The LiaFEST, a series of films and events focusing on female empowerment to mark International Women’s Month, will kick off at the Jerusalem Cinematheque on March 3 and run until March 28. This will be the third year in a row that the LiaFEST has been held.The festival is named for and inspired by the Jerusalem Cinematheque’s founder, Lia van Leer, who died in March 2015. A movie lover, she became the queen of Israeli cinema and helped put Israeli film on the international map. In addition to the Jerusalem Cinematheque, van Leer also founded the Haifa Cinematheque and the Israel Film Archive, as well as starting the Jerusalem Film Festival and the Haifa International Film Festival. She also helped create the Tel Aviv Cinematheque and nurtured Israeli filmmakers, both by putting their films front and center at her festivals and by exposing them to the classics of world cinema.The films are from all over the world and focus on women’s issues and women’s power to effect social, political, economic and cultural change. Academics will introduce many of the films and participate in panel discussions afterward.The movies in the festival come from India, Sweden, Mexico, Mauritus, France and China, as well as Israel. There are both feature films and documentaries, and even an animated film, Gitanjali Rao’s Bombay Rose, a lushly illustrated romance set on the streets of Bombay.Director Rama Rau will attend the screening of her film The Daughter Tree, which follows the efforts of a midwife to convince Indians who prefer to have boys that it is crucial that girls be born as well.Another director, Viktor Nordenskiöld, will attend to present his film The Feminister, a look at Margot Wallströms, a strong feminist who became Sweden’s foreign minister in 2014.There will be a preview screening of Martin Provost’s new comedy, How to be a Good Wife, starring Juliette Binoche as a teacher in a girls’ school in the late 1960s who instructs her students on how to fit into society, until she begins to question her own role.Lila Avilés’s The Chambermaid is an award-winning drama that looks at the life of a maid in one of Mexico City’s top hotels.Lulu Wang’s recently released, critically acclaimed The Farewell tells the story of a family whose grandmother is diagnosed with terminal cancer. The family members choose to shield her from the truth and hastily plan a wedding celebration so they can say their goodbyes to her without her finding out the truth – but things don’t go as planned, for many reasons.There will be a number of films from Israel shown at the festival. Recognized Project is a collection of short documentary films by Bedouin women who will be on hand afterward to discuss their work.Unchained – The Real Script is a look behind the scenes with the creators of the series Matir Agunot, about women abandoned by their husbands, who are not allowed to remarry.Ayelet Dekel’s Refuge is a look at a women’s shelter and tells the stories of those who live there.As part of the LiaFEST program, the Jerusalem Cinematheque will co-operate with the 49% Festival, which presents powerful and engaging stories about women’s struggles and successes. The mission of the festival is to develop and promote female narratives through film and media, promoting women’s rights in the world by making cultural changes and sharing stories and voices.To see the full program and to order tickets, go to the festival website at jer-cin.org.il.