Where is She Now?

Were you a participant in J4J? Did you send a tape or attend a screening?
Please share your memories with us. Select the link that best applies to you:
Participant »
Supporter/Viewer »

Supporters

Alex Juhasz, event programmer at Pitzer College
February 25, 2016

How did you find out about Joanie 4 Jackie and how old were you at the time?
I was in my early 30s, and I don’t actually remember how I heard about it. But I brought Miranda to Pitzer to show the series and talk about it.

What interested you about the project?
As an AIDS video activist and scholar at the time, I was making and thinking about artistic/activist/personal uses of video too. J-4-J’s idea for a distribution platform for women and girl’s work was connected to ideas and actions we were taking as AIDS activists/queers/feminists who were also committed to empowering people/movements through low-end people-made video production and distribution. J-4-J was a kindred project.

At the time you participated in Joanie 4 Jackie did you consider yourself a filmmaker? What was your relationship to making movies?
Yes. I made AIDS activists videos and had also produced a very low budget black queer feature film, The Watermelon Woman. Longer, bigger, but in the same heart-head-community-space of the work collected by J-4-J.

What did you think/feel about the Joanie 4 Jackie at the time? And now, in retrospect?
At the time I thought it was inspiring, smart, useful, and beautiful. Since then, I’ve written about it in relation to my scholarly/activist writing about YouTube: how many of the realizations of YouTube (that regular people or women/girls now have access to production/distribution of media). In that writing, I think J-4-J does some things better than YouTube!

“While at first look these VHS chain letters seem to be a dead or dying form “given the ease, access, and cost of sharing video on the Internet,” I realized that what they will always have over YouTube is the actual, small community that can only be created by the painstaking and careful act of choosing to attach your work to an object that already has a community built onto and within it. The VHS chain letter permits the safety of the slow through the space of the movable box.

I’ve been a fan and supporter of Miranda for a long time, but I hadn’t looked at those tapes from the late 1990s for quite a while. What seemed most critical was how they anticipated YouTube (in particular the vlog): lonely rural girls using video to speak to each other straight from their rooms about oppression they face in their home and hometown.

What I didn’t think about so much at the time was how many of these isolated grrls being empowered by video were actually making their tapes (about rural isolation) while attending the progressive colleges in bigger towns or cities that supported the lo-fi, autobiographical project of Miranda July. Take my student Erica Anderson, whose tape Lucas showed and who made her amazing, minimal, camcorder video about rural life in North Dakota while living in Southern California and taking video art classes at Pitzer College.

While the private stories of the girls are undoubtedly true, Joanie 4 Jackie highlights that a shared, messy, homemade aesthetic that lives across the work in the tapes, even for college coeds who could make “better,” speaks volumes as a carefully constructed formal choice. This is at once another version of the retrofuturism that I’ve written about in relation, for instance, to Be Kind Rewind, while also being an example of why people (women) (like me) choose bad video as a suitable formal register for their process and place. In all cases, a fond feeling about a manufactured authenticity and wistful ethics of community registered within VHS is at play.”

If you attended a screening, can you tell us where and when it was and anything else you remember about it?
Eclectic nature of the connected tapes.
Miranda’s exuberance and intelligence.
The fun of it all.
How serious it was.
It turned my students on, for sure. Spoke to them.

What do you do now – professionally and otherwise? Are you still involved in filmmaking?
Professor of Media Studies. Filmmaker.

Alex MacKenzie, event programmer at The Blinding Light!! Cinema
February 23, 2016

How did you find out about Joanie 4 Jackie and how old were you at the time?
I was programming films at my second microcinema, The Blinding Light!! Cinema in Vancouver (Canada), Olympia and Portland aren’t so far away. There was a regular crossover with folks like Matt McCormick and Vanessa Renwick at the time, people who were touring their film work up and down the coast. I was running shows 6 nights a week so there was a lot of programming going on!

What interested you about the project?
Everything. The concept, the people, the graphics, the open source quality. And especially the films.

At the time you participated in Joanie 4 Jackie did you consider yourself a filmmaker? What was your relationship to making movies?
I was a filmmaker, yes, and a programmer of films for my cinema as well as others.

