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'Our Nixon,' 'Citizen Koch' among anticipated films

September 17, 2013

The 2013 Citizen Jane Film Festival sets sail Friday, Oct. 4, with the screening of “Maidentrip,” a documentary tracing the adventures of a 14-year-old’s solo voyage around the world.

The film follows Laura Dekker, the Dutch teen who became the youngest person to ever sail around the world alone.

It’s an appropriate opening night selection for a festival that also set out to break barriers. Now in its sixth year, Citizen Jane is one of few film festivals shining a spotlight on works by female filmmakers.

But don’t let the focus on women fool you, Program Director Kerri Yost said. While some are designed to provide a female perspective, most are just “really good films,” she said.

Among the most critically acclaimed films this year is “Our Nixon” by Penny Lane. The documentary is a compilation of never-before-seen clips of Richard Nixon’s aids; footage from more than 500 reels of home movies confiscated during the Watergate hearings.

Also coming to Citizen Jane Film Festival this year is Tia Lessin’s Citizen Koch, a story about the way in which money and power interfere with America’s democracy. Originally titled “Citizen Corp,” the film had early support from public television, which later pulled funding for fear of upsetting Charles Koch and David Koch, billionaire conservatives and donors. Lessin and fellow filmmaker Carl Deal later used social media to raise funding for the project. “Citizen Koch” premiered at Sundance Film Festival.

Lessin will join other filmmakers at noon Friday for a panel discussion about how social media and online fundraising efforts are changing the way films are made today. That discussion, in Studio A of the Helis Communication Center, is free and open to the public.

Those wanting a head start on the action are invited to attend the CJ Summit, a workshop allowing audience members to interact with a distinguished panel of feminist filmmakers. Attendees can RSVP at Guests include award-winning filmmaker Yvonne Welbon, New Day Films Founder Julia Reichert, authors and journalists. That event, also free and open to the public, starts at 3 p.m.Thursday, Oct. 3, at Historic Senior Hall.

Reichert and Welbon will team up again Saturday morning to present “From the Archives: Finding Identity” featuring rare clips from early feminist filmmakers.

Although passes giving access to all events and to all films are available, visitors can opt to attend a single film or event. A complete schedule is available at

“Citizen Jane is designed to be an easy and relaxing festival, something you can incorporate into your other plans that weekend,” Yost said. “Our box office process and venue sites are chosen to make it very easy to attend.”

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