Where is She Now?

Were you a participant in J4J? Did you send a tape or attend a screening?
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Chainletter Filmmakers:

The Cherry Cherry Chainletter

Amey (Amy) Kazymerchyk, Clouds (also Finding the Truth in Difficult Times on Who Stole My Chainletter?)
November 29, 2016

How did you find out about Joanie 4 Jackie and how old were you at the time?
I was 15 at the time. I don’t recall how I found out about Joanie 4 Jackie. I made the film I submitted, called Clouds, at the Gulf Islands Film and Television School (G.I.F.T.S), which was a summer film camp for teenagers, run out of an old logging camp on Galiano Island, BC, Canada. It was taught by practicing experimental filmmakers, many of whom were women, feminists and queer. The structure of the camp was that small groups of 3-5 youth would make a film together from scratch over one week. The film would be scripted, shot and edited, with each member of the group sharing responsibilities and contributing to other group’s films at the same time. Maybe there was about 20 youth there every week. It’s quite likely that one of the filmmaker mentors– Heather Frise, Kenna Fair, Krista Tupper, Pia Massie or Bo Myers– told me about J4J. It’s also likely that I read about it in a magazine.

What interested you about the project?
I was a really lonely, isolated teenager at the time. I hung out in the art room in my high school a lot. A guidance counsellor had received a promotional package in the mail for G.I.F.T.S, which hadn’t opened yet, and gave me a flier. He thought it might be something that I would be interested in. The experience was really meaningful to me. And meeting the women that mentored the program was really transformative for me. I’d never met women like them before. It gave me a huge amount of confidence and excitement about my future. I suppose in sending my film to J4J, I was hoping to continue being around incredibly strong, independent, wild women. I looked up to the women that participated in the project, as the kind of woman and artist that I wanted to be when I got older.

At the time you participated in Joanie 4 Jackie did you consider yourself a filmmaker? What was your relationship to making movies?
At 15, I absolutely considered myself a filmmaker. I felt such an easy confidence in calling myself that. I felt brave and shameless about making work. I was excited about ideas, opportunities, supporting my friends, and creating opportunities for other young artists to make work. At the beginning I didn’t question any of my desires or intentions. After high school I started working with a number of projects that more formally supported youth to make films, such as the Access to Media Education Society, which emerged from G.I.F.T.S and then became independent from it. It is an organization, that is now 20 years old, that supports marginalized youth to tell their own stories. Some of the early programs, which were really phenomenal including supporting street youth, queer youth, first nations youth, and HIV+ youth. Then I worked in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside neighbourhood with a project called PROJECTIONS, which was a film and video mentorship and training project for Street Involved Youth, and later with VIVO Media Arts Centre. At the same time I was volunteering at the Blinding Light Cinema, and contributing to the film community in different ways. I did continue to make my own work, but as I put more energy into supporting other people to make their own work, my focus and confidence dissipated.

Do you have any specific anecdotes or memories associated with your movie?
I don’t recall that many things about it. I recall that we were thinking about the structure of Alice and Wonderland and how the narrative links very disparate scenes. We thought this would be a supportive way to give everyone on our team an opportunity to script a scene. I remember that the woman who was the central actor was Czech. We directed her to ‘speak gibberish’…. and actually I think she spoke Czech. I’ve never watched it with anyone who speaks Czech, so I’m not sure what she’s saying, but I do think it is discernible.

What did you think/feel about the Joanie 4 Jackie at the time? And now, in retrospect?
I don’t really recall, though I remember seeing a screening and performance of Miranda July’s at the Blinding Light maybe between 1998-2002. It had something about swans in the title. I remember really looking up to her and admiring her work. Maybe the Blinding Light even hosted a screening of some of the chain letter tapes. I just had the feeling that the world that those filmmakers were participating in was a world that I wanted to be a part of. In retrospect I have a lot of regrets about a kind of fall from grace I had as a filmmaker – a kind of loss of confidence or self-assuredness that halted me from continuing to make films. I now work as a curator and feel strongly about the supportive role I play in artists’ life, however looking back, as this survey is requesting me to do, I feel nostalgic for a particular sense of hope and potential I felt as an artist myself.

