Citizen Jane Film Festival returns to Columbia

Citizen+Jane+Film+Festival+returns+to+Columbia

Madi Mertz

Used under fair use doctrine. Source: http://www.maidentrip.com/
Used under fair use doctrine. Source: http://www.maidentrip.com/

This weekend marks the third annual Citizen Jane Film Festival at Stephens College.  The women’s college hosts the film festival every year in order to exhibit films made by women.  Only nine percent of films in the top 250 box office list in 2012 were made by women, according to The New York Times.  That means that the other 91percent were chiefly made by men, even though women take up over half of the world’s population. Citizen Jane caters to that 9%.

Citizen Jane started out as a lecture series in 2004 for the film students of Stephens College.  The event was dubbed “Citizen Jane” in homage to what is often considered to the the greatest movie ever made, Orson Welle’s 1941 film “Citizen Kane”.  The festival itself opened in 2008, and according to citizenjanefilmfestival.org, has grown by 50% each year.

This year, their theme is evolution. The theme can be met by any form of film from animated shorts to full-length feature films, all made by women, and boy is the theme met every year.  A plethora of different films are shown on screens at Stephens, Ragtag Cinema, and the Missouri Theatre during the three day event.

“We have a very rich history of women in film and many people don’t know it,” said Paula Elias, Ctitzen Jane’s Festival Director, “so really that’s kind of, kind of our push this year.”

While not as well known as True/False, Columbia’s spring documentary film festival, Citizen Jane sets itself apart in its strong attempts to appeal to a large audience by not only showing films in different genres but all hosting such traveling groups as Tiny Circus, a team which travels around creating stop motion animation with people at festivals and schools.

Every year the festival chooses a few films catering to the teenage and students demographic, who get $2 off of tickets, by the way.  One film that stands out in Elias’ mind is a film entitled “Grow Up, Tony Phillips”, made by Emily Hagans, a twenty year old who has been making films since she was twelve.  The film is about a boy named Tony Phillips who loves Halloween so much he insists upon dressing up and trick-or-treating into his high school years.

Another film Elias points out for a young audience is the opening night film, “Maiden Trip” a film about a fourteen year old girl who travels around the world in a sailboat.

“Probably 30% give or take of the footage is actually that she shot from her boat alone in the middle of the ocean,” Elias said.

A seemingly impossible feat for a girl of only 14.  Her journey opens the festival with a pseudo-metaphor for just how far women have come in film.  Women like Emily Hagans, the young filmmakers who at only twenty years old has made her fourth film and is taking on the festival circuit.

While this year’s theme might be evolution, the Citizen Jane Film Festival has been an active part of the actual, physical evolution of women in film for the past 6 years.

Visit citizenjanefilm.org to see a full film roster, and purchase discount student tickets or passes for this weekend.
The first film, “Maiden Trip”, shows tonight at the Missouri Theater at 7:30 p.m.
By Madi Mertz