One of the only film festivals in the nation that highlights the work of female filmmakers returns to downtown, Columbia. The Citizen Jane Film Festival is back for its seventh year. It stems from the Citizen Jane (CJ) lecture series that film Professor Kerri Yost started at Stephens College in 2006, the second oldest women’s college in the country. Yost wanted to bring industry professionals to Columbia so her students could see women working in film and learn directly from them. Two years later, the three-day festival was created to celebrate and support women filmmakers.
This year, there are more than 200 volunteers and more than 80 movies to see, but you don’t have to be a woman to join in on the festivities. Festival Director Paula Elias says men are welcome to attend the festival too. “It just means we only show films made by women… We want everyone to see these films… When you go see a film at the regular theater, 94 percent of what you see are made by men. Does that mean women can’t come?”
Dramas, comedies, documentaries, and several short films will be shown November 7 – 9. More than 400 films were submitted and more than half of those films will be screened at the festival.
The festival kicks off with the second annual CJ Summit on Thursday November 6, a free event open to the public that’s all about education. Film industry thought leaders will give presentations and panel discussions, followed by a workshop led by ‘Tiny Circus’, an artist collective that travels the country teaching the tools of collaboration.
CJ’s opening night film is a feature-length version of a short film that was previously screened at the festival. Kat Candler wrote and directed “Hellion”, a movie about a struggling family in southeast Texas. The film starring Aaron Paul from ‘Breaking Bad’ and Juliette Lewis will be shown at 7:30 p.m. November 7 at the Missouri Theatre.
To purchase tickets and find more information about the festival, visit citizenjanefilmfestival.org.