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 »

Chainletter Filmmakers:

The Velvet Chainletter

Christine Kennedy, The Birth of My Baby
January 10, 2017

How did you find out about Joanie 4 Jackie and how old were you at the time?
I was 19 or 20 years old when I found out about Joanie4Jackie by seeing a flyer for it.

What interested you about the project?
First and foremost, it was an opportunity to have my work seen outside of my group of friends. You must understand that that was difficult to come by back then. You had to have a distribution deal or make a deal with an indie art house, as there was no streaming. It was just so completely exciting to be able to share my work! Beyond that, it was a cool, sisterhood thing. It was obvious as I watched the other chainletter films that we, as women filmmakers, bring up issues, topics, and ideas that reflect ourselves. It is a shame that women, people of color, lgbt, are still in the minority as directors because we can reflect back a fuller, more authentic reflection of humanity if included.

At the time you participated in Joanie 4 Jackie did you consider yourself a filmmaker? What was your relationship to making movies?
At the time, I considered myself an aspiring filmmaker, as I really was just starting to learn all aspects of the medium.

Do you have any specific anecdotes or memories associated with your movie?
My video on the chainletter was probably the most personal one I ever made. In enduring a secret tubal pregnancy as a teenager, I firsthand experienced the difficulty of having access and power in healthcare decisions related to my own reproductive system. Then in 1994-1995 right before I made the video, there had been bombings and other kinds of attacks on Planned Parenthood and a strong campaign by the right against Roe vs Wade. It was tremendous to take all of that in, with my own personal experiences. Really, I distilled my own anger into that project.

What did you think/feel about the Joanie 4 Jackie at the time? And now, in retrospect?
I loved the access, I loved that Miranda July empowered others beyond herself, and I felt a bond in being a part. I still feel the same way but with a fondness of the time and a chuckle thinking of the technology.

If you attended a screening, can you tell us where and when it was and anything else you remember about it?
I helped foster a screening at the New Freeway Hall in Columbia City, Seattle, WA, by introducing the work and then doing Q&A afterwards. It was part of a Riot Grrl Convention.

What institutions, groups, people, publications and movements were inspiring you at the time of your participation in J4J?
Maya Deren, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Luis Buñuel, Fugazi, Nirvana, Salvador Dali, Gus Van Sant, Robyn Cline, Twin Peaks, the Riot Grrl movement, all were inspirations at the time.

What do you do now – professionally and otherwise? Are you still involved in filmmaking?
I’m currently a production manager for Pyramide Productions, a video production company in Washington State. I also used to freelance for film/video and served as an executive assistant for the California Council for the Humanities, a grantmaker for documentary films. Really, though, I’ve done a lot of different things, legal and environmental work, as well as teaching. In my spare time, I paint, write poetry, read, get outdoors, and try to cultivate strong friendships.

Anything you would like to see on the J4J site?
I still have Miranda July’s flier and response letter to me. I’d love to share a scan of them.

Elina Shatkin, The Date
January 23, 2017

How did you find out about Joanie 4 Jackie and how old were you at the time?
I think I heard about it a punk show where Miranda July performed or maybe I read about it in a zine (that I probably bought at a show). I was 19 or 20.

What interested you about the project?
I was a student in the undergrad film school at UCLA, feeling isolated since my class was two-thirds men and one-third women. I was hungry to see work from other young, women filmmakers. I was hungry to share my work. I was lonely. I thought maybe I would find pen pals.

At the time you participated in Joanie 4 Jackie did you consider yourself a filmmaker? What was your relationship to making movies?
I called myself a filmmaker but I don’t know if I really considered myself a filmmaker. I think I used the label mainly to bolster my confidence and to convince myself I was a filmmaker. Even now, when I use words like “journalist” and “filmmaker” in online bios or on my resume, I feel like an imposter, like I haven’t achieved enough success in either realm to have earned those labels.

Do you have any specific anecdotes or memories associated with your movie?
This was the first project I made on my own in film school. I think it was for my cinematography class. I have always loved black-and-white, both for still photography and for movies. I shot this on Super 16 and I had the workprint duped and reduped 3 or 4 times (it was called a “dirty dupe”), at first because I lost some of the negative (oh, the perils of sharing flatbeds and editing bays!) and then because I liked the look: the degraded quality, the increased contrast, the splotches and marks on the film.