If you attended a screening, can you tell us where and when it was and anything else you remember about it?
In my late twenties I became the Events and Exhibitions Coordinator at VIVO Media Arts Centre, and I initiated a monthly screening program of artists’ moving images at The Cinematheque in Vancouver, BC, Canada called DIM Cinema. In 2008, when the exhibition WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution was presented at the Vancouver Art Gallery, a call was put out to all of the art centres to present their own parallel programming. I presented a retrospective screening of J4J at DIM Cinema. We also made a compilation DVD called Two Sisters, which is a reference to two mountain peaks that are visible from the city of Vancouver. It was composed like a chain letter and was comprised of local female artists’ films and videos. We handed it out at the screening. In my role at VIVO, I worked with a group of women to put on an exhibition, a set of workshops, and a dance party, through which we invited young artists to remake artworks from the WACK Show! An artist from Montreal named Onya Hogan Finley facilitated the production of artworks that were remakes of WACK! works made out of cardboard called The Dinner Party. Anyway, these two projects were really important to me at the time, because during the WACK! symposium there was a blowout between the generation of artists that were exhibited in the show and younger artists. A panel of senior feminist artists declared that feminism died after 1983, the year that the exhibition closes around. Many younger feminist artists felt frustrated with the lack of foresight and openness to how forms of organizing, artistic production, and community building had shifted generationally. I was proud to present a screening of J4J because It was an expression of a very formative kind of artistic feminism for me.

What do you do now – professionally and otherwise? Are you still involved in filmmaking?
I programmed the Signal and Noise Media Arts Festival at VIVO from 2008-2010, and was the Events and Exhibitions Coordinator there from 2010-2013. I programmed DIM Cinema for six years and then passed it on to a new programmer. In 2013 I became the curator of the Audain Gallery at Simon Fraser University, also in Vancouver, BC, Canada. I am still very committed to presenting moving image practices and supporting the work of feminist moving image artists, including Ursula Mayer, Lili Reynaud-Dewar, Althea Thauberger, Hito Steyerl and Martine Syms. I contribute to the production of films by other artists, but I wouldn’t call myself a filmmaker anymore.

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Clarity Miller, T.V. Casualty
January 30, 2017

How did you find out about Joanie 4 Jackie and how old were you at the time?
I was/am a huge fan of Miranda July, had seen a lot of her performance art when I was in high school and college. So I jumped at the opportunity to be part of one of her projects and to be among like minded women filmmakers. I was 20 at the time my chain letter came out.

At the time you participated in Joanie 4 Jackie did you consider yourself a filmmaker? What was your relationship to making movies?
I considered myself a filmmaker and had been making movies since age 15. I took a number of film and photography classes at the Evergreen State College and graduated in 2000.

Do you have any specific anecdotes or memories associated with your movie?
We dumped a broken t.v. into a lake while filming, and then had to fish it out so we weren’t littering. However, it had filled with water and was incredibly heavy. We eventually got it out, but it was a pretty hilarious process.

What did you think/feel about the Joanie 4 Jackie at the time? And now, in retrospect?
I think J4J was revolutionary and ahead of its time. I hope the chain letters and screenings encouraged other women and girls to go home and pick up video cameras.

If you attended a screening, can you tell us where and when it was and anything else you remember about it?
I attended a screening in Portland but my memory of it is fairly fuzzy.

What institutions, groups, people, publications and movements were inspiring you at the time of your participation in J4J?
I was inspired by music videos, magazines like Dazed and Confused, Sadie Benning, Spike Jonze, Ladyfest, Yo Yo a Go Go, and the Olympia Film Festival. And probably a thousand more.