Do you have any specific anecdotes or memories associated with your movie?
As a curator, I remember there being a rise to prominence of women making films at that time, and that the Chainletter Tapes were a part of that experimental Zeitgeist. I think I first showed them in mid-1999, a programming cycle that also included works by a slew of local women filmmakers including Mary Daniels, Ileana Pietrobruno, Kyath Battie, Claudia Morgado, Julia Kwan, Fumiko Kiyooka, Bo Myers, Camen Pollard, Sarah Butterfield, Seanna McPherson, Yasmin Karim, Ellie Epp, Sook Yin Lee, and Mina Shum. On top of these there were films presented by many out of towners including Maia Cybele Carpenter, Jeannie Liotta, Diane Bonder, Vanessa Renwick, Barbara Sternberg, Su Friedrich and plenty more. More Chainletter Tapes followed later that year and then came Joanie4Jackie and eventually The Swan Tool tour. Good times!

What did you think/feel about the Joanie 4 Jackie at the time? And now, in retrospect?
I would love to see more of this kind of curating and programming, and I think there is a hunger for it, a great antidote to the bland of the mainstream.

If you attended a screening, can you tell us where and when it was and anything else you remember about it?
See above!

What institutions, groups, people, publications and movements were inspiring you at the time of your participation in J4J?
Pike Street Cinema in Seattle, Craig Baldwin’s Other Cinema in SF, Owen O’Toole, Jeanne Liotta, Vanessa Renwick, Mike Hoolboom, Pixelvision, Anne Robertson, Sarah Jacobson, the Kuchars, Bruce Baillie, Arthur Lipsett, the list goes on and on…

What do you do now – professionally and otherwise? Are you still involved in filmmaking?
Still making and showing films.
The archive for the BL!!C is here: www.blindinglight.com
My site: http://www.alexmackenzie.ca

Anything you would like to see on the J4J site?
This is a great resource and a beautiful marker of a time.
Well done, glad to have it webbed.

Annie Maribona, Summer Intern
October 14, 2016

How did you find out about J4J? How old were you?
I was a teenager surfing the internet on my parent’s computer in the family room. The internet was new. I was searching for “woman made movies” “movies made by women”, stuff like that. The search results came back with mostly pornography. It was frustrating and sad. Movies affect the way we see things, the way we see women, the way we see the world. If we are watching movies that are all made by men or made from a man’s point of view, we are constantly being objectified and we’re missing more than half the conversation. I wanted to find other women who were making movies and I wanted desperately to watch movies made by women. Then somehow, I stumbled upon Joanie 4 Jackie and it was like I had found exactly what I was looking for. Someone else had noticed this problem too and done something about it, something awesome. I ordered some chainletters and co-star tapes, and immediately, the love affair began.

Were you involved in J4J? What exactly did you do?
I started making movies in High School. By some crazy strike of luck, my small town public high school in Oregon had a broadcasting department. I took classes and loved it. I loved making movies. I earned a full scholarship to go to a college far away on the east coast called Bard. There I enrolled in the film department and studied mostly experimental film, being mostly interested in movies and art made by women. My professor, Jackie Goss, and I got together to use some grant money to get Miranda to come speak at the university. She did a lecture/presentation/screening and a dance party. We invited the community to participate in Learning to Love You More projects. I asked Miranda if I could intern with her that Summer in Portland and she said yes. I lived in Portland that Summer, in an attic of a huge house in Irvington. I rode my bike to Meier & Frank at 3am to do inventory and then to Miranda’s house to help her with whatever she wanted help with. She put me on a pile of VHS tapes in the corner of her living room. I made 2 chainletter tapes and zines. It was really fun. She said she wanted someone or somewhere like a school to take over Joanie4Jackie and so we figured out how we could get it to work at Bard with the help of Professor Jackie Goss.

Did you attend any screenings? If so, where and when was the screening you attended?
I put on some screenings at Bard College.

What do you remember about it?
It felt really important and political to be watching movies that were made by women and to be encouraging women to make and share their movies.

What did you think/feel about the Joanie 4 Jackie at the time? And now, in retrospect?
I remember feeling like, “I wish this thing existed.” And then it did. It felt like magic. It felt so sad that men were controlling the means of production and then it felt REALLY GOOD and SO IMPORTANT that this thing called Joanie 4 Jackie existed.

In retrospect, I’m sad I never put one of the movies I made on a chainletter. At the time I didn’t think that any of my movies were good enough. I was waiting to make THE FILM that would be good enough to put on there and then of course that never happened. I am glad I got to be involved in other ways and make intros and outros and support other women movie makers, but I wish I would have submitted one of my films.

