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University of Missouri

Female Filmmakers Festival

A Columbia original showcases female auteurs.

Citizen Jane Film Festival marquee

Citizen Jane Film Festival’s marquee beckons from the Stephens College Columbia Foyer at 1405 E. Broadway. The event is set for Oct. 4–6, 2013. Photo by Rob Hill.

Even celluloid aficionados might have the misconception that women are well represented on the business end of Hollywood. After all, didn’t Kathryn Bigelow win best director and best picture Oscars for The Hurt Locker, the 2009 Iraq War film?

Unfortunately, Bigelow’s achievement is the exception, not the rule.

“The area of film in which women are the most poorly represented is narrative fiction films, the kind that go to Hollywood theaters,” says Citizen Jane Film Festival founder and co-director Kerri Yost, BA ’94. “There are a lot of women in documentary and experimental media but very few making big-budget films.”

Citizen Jane was started in 2005 in Columbia to help educate people about that inequality and build enthusiasm for the artists. In 2011, women made up only 5 percent of all directors working on the top 250 domestic grossing films, so the festival invites up-and-coming as well as established filmmakers to CoMo to promote their movies. Sponsored by Stephens College, Citizen Jane screens about 20 films throughout the three-day event at the Missouri Theatre, Ragtag Cinema and various campus venues.

Lena Dunham, Golden Globe Award-winning actress and creator of HBO’s hit series Girls, showcased her film Tiny Furniture at the 2010 installment. In 2012, three-time Academy Award nominee and festival “godmother” Julia Reichert presented her series From the Archives to enlighten viewers about the history of women behind the camera.

“We also have a series of short films made by young women from around the world called The Secret Lives of Girls,” says Yost, who teaches film studies at Stephens. “The perception from the audience is that it’s going to be a bunch of kids films, but they are profound and deeply felt.”