What do you do now – professionally and otherwise? Are you still involved in filmmaking?
I am still an artist but am not making films at this time. I’m raising two kids and living on an island in western Washington, where I’m from. I own a 100 year old house that I’m fixing up. My job is an Etsy shop: friendsofsocktopus.etsy.com. I also make embroidered fine art pieces.

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Dulcie Clarkson, How the Miracle of Masturbation Saved Me From Becoming a Teenage Space Alien (also How The Miracle of Masturbation Saved Me From Becoming a Teenage Space Alien on Joanie 4 Jackie 4Ever and A Wild Horse Rider on U-Matic Chainletter)
November 5, 2016

How did you find out about Joanie 4 Jackie and how old were you at the time?

My first film, “A Fucker, A Fighter, A Wild Horse Rider” was in the U-matic Chainletter in ’97, and I imagine I had heard about the Chainletter either because I was a fan of Tammy Rae Carland, whose films had been in the first two Chainletters, or because Miranda had been in and out of Olympia where I had been living. I was 24 then and had just graduated from College, left Olympia and moved back to my small town where I was teaching drama, film, and feminist history at two different private schools, and using my students to help me shoot my 2nd movie.

What interested you about the project?
I really related to having an almost secret media channel between girls, like a diary trade. It felt necessary to have a place where women felt safe to use their own unique voices to tell stories to each other, stories that might not meet certain critical standards, but for that reason would be more raw and more real. I had been watching girls do the same thing in the music scene with the Riot Grrrl movement and it seemed thrilling that women in film could have a similar space. Also I just love the “Message in a Bottle” aspect of the Chainletter where fate takes your film and sends it off on an unknown journey to meet strangers.

At the time you participated in Joanie 4 Jackie did you consider yourself a filmmaker? What was your relationship to making movies?
Around the time that my movies were traveling around on the Chainletter, they also won in the Black Maria Film Fest so they were playing places like RISD and the Smithsonian, and I was feeling like a filmmaker, though I was also starting to wonder how I would move forward without moving to New York or LA. It was sort of the moment that I was considering the juncture between Artist and Professional, feeling like I needed to grow up, but unsure how I would accomplish that without selling out. I ended up deciding to just try writing a screenplay because I didn’t want to leave the country, and I didn’t want to go into a local Cable TV job. Joanie 4 Jackie gave me the feeling that my artist self was still banging around out in the world, whispering secret stories, while I existed in a small town America reality.

Do you have any specific anecdotes or memories associated with your movie?
I had a great time shooting my movie because I got to hang out with all these wonderful kids that I had grown up with. It was a little like running a Summer camp, as I ended up having to cook for them and mediate some dramas. I remember I borrowed a van and took a bunch of punk rock kids to the city to shoot and they started panhandling between shots. I worried I was in over my head a few times.On one really crucial day, a day with a lot of dialog, I noticed that my sound guy was being really flakey and when I asked him what was going on he admitted that he and my ‘camera assistant’ had taken mushrooms. It was definitely challenging having an all teenage crew but my goal was to have the shoot be as real a part of the experience as the final movie.

What did you think/feel about the Joanie 4 Jackie at the time? And now, in retrospect?
At the time I thought it was an underground video zine to be shared among young women. I feel the same now, but I’m surprised that it’s still circulating in the culture.

What institutions, groups, people, publications and movements were inspiring you at the time of your participation in J4J?
My Olympia housemates, Wendy Jo Carlton, at the time a filmmaker and currently the Director of the webseries Easy Abby, and Kirsten Schaffer, who was a young firebrand and is now the Executive Director of Women in Film in Los Angeles; Riot Grrrl and all the female bands that grew out of Olympia; my friends’ zines like Pinto, and Shark Fear/Shark Awareness, Bikini Kill, and many others; Bust magazine; Female Directors Jane Campion, Allison Anders, Julie Dash; Alt Newspaper ‘In These Times’; The Capitol Theater in Olympia; Evergreen College; My friends from the Young Communist League of America; The fabulous artists who raised me: Kate Brown, Marilyn Gendron, Robin Parson, Dina Tagliabue and Frankie Benoit and my Mom who is an bad-ass environmental activist and artist.