What did you do then – academically, professionally and otherwise? Were you a filmmaker? And now?
At the time I found Joanie 4 Jackie I was a high school student, then a college student, and always a waitress. After college, I planned to go to LA to work with Miranda on “Me, You & Everyone We Know.” I got a car and drove down from Oregon, making a pit stop in San Francisco to go to LadyFest Bay Area. I fell hard for San Francisco and some girls there and also I smashed my car, so I stayed in SF where I lived for a couple of years before moving back to Portland. In Portland, I started a plus size clothing store for people of all sizes, income levels and genders called Fat Fancy. After 9 years of activist fat fashion, I transferred Fat Fancy to some excellent new owners. Currently, I’m working on my Body Positive Life Coaching business, Dreamboat Coaching. I work with people to improve their lives and their relationships with food and their bodies. I was a filmmaker then and though I’m not officially at this very moment, I always have that skill in my back pocket and the urge to make movies could resurface at anytime.

What institutions, groups, people, publications and movements were inspiring you at this time in your life?
Yoko Ono, Yvonne Rainer, Sadie Benning, Su Friedrich, John Waters, my professors, Leah Gilliam, Jackie Goss and Peggy Ahwesh, riot grrrl, feminism, fat positivity, queer stuff, experimental film and video.

Anything you would like to see on the J4J site?
I think it looks great! Thanks for doing it!
I love how you’re using the old school feel and fonts.

Charlotte Cooper, Participant, "Nobody Ever Told Me..."
January 17, 2017

How did you find out about J4J? How old were you?
I wrote a book and spent the advance on a plane ticket to San Francisco with the intention of meeting the people who produced FaT GiRL zine and attending a queer punk gathering called Dirty Bird. I went to a workshop/screening at Artists Television Access and that’s how I found out about the things Miranda was up to. I was 27.

Were you involved in J4J? What exactly did you do?
I made a very short clip as part of a workshop. We were invited to go into a little room, either by ourselves or with someone else. There was a video camera in there set up. We were instructed to switch it on and respond to the prompt: “Nobody ever told me…” I did this. Spontaneously I decided to take off my top and talk about how nobody ever told me it was ok to feel ok about my body, and that I had to tell myself.

Did you attend any screenings? If so, where and when was the screening you attended?
The video was screened during the event. Right there, so instant.

What do you remember about it?
It was a time in my life when I felt very uncool. I was with the people who didn’t hesitate to think of themselves as cool and I was doing cool things though with great imposter syndrome. I was really scared but felt compelled to participate. I felt as though I was burning up with things I wanted to say and do.

When I reflect on that moment at ATA I can see it was significant in my life’s work of making sense of mine and other’s fat queer bodies. That whole trip was extremely intense, the first time I’d had sex with another woman as well as many other emotional/sensory/political/ art shifts. That moment in that little room is, I think, me trying to synthesize something it has since taken me years to articulate. It was exhilarating!

What did you think/feel about the Joanie 4 Jackie at the time? And now, in retrospect?
I felt quite alienated. Apart from getting a book advance I was living in poverty and had no access to the technology or event mindset that would have enabled me to participate in Big Miss Moviola or Joanie4Jackie stuff. I also felt hesitant about making things for someone else’s project, and still do.

What did you do then – academically, professionally and otherwise? Were you a filmmaker? And now?
I was on the dole. I was recovering from trauma. I had done an MA part time, which I had funded by asking people to sponsor me small amounts of money, like a proto crowdfunder. I published my dissertation with a feminist publishing house who demanded I remove all references to queer, FaT GiRL and trans people. I was not a film-maker but I had made a video as part of my MA.

Now I am a psychotherapist and cultural worker and a lot of other things too. The same as I was in 1996 and also pretty different, less raw.

What institutions, groups, people, publications and movements were inspiring you at this time in your life?
I liked all the things that dykes of my generation liked then. In the UK I was into surviving, getting through the day by watching TV aimed at housewives. Occasionally I would go to a club called Kinky Gerlinky. I was moved by the books that were being published under the High Risk imprint at Serpents’ Tail, and the Semiotext(e) Native Agents series. I was getting involved with zines, Erica Smith’s GirlFrenzy was the first place that ever published something I’d written. Alejandro Jodorowsky’s Santa Sangre was significant to me. The Politics of Disablement by Mike Oliver and, this is going to sound so pretentious, but I’d just read Foucault’s Discipline and Punish and that blew my mind. FaT GiRL, as I mentioned, was foundational at the time. It’s weird answering this question because it took me a long time, probably later than 27, to understand that I was allowed to choose and like things in my own right.

