The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has awarded a $10,000 grant to the Citizen Jane Lecture Series at Stephens College.
The educational grant will be used to bring additional nationally recognized female filmmakers to campus during the coming school year. The guest artists spend about a week conducting workshops with students and take part in a public screening and discussion.
Receiving the competitive grant from The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is exciting and a nod to Stephens’ mission of getting more women in the film industry, said Kerri Yost, associate digital film professor.
“Our missions align strongly—we all believe in mentorship and helping women become more represented both in front of and behind the camera,” she said. “This grant will allow us to bring women who are at the forefront of the film industry right now to Columbia to help share their knowledge with our students and with the community. This validates the importance of the Citizen Jane Lecture Series that we do throughout the year.”
The lecture series began in 2004, the same year Stephens launched its digital filmmaking program. The idea was to bring industry professionals to Columbia to allow students to connect with women working in the field. The Citizen Jane Film Festival began in 2008 as an extension of the series.
Past lecture series guests have included Jennifer Hawks, music supervisor at Dreamworks and Joni Tackette, casting director of “Up in the Air,” as well as independent filmmakers including Marilyn Atlas, producer of “Real Women Have Curves.”
A recent study by the Sundance Institute and Women in Film Los Angeles found that mentorship is crucial when achieving equality in the film industry. And that is critical to bucking current trends—a 2011 report found that women accounted for just 5 percent of directors of the top 250 domestic grossing films in 2010.
“While other industries are getting better, film is lagging behind,” Yost said. “The Academy is committed to our specific work. I do believe we’re seen as leaders right now: We’re constantly being asked to speak on panels and comment on the state of women in film. We are part of the national conversation of how to truly change opportunities for women in the film industry.”