What do you do now – professionally and otherwise? Are you still involved in filmmaking?
I manage an 800 acre Ranch in the Rocky Mountains with my husband. I’m raising two boys, often homeschooling them. I’m still involved with various media and eco activism projects. I just co-produced a music video/short film for musician Neil Young.

Anything you would like to see on the J4J site?
Links to online venues for young feminist artist?

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Sue Wrbican, Back Roof
January 29, 2017

How did you find out about Joanie 4 Jackie and how old were you at the time?
I barely remember how I found out about it. Perhaps it was in Afterimage? I was 42 and “Back Roof” was my first film.

What interested you about the project?
I liked the idea of receiving a tape with videos made exclusively by women.

At the time you participated in Joanie 4 Jackie did you consider yourself a filmmaker? What was your relationship to making movies?
No, I considered myself primarily a photographer. Home movies were a part of family experience in the 1960s and my father made many of our family which I used in Back Roof. At the time I made this film I’d just learned an Avid digital system which permitted me to make something on a small budget. I now identify as an artist employing a variety of methods as needed.

Do you have any specific anecdotes or memories associated with your movie?
The film is about my difficult relationship with my father. It provided a way to reconnect with his home movies 12 years after he died (in 1984) and to reconfigure the feelings represented in those movies. I’d always felt powerless in my relationship with my father and making this film was a way to take that power by restructuring my memories of him. I could have been harsh towards him; it was a continual process of deciding not to do this as I moved through the process of making the film. This allowed me to go forward without the intensity of the wounds he had inflicted on me.

For me, this film represented the disruption of progress we undergo as women: that moment when our minds and experiences have developed enough to realize that we are not equal on the playing field. It is the recognition that society thwarts women’s dreams and possibilities, forcing us to say goodbye to what we thought might be the path to life’s satisfactions and successes. I think we all react to this personal realization through many different ways, certainly one of which is anger. And then of course, we get on with it.

I also included recollections of my grandparents as immigrants, specifically with losing their language upon arrival in a new place. I wanted to address the impact language has on one’s abilities to reconcile with a new reality. My family came to the United States from Slovakia in search of a better life. Here, they worked in mills, on railroads, and in coalmines. This very basic human desire to find a peaceful and secure life had been impossible for them in eastern Europe—as it continues to be impossible today for those trapped in countries experiencing constant strife and conflict.

What did you think/feel about the Joanie 4 Jackie at the time? And now, in retrospect?
At that time I believed women were on the crux of having equal footing with men. I found it incredible that this compendium of works that address empowering women’s voices via the tools of digital filmmaking was assembled. Now I cannot accept the fact that we are in the throes of a federal administration that is acutely focused on dismantling so much for women and society both here in the United States and internationally. Thankfully you have made this work available to all in affirmation these important voices.

What institutions, groups, people, publications and movements were inspiring you at the time of your participation in J4J?
Ann Fessler, Deborah Bright and C.D. Wright were key figures in my development as an artist.

What do you do now – professionally and otherwise? Are you still involved in filmmaking?
I make art in my studio in Washington, DC, where I still work with narrative structures. I’m finishing a hand-bound book that was in the making for ten years. Part of this project is inspired by the painter Kay Sage and her lack of equality with male artists during the Surrealist movement.

I also teach and direct the photo program at George Mason University. While I am no longer making films, I show my students many films. My classroom projects often engage local communities on issues such as the environment, immigration and empowerment.

Anything you would like to see on the J4J site?
Perhaps interviews with the artists about their new works.

 

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Vanessa Renwick, The Yodeling Lesson (also Toxic Shock on The Cherry Cherry Chainletter)
February 19, 2016

How did you find out about Joanie 4 Jackie and how old were you at the time?
I lived in Portland and heard of Miranda and Joanie 4 Jackie. I was 36 years old.