Anything you would like to see on the J4J site?
I’ll take what I’m given but I’d prefer not to see my email address on it.

Janet Pierson, director of "Split Screen" (IFC)
March 4, 2016

How did you find out about Joanie 4 Jackie and how old were you at the time?
Miranda sent a note about it, to our Split Screen office. Split Screen was a magazine format cable tv series. She wondered if we might be interested in it. My husband handed it to me saying, “This sounds like your kind of thing.” I also heard about it from the curator Ralph McKay.

What interested you about the project?
I loved the concept of giving voice to the voiceless and building a community around creative work.

At the time you participated in Joanie 4 Jackie did you consider yourself a filmmaker? What was your relationship to making movies?
It’s funny, I didn’t consider myself a filmmaker – still don’t, but my interest in Joanie 4 Jackie led me to direct a digital video segment about it and Miranda for Split Screen. So in effect, my interest in Joanie 4 Jackie led to me creating a short documentary piece.

Do you have any specific anecdotes or memories associated with your movie?
Loved the weekend in Portland interviewing Miranda. Remember working w/ index cards on the floor to make a paper cut of the piece before my time w/ the actual editor.

What did you think/feel about the Joanie 4 Jackie at the time? And now, in retrospect?
I loved Miranda’s poster project that was related, if you were going to make a movie, what would that be? I don’t recall the exact words but remember them in her voice. I love being a tiny link in the chain of Miranda July’s creative evolution.

If you attended a screening, can you tell us where and when it was and anything else you remember about it?
I didn’t attend a screening of Joanie 4 Jackie but did attend a screening of the Best of Split Screen at Lincoln Center in NY, which included my piece on Joanie 4 Jackie. I was the Executive Producer of the show, which was about and by filmmakers. I was hands on creatively but having directed that piece that I was proud of, I felt like I’d finally earned my place at the table in a different way.

What institutions, groups, people, publications and movements were inspiring you at the time of your participation in J4J?
Split Screen. The whole independent film movement. Sundance Film Festival. SXSW FIlm Festival and Conference.

What do you do now – professionally and otherwise? Are you still involved in filmmaking?
I’m the Head of SXSW Film Festival and Conference. So yes, I am still involved in filmmaking, specifically, in helping to curate other filmmakers. I give them a platform the same way Joanie 4 Jackie did, kinda.

Anything you would like to see on the J4J site?
I’d love to see reference to my Split Screen piece. I can’t remember if I supplied Miranda w/ a master tape or not. I might be able to help more with that again soon. Or least it would be nice to link to a reference to it. It might be finally available publicly soon.

Julia Bryan-Wilson, helper/supporter/friend/co-manager of sorts for a spell
March 21, 2013

How did you find out about Joanie 4 Jackie and how old were you at the time?
I found out about J4J when I met Miranda at a video show I was co-curating with my friend Jon Raymond at the Candyass Record warehouse in 1995. Miranda was there to spread the word about what was then called Big Miss Moviola. We were both 22 years old and living in Portland, Oregon. We became friends through our shared passions: feminism, image-making, politics, class and race critiques, poundcake with vanilla ice cream, and thrift-store fashion. I helped out with J4J until about 1997– the email address on some of those early posters is my email address, because I had a day job with a computer.

What interested you about the project?
Everything about this project was compelling to me, especially its inventive rethinking about how art might circulate, and about how that circulation might feed into larger conversations about gendered access, control, and power. It was so much more than an alternative video distribution system–though it was that, too–it was also a way to create an audience, to summon together communities of female makers and watchers.

At the time you participated in Joanie 4 Jackie did you consider yourself a filmmaker? What was your relationship to making movies?
Sort of yes and sort of no. I had made many short videos with friends in my public arts high school and beyond, but I never took myself very seriously in that regard; I was much more invested in being a writer. Increasingly I stopped identifying as an artist as I saw myself more as an advocate; I was starting to write art criticism and curate small shows, and at the time those felt like quite distinct positions. Today I might understand things more flexibly, but c. 1995-1997 my energy was focused on writing and organizing. But I was interested intellectually in what seemed to me to be the critically important questions raised by film and independent video, not least feminist theorizations of the gaze and the activist potential of HIV/AIDS video. I had studied queer film and video in college (under the guidance of faculty like Patricia White and Alex Juhasz), and I was excited to put theory into practice, so to speak, in my work with J4J and in my discussions with Miranda.

