Celebrating women in film at CAMP

By Janice Rhoshalle Littlejohn, JAWS member

JAWS is bringing women — and their stories — to the big screen at our Conference and Mentoring Project (CAMP) this year.

With Hollywood just over the mountains and in the midst of the playground of the stars at La Quinta Resort and Club near Palm Springs, what better time to spotlight the remarkable women who make the documentaries and films that have such an impact on our view of the world?

On Saturday, Nov. 1, we will be showing Mary Dore’s “She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry” and Carol Bash’s “Mary Lou Williams: The Lady Who Swings The Band.” Check out the profiles of these filmmakers on our CAMP schedule.

On Sunday, Nov. 2, we will feature Mary Trunk’s “Lost In Living” and Katrina Dunn’s “Kumpania Flamenco: Los Angeles” (Kumpania, YouTube video trailer, and a Flamenco flash mob). You can read more about them on the CAMP schedule here.

In addition, we have two terrific panels to talk about the role of women in film.

The first will explore the breadth of telling women’s stories in documentaries, providing an overview of the rewards and challenges for journalists in the documentary arena: Are there differences in methodology as the filmmaker and the journalist? Does the medium matter (broadcast, cable, public television, film or the Internet)? What do journalists need to know before delving into the documentary world?

Mary Trunk, producer-director, “Lost In Living”; Carol Bash, producer-director, “Mary Lou Williams: The Lady Who Swings The Band”; Katina Alexander Dunn, producer-director of “Kumpania”; and Mary Dore, director of “She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry,” will be led in a discussion by journalist Janice Rhoshalle Littlejohn, who is working on her own film, “But Can She Play.”

JAWS appreciates the support of City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism for this panel.

The second panel deals with the number of women in film making roles. Women’s perspectives in the big Hollywood productions might not be easy to spot but the stories told by the movies we watch are affected by every job behind the camera: screenwriters, cinematographers, producers and directors. How many women are working behind the camera, and in what capacity? What does it mean when there’s a woman producer or director behind a film? What happens when film sets are mostly male and how does that affect what stories we watch on the big screen?

Led by Rachel Larris of the Women’s Media Center, this panel features Stacy Smith, an associate professor at University of California, Santa Barbara, and the director of a research-driven initiative at USC Annenberg on Media, Diversity, and Social Change, and Mary Milliken, entertainment editor for Reuters. They will discuss the current status of the filmmaking industry, what that means for women — both those behind and in front of the camera and those watching it on the big screen — and whether there’s any indication the situation is changing.

There’s lots more on the schedule for this year’s CAMP including panels on social justice, changing journalism ethics and online harassment. We hope to see you then!