What did you think/feel about the Joanie 4 Jackie at the time? And now, in retrospect?
I thought it was an amazing idea and totally in keeping with the DIY, community-based punk ethos that first inspired me to think I could be a filmmaker or any sort of creative person.

What do you do now – professionally and otherwise? Are you still involved in filmmaking?
I am a journalist, radio producer and filmmaker. These days, I work in public radio covering breaking news. I’ve also written for a variety of online and print outlets, mostly about arts and culture or food but I’ve also done hard news. In my spare time, I’m working on securing funding for a feature-length documentary that will try to unravel an art world mystery — a cache of paintings that might be brilliant fakes or hidden treasures.

Mary Billyou, Women’s Punk Art Making Party (also Horsegirl on Me and my Chainletter and Flow on The Cherry Cherry Chainletter)
February 24, 2016

How did you find out about Joanie 4 Jackie and how old were you at the time?
I found out about Big Miss Moviola aka Joanie 4 Jackie through my photographer friend Cynthia Connelly in Washington, DC. I figure she must have picked up the flyer (it was a quarter-page black & white xerox) through other friends, probably at the Dischord House where she lived. I have heard that Bikini Kill had been handing them out at shows and they were living in DC at the time too. I believe I was about 25 years old.

What interested you about the project?
After considering the endeavor closely, I realized that this was exactly what I had been looking for – distribution of some kind, aligned with a politics and an audience I believed in. I had been researching other organizations, but they all seemed such remote possibilities for me (these were New Day Films and Women Make Movies). I hadn’t actually shown my work in the first place to a wide audience of any kind, so the idea of distribution was secondary anyway. I had been used to very small group situations like Riot Grrrl meetings and small screenings like I AM EYE, and installations at the Washington Project for the Arts, i.e. mostly one-time-only screenings at non-profit or alternative spaces DC. Word of mouth kind of things. So Joanie 4 Jackie/Big Miss Movioloa seemed to dovetail easily into what I had been doing anyway, in that I could imagine the audience as being like the one that I already was in, except across the United States. The xeroxed handout offer was something I was used to, similar to invitations to punk shows at houses, which were handed out at punk shows at clubs. It appeared to be a network, similar to Riot Grrrl letter writing activities, in which individual, seemingly isolated young women wrote to us (another imagined audience) at a post office box number. We read these letters aloud to each other in meetings, and then dispersed them to be responded to by each of us at a later time.

At the time you participated in Joanie 4 Jackie did you consider yourself a filmmaker? What was your relationship to making movies?
Yes I did consider myself a filmmaker. I had made two films or was in the process of making my second film. I also was working as a camera assistant on commercial productions. I was a projectionist too and later I worked at a video rental store.

Do you have any specific anecdotes or memories associated with your movie? 
Well I have so many associations with Womens’ Punk Art Making Party. There has been a lot of interest in it throughout my career. It started from a similar situation of a flyer that announced the event (although I personally knew many of the women involved), and it directed us to bring whatever art supplies we had, and I brought my videocamera.

Also, I’d like to dedicate it to Dara Greenwald, who added such a wonderful section to it (Puppet Girl), and who I continued to be close friends with under different circumstances and in different cities (Chicago, New York) until her recent death from cancer.

It was a very exciting time for me and for the other women involved, there was a lot of emotion going around, along with inspiration and upset.

I’ve made other videos using the materials from that original piece as well, so it has certainly been a generative piece for me.

What did you think/feel about the Joanie 4 Jackie at the time? And now, in retrospect?
I was proud to be a part of it and I continue to be so. I tell colleagues about it sometimes and if they don’t know about it then they’re usually super interested. I’m also friends with other filmmakers and writers through being associated with it. I’m glad that it has taken place and its one of those things where you say to yourself, “Of course! This should be.” I also liked the project’s reference to Coppola’s comment about girls with video cameras and how there would be a revolution because of this technology. That had inspired me as well. I always felt aligned with the spirit of the project.

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 Washington, DC ages ago downtown, in Chinatown. I don’t remember that much about it, except that I introduced myself to Miranda and I think she seemed a bit overwhelmed because she had just performed, so I left. I had wished that I had more time to talk with her however, but I didn’t know exactly how to go about it, as I didn’t know where she was staying etc. and I felt really insecure at that time anyway so it was a big effort for me to go to the event in the first place, even though my work was screening and I went with a friend.

