NASHVILLE, TN — This spring, the Belcourt brings back another offering of Strong Leads: A Film Seminar for High School Girls. Now in its 13th installment, Strong Leads is a presentation of the Belcourt’s education and engagement program and explores gender representation in cinema, in the Hollywood establishment, and in film discourse. Designed for 10th, 11th and 12th grade girls of all identities including gender nonconforming youth, the seminar features films from a variety of genres and cultures — and follows with discussions and activities. Facilitated by Allison Inman, the Belcourt’s education and engagement director, the seminar sessions take place 4-7:30pm, Tuesdays, April 4-25, in the Belcourt’s second floor Jackson Education and Engagement Space and Manzler/Webb Screening Room.

Participation in Strong Leads is by application only, and space is limited. This seminar is offered at no cost to participants, but capacity is limited, and students must apply and be selected to attend. It is designed for students only and is meant to be taken in its entirety (no single sessions). Popcorn and bottled water are provided. Applications are due Sunday, March 27, and applicants will be confirmed and notified on Monday, March 28. Applications are online at

“This semester’s Strong Leads is such a terrific slate of films, most of which have played on the Belcourt screen in recent years. I’m especially excited to share the restoration of Ayoka Chenzira’s 1994 film ALMA’S RAINBOW, a joyful celebration of Black girlhood and womanhood that I know will be a student favorite. I’ve been wanting to present Pippa Bianco’s SHARE for this group since I saw its Sundance premiere in 2019 because it addresses real issues that teenagers are facing in peer groups. GIRL PICTURE is another Sundance gem providing a rare opportunity to see teenage life in Finland. Finally, Lulu Wang’s THE FAREWELL, like ALMA’S RAINBOW, offers an opportunity to discuss multi-generational family stories, always a plus.”

Film selections for 

Strong Leads include:

— Apr 4: ALMA’S RAINBOW Dir. Ayoka Chenzira | USA | 1994 | 85 min. | NR

—Apr 11: THE FAREWELL Dir. Lulu Wang | USA | 2019 | 100 min. | PG

—Apr 18: SHARE Dir. Pippa Bianco | France/Singapore/USA | 2019 | 87 min. | R

—Apr 25: GIRL PICTURE Dir. Alli Haapasalo | Finland | 2022 | 100 min. | NR

About these films:

ALMA’S RAINBOW: In this coming-of-age comedy-drama, Rainbow Gold is a strong-willed teenager with a firecracker personality. Her mother, Alma Gold, is a respectable woman who runs a beauty parlor on the first floor of their Brooklyn apartment. Determined not to acquiesce to a quiet, domestic life like her mother, Rainbow becomes enthralled by the seemingly glamorous lifestyle of her cosmopolitan aunt, Ruby Gold, who has unexpectedly dropped in after a 10-year hiatus in Paris, France. The sisters weave in and out of fighting over Rainbow’s future and finding fond nostalgia in reflecting over  their own youth. Meanwhile, Rainbow dances through the colorful urban streets, declaring autonomy over her own identity.

THE FAREWELL: In this funny, uplifting tale based on an actual lie, Chinese-American Billi (Awkwafina) reluctantly returns to Changchun, China as her family’s beloved matriarch Nai-Nai has been given mere weeks to live. Keeping Nai-Nai in the dark, the family gathers to honor her under the guise of an impromptu wedding, uniting scattered family members. As Billi navigates a minefield of family expectations, she finds there’s a lot to celebrate: a chance to rediscover the country she left as a child, her grandmother’s wondrous spirit, and the ties that keep on binding even when so much goes unspoken. Director Lulu Wang depicts both the way we perform family and the way we live it, weaving a richly moving story about how to forestall a family crisis with a practical lie.

SHARE: Mandy is living every teen’s worst nightmare: the discovery of a disturbing video from a night she can’t remember. This jarringly original film stars Rhianne Baretto as the 16-year-old athlete whose world is upended as the video – which features a vulnerable, unconscious Mandy – begins to circulate in her community. Written and directed by newcomer Pippa Bianco, and based on her acclaimed short film, SHARE takes an unflinching look at the intense pain, uncertainty, isolation and loss that Mandy maneuvers with incredible courage, ultimately telling the story of a young woman determined to reclaim her own fate. 

GIRL PICTURE: Best friends Mimmi and Rönkkö have each other’s backs, always. They want to live adventurous lives, loaded with experiences and passion. Emma, on the contrary, has given her whole life to figure skating. Nothing gets between her and success. But when the girls meet, life opens new paths, and they all rocket in new directions. Within the film’s tender, funny exploration of the fears and confusions of discovering one’s identity and sexuality, a refreshingly positive portrait of the power of female friendship emerges. Writers Daniela Hakulinen and Ilona Ahti consistently present the film’s teen protagonists as complex individuals, while director Alli Haapasalo, rather than aestheticizing the girls’ femininity, vibrantly depicts their trials and tribulations through their own eyes.

The Belcourt Theatre is Nashville’s nonprofit film center, a cultural institution that engages, enriches and educates audiences through innovative film programming in our theatre, our community, and beyond. Housed in Nashville’s only neighborhood theatre, the Belcourt presents the best of independent, documentary, world, and repertory cinema 365 days a year, while promoting visual literacy and providing opportunities for people of all ages to experience the power of film. 

The Belcourt Theatre is funded in part by Metro Arts: Nashville Office of Arts & Culture, the Tennessee Arts Commission, and the National Repertory film programming is generously funded in part by Nina and H.G. Webb, who provide visionary support for the Belcourt Theatre.