Where is She Now?

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Chainletter Filmmakers:

Transformer Chainletter

Beth O'Brien, the body revealed
December 2, 2016

How did you find out about Joanie 4 Jackie and how old were you at the time?
I had been profoundly influenced in the early nineties by the mythos (and my own imaginative extrapolations) around riot grrl culture, which was passed on to me in limited snippets through high school classmates, zines, lyrics and inserts in records and CDs, and at punk and hardcore shows around northern Virginia and Washington D.C. At some point the chain of underground female artists and musicians lead me to Miranda July. In 2001, I saw her perform at the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio. Her imaginative and playful combination of performance and video, low and high tech, and emotional vulnerability left a strong impression on me. I don’t remember exactly when I heard about Joanie 4 Jackie, but it was most likely around this time. I was 24 years old. I didn’t send my tape in until 5 years later in 2006.

What interested you about the project?
Sometime in middle school, at the tail end of the eighties, I was introduced underground culture. It began with music. I became fascinated with the idea of people creating in a way that rebelled against popular culture, was non-commercial, or political, and they did it using what they had, on their own terms.

At first, it was only the search that interested me. In those days, it required leaving your house. There was a sense of adventure, and, sometimes, risk. Going to shows in unfamiliar places, sometimes with a friend, sometimes alone. Wandering new places until you found the cool record shop, then scouring the 7″‘s, reading the liner notes, buying one because you recognized the name from a patch on a punk’s jacket. Always keeping an eye our for fliers. Writing letters, sending off for a zine. And when I found something that moved or inspired me, it felt like a personal gift, an exclusive secret, an initiation.

It was only later that I realized I could also participate. That participating was the point.

Of course, YouTube had already launched by the time I sent my tape to Joanie 4 Jackie in 2006. Maybe I had a certain wistful sadness and nostalgia for an underground that would no longer exist as it had when I was a teenager. So I sent my tape out to both share it and discover others in this anachronistic way that I still found so much more direct, human and beautiful than pushing some buttons alone in my bedroom.

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 someone who likes to make things. Sometimes a filmmaker, or a painter, or a collage artist, or a writer, or a photographer, or a carpenter. I was still working on video and film projects then and I still am now.

Do you have any specific anecdotes or memories associated with your movie?
I sent in a tape with three films. “the body revealed” was the one included in the Transformer Chainletter. It was made with one 100 foot roll of 16mm black and white reversal film and a Bolex camera. I rewound the film and shot over the already exposed film many, many times. There were four nude models, two female and two male.

What did you think/feel about the Joanie 4 Jackie at the time? And now, in retrospect?
I loved that it was a way to share with each other the film and video we were creating, and that anything that was sent was included and seen – there wasn’t some authority figure deciding who would and wouldn’t be included. In retrospect, I wish I had sent my submission in far sooner and that I had seen more of the chainletters.

What institutions, groups, people, publications and movements were inspiring you at the time of your participation in J4J?
In 2006, I was living off the Morgan Stop of the “L” Train in Brooklyn, New York. Though rapidly gentrifying, the neighborhood still had an isolated artists’ village feel. I was lucky enough to be surrounded by creative and inspiring people. The musician/actress Laura Schurich, the writer Melissa Febos, and I moved into a raw warehouse space and built out three rooms with lofted sleeping spaces. We were soon joined by the artist Carla Aspenberg. I shared a studio space at 54 Bogart Street with Gina Beavers. I was listening to Al Fair and Oscar Rodriguez’s band Nakatomi Plaza, while I created the artwork and layout for their CD “Unsettled”. I was very inspired by all the complex and colorful street art that was proliferating around the city. The Wooster Collective’s show at 11 Spring Street was a highlight of that year.

I also have to mention the amazing resource of the Millenium Film Workshop, which was still in Manhattan in 2006, though I only went there a handful of times. Their mission is truly inspiring:

“To offer the non-commercial film artist – of whatever experience, or proven degree of proficiency, and without interference in either film-subject or style – the use without cost, or at minimal cost, of the tools of filmmaking, instruction in filmmaking, and a means of contacting others of like creative interest.”

What do you do now – professionally and otherwise? Are you still involved in filmmaking?
I am still making motion pictures, photography, art, writing. It’s what I do.www.bethobrien.com (you can contact me by writing to beth at this website)

One recent project, called “On Foot: Brooklyn” was in collaboration with the composer and musician Craig Shepard, and resulted in a tour with our performance (which included projected video, live music and playback of field recordings), a book of photography and essays, a solo show of photography and a CD.

