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Women and Film

Citizen Jane diversifies the idea of film

October 15, 2009 | 12:00 a.m. CST

Editor's note: click here for blogging from the Citizen Jane Film Festival.

For every Oscar-nominated Sofia Coppola or Jane Campion, there are thousands of women who go unrecognized in the film industry. This weekend, however, Columbia’s Citizen Jane Film Festival brings the women working the cameras into focus.

Event info

WHERE: Stephen’s College, Ragtag and Uprise Bakery
WHEN: Fri., Oct. 16 through Sun., Oct. 18
COST: Individual passes $6.50 – 10 and Festival passes $60 - 100
CALL : 876-2312

Ebullient Events

From stop-motion animation to experimental documentaries, Citizen Jane incorporates a diverse range of festivities. Experience some of the interactivity Citizen Jane is known for in these don’t-miss side jamborees:


Rapper and songwriter MC Lyte, a star of Say My Name, a documentary about women in hip-hop, will take part in a Q&A after the film Friday evening. At 10 p.m., head to Tonic Night Club for a hip-hop showcase starring the acclaimed performer and pioneer in the maledominated rap industry.


Stop-motion animation group Tiny Circus travels in an Airstream trailer and teaches kids how to create films.
They’ll conduct children’s workshops Wednesday and Thursday then park the Airstream outside Orr Street
Studios on Saturday at 10 p.m. to premier the workshop’s creations at a screening and dance party.


If you’re not sure which movies to see, start at Ragtag with Women Behind the Camera on Saturday at noon for an overview of the realities women face in the film industry. Festival founder Kerri Yost says the panel
involves women of diverse film professions sharing their stories, and it gets to the heart of Citizen Jane’s
mission to help clear a path for women in the industry.

--Caitlin Giddings
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Festival history

The festival began as part of the Stephen’s College film program. It developed from a 2004 “Women in Film” lecture series into a full festival in 2008, and from the start it showcased female media creators. This year,
Citizen Jane hopes to expand its audience with more diverse representations of women in the industry, from animators and performance artists to an increased selection of international creators.


Sara Fernández Cendón, media relations manager, sees parallels between the film industry and the focus of the film she’s anticipating the most. Friday’s opening night screening at Windsor Auditorium of Say My
, Nirit Peled’s international documentary about women in hip hop, is one of her mustsees.
Say My Name is the film that I really want to see, not only because it’s directed by a woman but also because of the subject — women in a tough, male-dominated industry,” she says. “The theme of the film really resonates with our mission.” The documentary will be immediately followed by an after-party featuring hip hop artist MC Lyte at Tonic Night Club.

Clever carnival

This isn’t your mother’s film festival. Kerri Yost, founder and executive director of Citizen Jane, emphasizes that the term “film” will be used loosely this year. “We tried to book (acts) to appeal to a variety of people,”
she says. Yost describes the unifying theme in selection as “anything that’s projected.” From classic narratives and documentaries to experimental and animated pieces, the festival wants to be an outlet for all different kinds of female creators who don’t have access to a wide audience. According to the Citizen Jane Web site, women make up only seven percent of filmmakers, a disparity the festival seeks to counter.


Cendón says Ragtag Cinema and Windsor Auditorium at Stephen’s College are ideal spaces to showcase “the many shapes and forms that women in film take.”


Whatever your definition of film, Citizen Jane will find a way to expand your concept of what can happen when women are behind the camera. “When I go to a film festival, I like to see something I can’t see
anywhere else,” Yost says, citing the short films and youth media projects as her most anticipated festival events. With panels, workshops, musical performances, art installations and screenings of handmade
films, it’s a wonder everything will fit into one weekend. Tickets can be purchased online or in person at Ragtag. The cost is $100 for an all-events access pass, $60 for all films or $8 to $10 general admission for individual features.

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