Do you have any specific anecdotes or memories associated with the project?
Oh so very many! Miranda and I spent so many hours talking about the videos that came in (slowly at first, and then in great inspiring rushes), and trying to scheme getting funding to sustain or even expand the project. I have very vivid memories of accompanying Miranda to a screening at a high school in Vancouver, Washington and having breakfast cereal as the official afternoon snack, which made perfect sense at the time.

What did you think/feel about the Joanie 4 Jackie at the time? And now, in retrospect?
At the time, J4J was my best friend’s totally amazing art project that had the potential to be a kind of activist tool. It felt very natural for me to participate in it when I lived in Portland, since it resonated with so many things I was already interested in. In retrospect I can see that J4J also played a crucial role in my own formation as a feminist scholar concerned with alternative modes of artistic production and distribution.

If you attended a screening, can you tell us where and when it was and anything else you remember about it?
I attended many screenings, in New York at the Clit Club (am I right that it was there?), in Olympia, WA, in Portland, and other places. Here my memory gets a little vague but I recall that Miranda would always make a participatory video “Nobody Every Told Me…”, in which audience members would complete that phrase, and then their confessions were shown as part of the screening. People consistently said such surprising and raw and moving things.

What institutions, groups, people, publications and movements were inspiring you at the time of your participation in J4J?
New queer cinema and HIV/AIDS documentaries was hugely inspiring to me, as were feminist artists like Ida Applebroog and Coco Fusco. I read a lot of novels by people such as Clarice Lispector which I’d check out from the Portland public library and carry home on the bus in huge tote bags. I was much less focused on the so-called riot grrrl scene than some others my age in Portland, but I did spend some time watching music performed by friends who were in bands.

What do you do now – professionally and otherwise? Are you still involved in filmmaking?
I am an associate professor of modern and contemporary art at the University of California, Berkeley. I still think about questions of feminist film and video— and independent practices and scrappy do-it-yourself projects— in my teaching and research.

Margaux Williamson, viewer
May 1, 2013

Where and when was the screening you attended?
I heard about JOANIE 4 JACKIE when I went to see Miranda July talk about her work at a small screening room in Toronto called Cinecycle. I bought a VHS tape at the merch table after the event.

What do you remember about it?
At this event – the lights went out.

What did you think/feel about the Joanie 4 Jackie at the time? And now, in retrospect?
I loved the idea. It was simple and felt exciting. I always imagined there must be a lot of women making videos and was hungry to see what people were doing. Video is such an accessible medium that can be somewhat artificially subjected (by institutions and by artists themselves) to such controlled venues for distribution. Especially when I first heard of JOANIE 4 JACKIE, you mostly just saw things at specific screenings in your specific city. It could feel sparse and random. Nothing was on the internet yet. Even though I just watched one tape and didn’t send anything in, I became aware and felt in some way connected to part of something promising and bigger, that wanted to move and be seen and wanted a new kind of audience.

What did you do then – professionally and otherwise? Were you a filmmaker? And now?
I was an artist – selling works as a painter. I’ve since made a movie.

What institutions, groups, people, publications and movements were inspiring you at this time in your life?
At that time, people I met were probably more interesting to me than institutions, groups and publications. I was interested in seeing a new kind of art that had a freedom – not too caught up in the boundaries, rules and histories of the established, academic art venues. I wanted to see what people made when they imagined an audience of curious, enthusiastic people rather than imagining an audience from an institution.

Anything you would like to see on the J4J site?
I would still like to see what people are doing. It’s great that it’s so much easier now to share. There was something exciting about the “promise” of movies you weren’t necessarily seeing but becoming aware of on Joanie for Jackie – without seeing everything, they could suit what your mind needed to imagine. But the quickness in the way things can happen now if a project like JOANIE 4 JACKIE was on-line – for instance, finding the people that you are most specifically interested in, or seeing how people are approaching what you’re also interested in – seems like it could speed up other great promising things.

Pablo de Ocampo, fan
July 26, 2016

How did you find out about Joanie 4 Jackie and how old were you at the time?
I was living in Portland for a couple months in early 1996 and I think I learned about it through flyers at shows and just word of mouth from people around town. I was 19 at the time and into music so I was going to shows whenever I could. I remember seeing Miranda play shows a couple times that year at some long gone venues: the Paris Theatre downtown and the Rexall Rose on Alberta. Also, I was doing at internship at the Northwest Film Center. I don’t remember who or what the context was, but I think someone there mentioned it to me as well.

