DC Area Educators for Social Change arranged a classroom visit for Giovanna with filmmaking students at E.L.Haynes in Washington, DC as part of their screening of The Pick Up at Film Fest DC. Read about the visit  here .

DC Area Educators for Social Change arranged a classroom visit for Giovanna with filmmaking students at E.L.Haynes in Washington, DC as part of their screening of The Pick Up at Film Fest DC. Read about the visit here.


June 19 Events

Giovanna speaks on June 18 at Suns Cinema on GENDERNAUTS by Monika Treut. And on June 23rd at AFI Docs on Documentary Ethics.

April 2019 FOTM Giovanna Chesler.jpg

DC Filmmaker of the Month

Washington DC Office of Cable Television, Film, Music, and Entertainment recognized Giovanna as the April 2019 Filmmaker of the Month. This award is timed to the Washington, DC screening of our new film The Pick Up at Film Fest DC in the Metro Shorts program April 28th at Landmark E Street Cinema

Feature script advances to Semi Finals

Sweetheart Ranch, Giovanna’s new feature screenplay to be Produced by Lisa Thrasher, advanced to the semi-final round of the Vancouver International Women’s Film Festival Screenwriting Competition.

The Pick Up awarded Best Short Film

Awards for The Pick Up! Cineffable - the Paris Lesbian and Feminist Film Festival celebrated their 30th anniversary in 2018 and the audience awarded The Pick Up best short fiction film. In Montreal at the image+nation Film Festival, the awarded The Pick Up Best Best Short Film. And in Carbondale, Illinois at the 41st Big Muddy Film Festival the Jury Awarded The Pick Up an award for Screenwriting. Merci!

Festival Screenings of The Pick Up

The Pick Up premiered at Boston Wicked Queer Film Festival and has since enjoyed screenings in Mumbai, Paris, Tampa, Montreal and several other cities. See full screening schedule under The Pick Up page.

Suns Cinema screening curated films by G6. Giovanna curated a night of films by Agnès Varda (The Gleaners and I), Chick Strand (Fake Fruit Factory) and a tribute to Carolee Schneemann, Barbara Hammer and Gunvor Nelson by Lynne Sachs. The work expressed intimacy, tactility, imperfection and love. March 13 2019, Suns Cinema, Mt. Pleasant, Washington, DC.

Barry Lyndon at the Smithsonian Museum of American Art Revisit this twisted classic. Giovanna gives a pre-screening discussion of the film. June 16th, 2018, McEvoy Auditorium, Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Renwick Gallery, 800 G Street NW.

Suns Cinema screens Giovanna's Experimental Documentaries Tuesday March 6th, 2018 local DC cinehouse, Suns Cinema, in Mt. Pleasant screened a collection of Giovanna's experimental documentaries BeauteouS: Stephanie, hand-some, and a newly remastered version of Period.

Technicolor Was Never Meant to Be So White a discussion about the lack of racial diversity in film organized by Roosevelt Institute at George Mason University. Scheduled for a week before the Oscars, this event centered on the causes and effects with panelists who examine the social, historical, and political aspects of diversity in film, and discuss how this issue can be improved in the future. George Mason University, February 27, 2018.

#MeToo, Black Lives Matter Movements Reflected in Oscars 2018, interview with Giovanna on VOA

#MeToo, Black Lives Matter Movements Reflected in Oscars 2018, interview with Giovanna on VOA

Voice of America interviewed Giovanna again this year, as a follow up to their #OscarsSoWhite conversation and MOONLIGHT WIN from last year.

Mason professor assesses state of the Oscars, “The entire film industry is being called out right now on account of white supremacy and racism, on account of sexism and sexual violence, and on account of pay inequity,” said professor and filmmaker Giovanna Chesler, director of George Mason’s Film and Video Studies Program. “In the Academy’s nominations and in this awards season overall, we are seeing some response to and some impact of these movements.”

Triumph of the Shill

Giovanna shot a film with artist Nina Berman during the 2017 Inauguration weekend of 45. TRIUMPH OF THE SHILL remakes Leni Riefenstahl's 1935 Nazi propaganda film. The DC Premiere of SHILL took place Saturday Feb 17th at the DC Independent Film Festival with Director Nina Berman and our DC based crew. In November 2017, SHILL premiered at Ft. Lauderdale Film Festival, Anthology Film Archives in New York, and the Portland Film Festival. More screening info here:

Rosebud Film Festival - Sunday January 28th, Arlington Independent Media

Panel "Student Filmmaking: From the Classroom to the Real World!" - Is film school for me? How do you transition from the classroom to the real world? Come hear from Giovanna and other professionals who have done it. This panel will feature a mixture of film school professors and former Rosebud winners who have continued making feature films post-graduation. The discussion is not just for students, but indie filmmakers who want to improve themselves in the collaborative craft.

