uses random objects as vagina wigs is really just akin to that. Yet, because it’s a girl doing it, she’s subjected to a ridiculous double standard of it being yucky (while also simultaneously being judged by other feminists for “doing it wrong”).

CloZee shows us her Facebook comments, and audible boos in the theatre echo. Underneath her new track, someone writes “did your boyfriend ghost produce that track?” illustrating more of the same old tired bullshit women music producers are subjected to on a constant basis.

On the flip side, Amplify Her shows us some really amazing men. Wala’s mentor Ill Gates gives a hilarious speech (part rant, part anecdote) about the creativity of women, their capabilities in the studio, and the complexity of their musical productions versus those that use the audience as a masturbation sleeve.

Lux Moderna battles with illness throughout the film, which both affects her art and her every day life. Her partner is by her side without question, and talks about her with pride. Without blinking he tells us she is his best friend, and that he will more or less do anything to support her.

Amplify Her is impeccably edited, and doesn’t have that low budg feel that a lot of indie festival-type films possess. Sorochan, MacKenzie and their team of illustrators, animators, videographers and photographers (mostly female) show us the new idea of embracing feminism and femininity through these very different women. It’s not about swinging from patriarchy to matriarchy, but rather, getting rid of all the preconceptions of what woman can and can’t do and carving out a common ground together. They use positive male influences, and show us what support looks like when good dudes have our backs. They show us what women can achieve when they stop fighting each other over petty society induced jealousy, and really, actually support each other. This is the feminism of today.

All in all, the best part of the evening was at the end of the Q&A period. Sorochan’s mom was in the audience. The final question was asked.

“What did your mom think of the film?”

Raising her hand in the audience, Sorochan’s mother enthusiastically yells, “I loved it! And I want to learn to set my pussy free!”

Catch the official Amplify Her after party tonight (ft. Kytami w/ Jams and Bvitae, Esette, Molly Fi, Mittz, Distinct and Prairie Chola Ayatollah) at Broken City.

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