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Panel to discuss why so few women work in film

September 23, 2013

Film industry experts will convene on the Stephens College campus next week to discuss why there are so few women working in Hollywood and what can be done to boost the number of females in film.

“Where are the Women?” is the first Citizen Jane Summit, although similar discussions have happened in the past. The Summit, which is free and open to the public, will kick off the Citizen Jane Film Festival, a three-day festival highlighting the work of female filmmakers.

“What’s exciting to me is that we have always had these conversations happening organically at the festival because we have these amazing women around the world here,” said Paula Elias, director of Citizen Jane. “People naturally start talking about why women are so poorly represented behind the camera and begin strategizing ways to make it better.”

The summit begins at 3 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 3, in Historic Senior Hall on campus. At 3:15 p.m., Melissa Silverstein, author and blogger, will discuss her new book “In Her Voice.” She will be followed by a short presentation on how women tell their stories hosted by Joanna Demkiewicz and Kalyen Ralph, journalists and founders of the new feminist magazine The Riveter.

Two Academy Award nominees will also participate in the summit. Julia Reichert, founder of New Day Films, will talk about women in independent cinema, and Yvonne Welbon will explore gender and race in cinema.

At 4:30 p.m. all of the guests will participate in a panel discussion about storytelling.

The summit will be interactive, and Elias anticipates heavy audience participation, especially at 5 p.m. when attendees will break into small groups to strategize ways to improve the status of women in film. Solutions will then be presented to the entire group before the event wraps up with a 6 p.m. reception.

“We hope the community takes advantage of this unique opportunity to meet and work with these amazing women,” Elias said. “The summit is going to be really fun and interesting and inspiring.”

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