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Citizen Jane Film Festival named among MovieMaker Magazine's 50 film festivals worth the entry fee

May 2, 2017


For the second consecutive year, the Citizen Jane Film Festival at Stephens College has been named one of the 50 film festivals worth the entry fee by MovieMaker Magazine

Barbie Banks, director of the annual celebration of female filmmakers, said she’s already seen an increase in submissions for the festival this year since MovieMaker released its list in mid-April. 

“This is really exciting for Citizen Jane,” said Banks, adding that last year, 80 percent of CJ’s 90 films were gained through submissions. “To filmmakers, it is clear that our submissions process is not a revenue source but a way to discover new voices.” 

The 2017 Citizen Jane Film Festival takes place Oct. 26-29. Visit the Citizen Jane Film Festival website.

“I have found that running Citizen is a delicate balance between making the festival about the patrons and about the filmmakers,” Banks said. “I would hope we could also be recognized as a film festival worth the pass fee!” 

According to MovieMaker, Citizen Jane ranks high among film festivals that celebrate independent moviemakers because many of its films come from submissions rather than special invitation.

“This non-competitive, women filmmaker-oriented festival accepts a relatively high percentage of submissions but doesn’t compromise on quality,” noted Kelly Leow in an article for MovieMaker. “The Citizen Jane Summit, an afternoon of communal brainstorming and discussion, gets straight to the heart of the gender parity fight. Visitors then brush up on moviemaking skills at the festival’s day-long film school, and afterwards benefit from the festival’s new exchange program, which waives submission fees to CJFF’s partner festivals.”

Banks said Citizen Jane exists to change the game for women in the film industry.

“If we are going to take their often limited financial dollars we have to make it worth it,” she said.

Here’s what Banks said sets Citizen Jane apart from other film festivals:

  • Each film submitted is watched.
  • Feedback is given to each filmmaker, regardless of her acceptance into the film festival.
  • CJ provides airfare, lodging, transportation and a filmmaker swag bag to the accepted filmmakers.
  • CJ offers networking opportunities through Q&As after each film, panel discussion, parties, a filmmaker lounge and filmmaker-only events.
  • CJ has a festival exchange program that allows filmmakers to submit to other festivals for free. 

The Citizen Jane Film Festival was started in 2008 by several Stephens College professors to give students in the Digital Filmmaking program experience running a festival. Student volunteers continue to do the bulk of the work. That first year, the festival attracted such films as Academy Award-nominee “Trouble the Water” and hosted musical talent such as punk songstress Exene Cervenka. A year later, attendance grew by more than 50 percent, solidifying the community’s support of the festival.

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