What interested you about the project?
I grew up reading zines and being around the music scene, mostly as a listener/reader, but also made a few random zines here and there and had a not very serious art/noise band in high school. These brief activities aside, I wasn’t really a musician or a writer. At the time I first saw Miranda perform and learned about the chain letter tapes, I made art—films and sculpture mostly. So when I encountered people in the punk scene who had these parallel interests in art/film it was exciting for me.

At the time you participated in Joanie 4 Jackie did you consider yourself a filmmaker? What was your relationship to making movies?
I was only ever a fan and supporter of Joanie 4 Jackie. But back in the mid/late 90s, yes, I did consider myself a filmmaker.

What did you think/feel about the Joanie 4 Jackie at the time? And now, in retrospect?
I grew up in a very feminist aware punk scene in high school. Or rather, maybe not a scene, as it would be really misleading to characterize the punk scene in Phoenix in the early 90s as feminist, but I guess I was just in a group of friends that were committed to those ideas. So, this coupled with my interest in zines and in experimental film and video art led to my being really in awe of what the chain letter tapes were doing at the time. It was really the culmination of so many of my interests in a way that I had never seen before. Not being a woman or female identified, I didn’t participate as a maker but I did really champion of it and would tell everyone about it. I don’t think about this project all time, but when it does come up, I’m still really struck with how incredible it was. I don’t think I ever saw all the tapes, but even when I’ve scanned back and looked at the list of people included, particularly in those tapes from the 90s, I’m always amazed at how many of those people I came to know later in life.

What institutions, groups, people, publications and movements were inspiring you at the time of your participation in J4J?
Music in general, but especially a lot of things happening in the Pacific Northwest not exclusively what was going on with the Riot Grrrl scene. Art and film: Yoko Ono, Valie Export, Eva Hesse, Trinh Minh-Ha, Yvonne Rainer, Chris Marker and Louise Bourgois. Zines like Slant/Slander, Alien, Doris, Bamboo Girl, Dreamwhip, Cometbus. Books and writing: Dorothy Allison, Kathy Acker, Jorge Luis Borges.

What do you do now – professionally and otherwise? Are you still involved in filmmaking?
I don’t make films or other things anymore but have remained involved in film and art since that time, both personally just through my interests as well as professionally for at least fifteen years. That has involved working at a zine library and resource center, working at a film festival, and now working as a curator at a multi-disciplinary artist run centre in Vancouver, Canada. I still own a Bolex camera and have a box full of edited and unedited films in my closet.

Sarah Cook, curator of “Broadcast Yourself: Artists’ interventions into television”
June 14, 2016

How did you find out about Joanie 4 Jackie and how old were you at the time?
I recall an email from Miranda asking for advice about a legal letter she had received concerning her use of the term Moviola, when the project was called Big Miss Moviola; at the time what is now FACT in Liverpool was also still referred to as Moviola – it started in 1985 as Merseyside Moviola launched by Josie Barnard and Lisa Haskel, and became FACT in 1997.

What do you do now – professionally and otherwise? Are you still involved in filmmaking?
I am a curator of media art and other interdisciplinary art activities. I saw the Joanie 4 Jackie archive displayed first at Yerba Buena though was aware of the project before then (I studied at Bard where the J4J archive was located). I included the project in the exhibition ‘Broadcast Yourself: Artists’ interventions into television’ which I co-curated for the AV Festival in Newcastle and Cornerhouse in Manchester in 2008. At the time I was researching how artists had created platforms for self-broadcasting, before the YouTube age we live in now. J4J remains a key piece of this history. In 2008 it was unclear how the archive was to be looked after long-term and I felt that including the work in the exhibition – through documentation of all of the posters of every edition of the tapes, and a screening copy of the co-star tape – was important to keep visibility of the project internationally, and to introduce it others who didn’t know of it.

Anything you would like to see on the J4J site?
An anotated history!

Shauna McGarry, director of "Joanie 4 Jackie: A Quick Overview"; J4J retrospective curator/assistant for "The Way That We Rhyme" at YBCA
May 15, 2013

How did you find out about Joanie 4 Jackie and how old were you at the time?
When I was 18, in 2001, I went to film school at New York University. While I was, for the most part, inspired by my curriculum, I felt a lack of women made films and female protagonists. I would eventually meet other students who shared similar frustrations and hopes and we made some cool and always sort of awful student films together but as a freshman, J4J was a big “aha!” discovery. I would conduct these very rudimentary internet searches with search-words like “woman”, “filmmaker”, “independent”, “punk”, “riot,” etc. and it didn’t take long for Joanie4Jackie to pop up because it was truly one of the only things out there filling the void. Miranda’s call to action blew my mind. I was so excited she was out there — that the chainletters were out there — and by proxy, all these other women were out there making things!