October + November screenings for Java

In November, we travel to Montreal for image+nation Festival Film LGBTQueer. In October, we brough Java to the Tampa International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival (October 11th) and the Washington DC Reel Affirmations International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival (October 21st). Check out the Java page for more information.

Ethics in Documentary Filmmaking Workshop
August 17th, Docs in Progress, Silver Spring, MD
Join me for a frank, confidential and off-the-record workshop about ethical challenges in documentary filmmaking. I'll discuss ethical considerations facing non-fiction storytellers. Attendees will be invited to ask questions, raise concerns, and consider real examples of common moments where filmmakers face ethical dilemmas. This workshop and conversation is intended to provide guidelines and tools. Registration and more info.

Screenings of JAVA
Our latest short film, Java, premiered in competition at Richmond International Film Festival on March 4th, 2017. Actors Drae Campbell (Jet) and Rebecca Wahls (Diana) joined Giovanna and Producer Lisa Thrasher at the Q&A. Additional screenings have followed at Kashish Mumbai's Queer Film Festival in India (May 24th, 2017),  Opening Night of the Boston Wicked Queer Film Festival (March 30, 2017) in front of the feature Signature Move. Read about Java in this Fairfax Times article that covers our film as a Mason Film Lab co-production.

Giovanna interviewed by Voice of America on this year's Oscar race

"Oscars Reflect Talent, but Also Money and Politics" February 13, 2017
by Penelope Poulou

Giovanna Chesler, director of the Film and Video Studies program at George Mason University in Virginia, says that as in any other campaign, robust advertising and a large amount of money can have as much influence as artistic merit in securing a film’s road to the Oscars.

As a documentary producer herself, she says when she worked on a film she and her team were considering promoting for Oscar consideration, she knew that it would cost about $50,000 just to secure the screening of the film in core markets during the Oscar season. This money does not cover additional expenses for advertising and promotion.

Chesler says she has renewed faith in the Oscars because, as she puts it, “in this year’s nominees you see more talent reflected, not just the marketing ability of the industry.”

Video interview with VOA News

Spirits of Rebellion Screenings



After winning Best African Diaspora Documentary at the African Academy Awards (in Port Harcourt, Nigeria), and Best Documentary Feature (Jury) and shared Audience Award for Best Documentary at Blackstar Film Festival in Philadelphia PA, SPIRITS continues to enjoy festival and curated screenings.
National Museum of African American History and Culture March 25
African Diaspora Int'l Film Festival, New York (Closing Night) Dec 11
Foto DC, November 19
New Orleans Film Festival, October 12-20

Spirit Magazine

As Director and Associate Professor of Film and Video Studies, Giovanna was featured in a cover story on the program, its students, and the FAVS focus on crafting a film program around gender, equity and inclusion in Spirit Magazine.

2016 Events

October 26 9am - 10am Baltimore, MD presentation "Finding Sweet Spot in Film Pricing and Purchasing at National Media Market and Conference

September 28, 730pm - GMU Visiting Filmmakers Series with Christine Vachon, conversation with Giovanna Chesler, Johnson Center Cinema, Fairfax, VA. Tickets here through Women in Film and Video - DC.

August 1- 5: University Film and Video Association Conference, presentation of JAVA - feature screenplay, Membership workshop on Diversity and Inclusion, formal responses to UFVA member screenplays, Gender Caucus Workshop

The New York Times propels Period

In April 2007, Period: The End of Menstruation was featured on the front page of the New York Times. Above the fold! This launched international coverage and turned Period into a Cinema Guild top-seller that year.

Out in the Night Reviews and interviews

As a documentary on PBS's nationally televised independent documentary series POV and the Logo network, Out in the Night enjoyed international coverage and acclaim. Here is a selection of interviews and reviews. More can be found at

Reviews for BeauteouS: The Trilogy

BeauteouS, BeauteouS: Stephanie and BeauteouS: Giovanna were created as three separate but connected pieces - the BeauteouS: Trilogy, between 2000 and 2002. Three portraits of three sisters and their relations to beauty in three distinct genres: fiction comedy, a documentary portrait and experimental film. As a trilogy, they garnered reviews and screenings.

A Mentour Worth Watching, Alisia Chase in Afterimage

Gay and Lesbian Times, Sept 04
KPBS review of the trilogy Sept 04
Video Librarian Review, April 2004
City Beat, San Diego, review, February 2004