What interested you about the project?
That I would get to see other lady made movies. I had made work, but had hardly ever shown it. I was still making work and not really showing it. To get my work seen by others, and see others work was a good idea to me.

At the time you participated in Joanie 4 Jackie did you consider yourself a filmmaker? What was your relationship to making movies?
It was just at the beginning point of myself identifying as a filmmaker, even though I had been making films since the early ’80s. My relationship to my films was more as a journal, documenting, recording. Even though there were edited stories, I did not start sharing them a lot until I moved to Portland.

Do you have any specific anecdotes or memories associated with your movie?
The Yodeling Lesson: We shot Moe riding her bike naked downhill with no hands 3 times. The first time a car followed her all the way down. The second time my camera work was off. The third time was the charm. It was Easter morning and really cold out. When I watch the movie now I can hear my voice, in my head, yelling at the person who was driving the truck that I was in the back of to slow down or speed up. When I went over to Donovan Skirvin’s house to pick up the score, he was still making it. He had a hard on while composing.

Toxic Shock: There are 6 different people’s hands in that film. At the time I made it I was fucking 5 of them. Tampons do not expand in gasoline, so they in facet, are not a good object to use when you make a molotov cocktail.

I also shot a few intros for the Joanie4Jackie tapes. My daughter Montana is in one of them, in a bathtub talking on a walkie talkie.

What did you think/feel about the Joanie 4 Jackie at the time? And now, in retrospect?
Any time you get snail mail, then or now, it is the cherry on top.

What institutions, groups, people, publications and movements were inspiring you at the time of your participation in J4J?
Matt McCormick had started doing screenings every two months in Portland at that time. Having a deadline every two months to show something publicly really cranked up the prolific dial in me. There were also one day art shows in Portland, The History Show, the Map Show…a large group of people, all sorts of art in em. Super inspiring. I was running the small press and journals section at Powell’s Books. I had a reading series there once a month. People writing and creating their own zines and chapbooks were a huge source of my news. Craig Baldwin’s Other Cinema screening series continues to blow my mind to this day. Such a wealth of films with excellent curation.

What do you do now – professionally and otherwise? Are you still involved in filmmaking?
I am an artist. I make films, video installations, sculptures and photography. I write, both for my films, as well as for publication. I am a lifer.

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Wynne Ryan (Greenwood), 1,2,3 This Is Me
March 25, 2013

How did you find out about Joanie 4 Jackie and how old were you at the time?
I can’t remember exactly, but I think I found out about Joanie 4 Jackie through Chainsaw Records probably around 1996-97. I was 19 years old.

What interested you about the project?
When I heard about Joanie 4 Jackie, I was taking video and screenwriting classes at college. While it seemed like there was a community out there in the world for girls playing music (Riot Grrl), I was interested in the possibility of a similar community and network forming around other art forms, especially video. In addition to that desire, my video class was mostly guys and also mostly people wanting to go into feature or commercial filmmaking. I felt connected to and inspired by the experimental nature of a lot of the J4J work. Not only was it girls, it was girls making weird work.

At the time you participated in Joanie 4 Jackie did you consider yourself a filmmaker? What was your relationship to making movies?
I definitely considered myself a video maker, though at the time I was questioning when a video could stop being a school project and start being an art project.

What did you think/feel about the Joanie 4 Jackie at the time? And now, in retrospect?
From both then and now, Joanie 4 Jackie felt like it created space in the world. The chainletter thing of “If you do this, something will happen” was real. Looking back on J4J now, what I’m struck by is how relevant and needed it still feels.

What institutions, groups, people, publications and movements were inspiring you at the time of your participation in J4J?
I was a big fan of Riot Grrl.

What do you do now – professionally and otherwise? Are you still involved in filmmaking?
I am an artist and a teacher. I teach video and performance!

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