What interested you about the project?
At 18, in my school’s computer lab, I was drawn to J4J more as an idea and a philosophy to live by. Miranda’s language, her beautiful rally cries, the community she had fostered, and the DIY willfulness of it all comforted me. When I was a little older, and started working with Miranda, and was tasked to archive and document the project, I came to appreciate it on a much bigger level. Joanie for Jackie defined a moment in time before the internet took over when an access-way to art made on the margins had to be created and shared person to person. Like zines, the chainletter tapes were this physical proof of a network and community just finding itself and solidifying. And J4J dared to suggest that as filmmakers, women didn’t need to rely on the mainstream system that hadn’t warmly welcomed us for so long. We could exist outside of it. We could shift the power to us. Also, the films themselves were always interesting, bold, and from so many different voices. The work itself was really the most interesting.

At the time you participated in Joanie 4 Jackie did you consider yourself a filmmaker? What was your relationship to making movies?
Yes. I was just starting to make films, and now, 12 years later, I’d still consider myself a beginner in many ways. I was and am more of a writer than a shooter. But going through all these pages and remembering the project is getting me inspired to go make something right now!

Do you have any specific anecdotes or memories associated with the project?
My favorite memory is erecting the retrospective of the project at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. It was so rewarding to get to share the films and ephemera anew with a different generation and a larger group of art lovers. I also will never forget watching sooo many hours of lady-made cinema in my dark little cave of a studio by myself and wishing so much I could time travel and be there when each film was made and meet the filmmakers responsible for so much inventiveness.

I also cherish getting to discuss the history and intent of the project with Miranda while we were preparing the exhibit and making the documentary. She wanted so much for this project and for the women involved and for her own artistic journey. Her passion and vision continue to inspire me.

What did you think/feel about the Joanie 4 Jackie at the time? And now, in retrospect?
I think at the time, J4J was absolutely necessary and a revolutionary, loving, and positive way to unify what felt like a very disparate group of artists (from all over the USA) who needed recognition, support and community.

It’s hard to know whether something like J4J is still needed now. We all have so much more access to distribution, so many more ways to find each other. I know even with everything the internet has to offer, that I still feel isolated sometimes as a woman filmmaker and still yearn to find others like me and build a stronger community of support. I work in Hollywood, and I don’t have an answer anymore, or I have a very complicated, personal answer, as to whether I think platforms like J4J, where women artists are unified as something separate from our male counterparts, are what we need anymore. I do feel even within the system, where women are still a minority, that gender power dynamics are shifting, equalizing, though slowly. I wish they would speed up. I so admire those independent and experimental filmmakers who work outside the system rather than bend or change to fit into its very rigid and often close-minded ideas of art and entertainment. I am working professionally from within that mainstream trying to broaden its scope from the inside and… it’s hard. Sometimes, I hope we are moving toward a time where we are no longer classified by our gender because while it can gather us and bolster our efforts, it can also be manipulated as a means to limit us. And at the same time, I appreciate the differences in tone and language and message in art made by women and I think such differences should be valued and discussed and encouraged.

What institutions, groups, people, publications and movements were inspiring you at the time of your participation in J4J?
In college — Sleater Kinney, le Tigre, Elisabeth Subrin, my gender studies classes, this one cinema studies teacher I had who showed us a lot of sexploitation movies and films with radical female characters from the 60s. Sunita Prasad and Sharon Mashihi who were the ones I found at film school who made me feel less alone.

Working on the YBCA show — All the filmmakers completely inspired me and many continue to do so. It’s such a crazy roster of talent and vision. And of course, Miranda July. The Echo Park Film Center which is the closest thing to the J4J spirit of community-building in filmmaking that I’ve been a part of while living in LA.

What do you do now – professionally and otherwise? Are you still involved in filmmaking?
I’m a comedy writer on a sitcom. I perform stories. I work as a non-profit administrator on my free time. I need to make more movies. I’m going to put some film in my super 8 right now.

Anything you would like to see on the J4J site?
A community board and calendar in the spirit of the original project, advertising events, web projects, screenings, filmmakers we should know about, films, and other art so that we can continue to network with each other and learn from each other.