What institutions, groups, people, publications and movements were inspiring you at the time of your participation in J4J?
Riot Grrrl, Dischord, the Pirate House, Slant 6, Bikini Kill, Kathleen Hannah, Joe Lally, Femme Flicke, New German Cinema, Kaja Silverman, Constance Penley, Feminism and Film Theory, The Beehive Collective, soul food, vegetarianism, veganism, intentional communities, zines, records, record shops, punk flea markets, thrift stores, old cars, Cynthia Connelly’s photographs, Dick Hebdidge and Stuart Hall’s book “Resistance Through Rituals,” Dick Hebdige’s book “Subculture,” pixelvision, Sadie Benning, Meltdown, The Boredoms, Ian Svenonius

What do you do now – professionally and otherwise? Are you still involved in filmmaking?
I teach filmmaking, write for the blog Screen Slate and other publications on digital media and practice. I’m finishing a series of five short 16mm films, for which I received funding for from The Jerome Foundation, NYSCA, and Outpost. I am an independent curator/programmer and I do work for hire for other artists and institutions (Anne Wilson, Martha Rosler, Marie Losier, Redmond Entwistle, Robin Rhodes, The Drawing Center, Art in General). I’ve collaborated with videomaker Sabine Gruffat on a Riot Grrrl-inspired performance project called The Free Translators.

Pat Baum, The Cleansing Machine
February 20, 2016

How did you find out about Joanie 4 Jackie and how old were you at the time?
I met Miranda July when I was working the Northwest Film Center in Portland, Oregon. She approached me about including my film, The Cleansing Machine in her Miss Moviola Project, which I immediately agreed to. I had been a part of a traveling compilation of women’s films called, Post Modern Sisters (PMS), so I already appreciated the need to get women’s cinema out to the public. I was 38 at the time.

What interested you about the project?
I think the fact that it included a variety of genres, styles and levels of craft-woman-ship is what initially interested me. Coming from a background of film (rather than video) I really appreciated the DIY approach that many of the other participants were utilizing. I was so over struggling to fund expensive cinema projects to somehow preserve a sacred art-form (which clearly implied a male construct). These new women makers were derailing and celebrating new forms of cinema, which appropriated the free use of video.

At the time you participated in Joanie 4 Jackie did you consider yourself a filmmaker? What was your relationship to making movies?
At the time, yes I did consider myself a filmmaker. I was writing and directing my own films, and had assembled a small but loyal crew to work with. The only thing I was not comfortable with was the cost of shooting on film. The last film I shot on 16mm, Peace, Love ’92, I ended up editing and posting in video, which at the time was considered sacrilegious. I had to do it for economic reasons. Most grants at the time, gave you “just enough rope to hang yourself”.

Do you have any specific anecdotes or memories associated with your movie?
It was a very rewarding and heartbreaking process at the same time. One of my actors required almost no direction, she seemed to know exactly what I wanted. The other caused me much frustration and therefore multiple takes. There was almost no dialog which saved me in many ways. The voice-overs were recorded after-the-fact, and made it easy to work with the timing in the sound editing. All editing on this film was done on a Moviola.

What did you think/feel about the Joanie 4 Jackie at the time? And now, in retrospect?
I loved the idea of sending VHS tapes around with (loosely) curated women’s films. It had a subversive feel to it. I think it was a great example of using the tools that were available to make something really cool happen, in this case sharing women’s work with other women.

If you attended a screening, can you tell us where and when it was and anything else you remember about it?
Never got to attend a screening

What institutions, groups, people, publications and movements were inspiring you at the time of your participation in J4J?
I think the independent cine membership organizations like Film Arts Foundation and Artist’s Television Access in SF, and 911 in Seattle, had a huge impact by giving people access to equipment and mentors. Also, the regional granting organizations like Western States and film festivals like NW Film Center’s, NW Tracking, gave maker’s a place to show their work. I was never one to be affiliated with any movement or group, but held the following revolutionary women in high regard, Emma Goldman, Ulrike Meinhof, Valerie Solanis and Assata Shakir.

What do you do now – professionally and otherwise? Are you still involved in filmmaking?
I am an educator dedicated to democracy in education. I am presently archiving my work and making sure it doesn’t become obsolete as digital formats change. I continue to write screenplays and am working on a for-the-web series called, Classically Trained Punks, about how punk musicians learn their craft.

Anything you would like to see on the J4J site?
I would like to see bios of all the filmmakers and what they are currently up to. Links to their web sites would be welcome. An invitation for a new J4J series would be great.

« Previous: Some Kind of Loving Next: The Underwater Chainletter »