Vanessa Haroutunian, Events & Archive Organizer at Bard, 2009-2013
October 13, 2016

How did you find out about Joanie 4 Jackie and how old were you at the time?
I was a student at Bard from 2006-2009 and was majoring in Film Production. My advisor Ed Halter told me about this amazing archive and project that lived at Bard, but was no longer overseen by anyone there at the time. I was 21 years old and immediately began digging through boxes of archive materials that had been moved into a storage closet at the time. I found myself lost in an archive trying to piece together the story of a project during a moment of hiatus. Watching endless VHS tapes, reading old letter, looking through old zines, my journey began.

What interested you about the project?
I was perplexed how such a huge history of lady made experimental film had been momentarily ignored. I fell in love with video works I found on the Chainletter tapes like Sarah Kennedy’s DIRTY FINGERNAILS, K8 Hardy’s THIS RED ENVELOPE, Wynne Greenwood’s 123 THIS IS ME and everything Goddess Kring. The aesthetic was beautiful, that DIY, riot grrl, 90s thing that was no longer present in my mid-2000s day to day. And everything was made by WOMEN! In a male dominated field at a white male dominated school, I was in heaven.

At the time you participated in Joanie 4 Jackie did you consider yourself a filmmaker? What was your relationship to making movies?
Yes. I was just becoming a filmmaker, making experimental video and film works myself. I had come to college hoping to major in photography or music. I didn’t really know you could major in film. My first year at Bard I took an intro to experimental film history course and for the first time, realized I could make movies that weren’t 90 minutes with actors and a script. Anything could be considered a film! J4J showed me how the women before me did this and I was truly inspired.

Do you have any specific anecdotes or memories associated with your movie?
In 2008, I started my senior project, which turned out to be a documentary about the history and “where is it now” look at Joanie 4 Jackie. By the time I graduated, I had finished PURE&MAGICALPUSSYPOWER: A DOCUMENTARY ON JOANIE4JACKIE. During the shooting of interviews for the doc, I travelled to the West Coast to find the likes of Miranda July, Sarah Kennedy, Myra Paci and Vanessa Renwick. Amongst many wonderful and difficult memories, one of the best was going to Annie Mirabona’s clothing store FAT FANCY. There she showed me her box of old VHS tapes of the Chainletters. One of the most anecdotal memories I have of the shoot is when I was interviewing Miranda at her house in L.A., this was the first time we had ever met in real life. We began the interview, but her dog was antsy and kept barking, so we decided to take a break and play with the dog for a little bit to calm her down. Out in the backyard, Miranda threw the ball for the dog a few times, then the dog finally brought me the ball. I nervously threw it, forgetting the killer arm I was graced with as a softball champion adolescent, and threw it directly over the back fence and out of the yard. That game ended then and there.

What did you think/feel about the Joanie 4 Jackie at the time? And now, in retrospect?
At the time I was first discovering J4J I was overwhelmed with excitement and curiosity. Making the documentary was a challenge, but a fully worthwhile one. My movie was very well received and I felt great. Over my years working at Bard after graduating I restarted a tutorial for students to work with the archive and start a new screening and exhibition program at Bard to showcase the past J4J work. These screenings and events, working with the students was amazing. A new life and a new generation of J4Jers were born. The time working with the archive was wonderful, but at times frustrating. Lots of work by lots of people over two decades makes for lots of differences in opinions. Too many cooks in the kitchen maybe. Still, J4J holds a dear place in my heart and always will.

If you attended a screening, can you tell us where and when it was and anything else you remember about it?
I attended and organized all the screenings and events held at Bard between 2009 and 2013.

What institutions, groups, people, publications and movements were inspiring you at the time of your participation in J4J?
Lucas Hilderbrand as a very inspiring person to me while I was researching as a student. He had, at the time, made the most in depth and succinct piece of writing about J4J. I still haven’t found anyone who has published something as informative and accurate as his piece. He made me want to learn everything and anything that had to do with the project.

What do you do now – professionally and otherwise? Are you still involved in filmmaking?
I am currently working in New York City as a filmmaker, video artist and producer. I work with the filmmaker Ira Sachs and run a non-profit organization that supports queer artists across generations and disciplines alongside him. In the past three years, since moving to NYC, I have worked in various production and producing roles on Ira Sachs’s films Love is Strange (2014) and Little Men (2016), Natalia Leite and Alexandra Roxo’s web series Be Here Nowish (2016) and Katherine Bernard’s short film CRUSH (2016).

Next: Joanie 4 Jackie 4Ever »