I pay the bills, buy equipment and fund my own mini-sabbaticals to make things by working as a lighting technician on movies and TV in New York.

Anything you would like to see on the J4J site?
I would like to see a simple master list of all participants in alphabetical order that links to this “Now” section, to the work they contributed, which chainletter(s) they were included in and links to current websites if available.

I came across some interesting resume services online within https://resume-chief.com publications, and bookmarked them for follow up

Corrie Siegel, Couperin: Rehearsal
March 24, 2013

How did you find out about Joanie 4 Jackie and how old were you at the time?
I think I was 19 or 20. Another student at Bard college that I thought was too cool to be my friend suggested I be a part of this mysterious chainletter/festival.

What interested you about the project?
It was the first time that I shared a film I had made within a semi public forum. I also felt like I had somehow gained entrance to this secret club of creators.

At the time you participated in Joanie 4 Jackie did you consider yourself a filmmaker? What was your relationship to making movies?
This was one of the first “art films” I had made.. it started out as a joking gesture, but it seemed like something needed to communicate. I did not even know how to edit titles with iMovie, or how to even load the video onto any editing program, someone had to show me how to do that.

Do you have any specific anecdotes or memories associated with the project?
I drew on my hand to make it look like a face. I had red marker stain on my skin for at least a week afterward.

What did you think/feel about the Joanie 4 Jackie at the time? And now, in retrospect?
It made me feel powerful, like my vision was worth presenting, and I also loved the intimacy of sharing the work in this public/ private way. I feel really lucky to have had that experience, and to continue to have that experience in a way.

What institutions, groups, people, publications and movements were inspiring you at the time of your participation in J4J?
Bard College, my friends, sleepless nights writing philosophy essays and wandering like a crazy person in the woods, thinking a lot about the possibility of earnestly and inventively expressing my truth.

What do you do now – professionally and otherwise? Are you still involved in filmmaking?
I’m an artist, currently receiving a grant through a fellowship. I also operate a small artist run space with two friends and manage the education and family programs for a museum. I have been making many two minute films that I post on a Vimeo page when I can remember.

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Dahlia Wilde, Rumble
March 21, 2017

How did you find out about Joanie 4 Jackie and how old were you at the time?
I was a participant in the FOX SEARCHLAB DIRECTORS PROGRAM and my film “RUMBLE” was in a few film festivals and then I think someone contacted me from Joanie 4 Jackie.

What interested you about the project?
I loved that it was a video archive and that it connected women and girls.

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 Walt Disney Feature Writing Fellow and starting to get respect as a writer – “RUMBLE” was the first film I ever directed, produced, wrote, acted in and starred in. Joanie 4 Jackie and the great Miranda July made me think about a lot!

What did you think/feel about the Joanie 4 Jackie at the time? And now, in retrospect?
I think Joanie 4 Jackie is an amazing creation but a wonderful group of genius creative women.

What institutions, groups, people, publications and movements were inspiring you at the time of your participation in J4J?
MOMA, LACMA, Getty Museum, Sundance, Skoll Foundation, Guggenheim, MacArthur, Dramatists Guild, New York Foundation for the Arts, Sundance, Tribeca, Miranda July, etc.

What do you do now – professionally and otherwise? Are you still involved in filmmaking?
I am a writer, producer, director, actor and entrepreneur. I am just finishing up my documentary “TO BE OR NOT TO BE” about my Renaturalization as a German Jewish citizen after my family lived through the Holocaust. I am getting my newest play “THE OH MY GOD PARTICLE SHOW!” on its feet after I was sent to CERN (CENTRE FOR RESEARCH NUCLEAR) in Geneva, to go inside the Large Hadron Collider where they discovered THE GOD PARTICLE. I have some girl power scripts moving ahead like my “OXFORD GIRL”, “A CHRISTMAS FOR CAROL” and “BUGATTI BABES”.

Anything you would like to see on the J4J site?
Filmmakers talking.

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Marianna Milhorat, Against Soft Earth
January 30, 2017

How did you find out about Joanie 4 Jackie and how old were you at the time?
Curator Astria Suparak was a guest artist in a film class I was taking at Concordia University in Montréal.

What interested you about the project?
I was interested in the relative directness of sharing work with other women in an unadjudicated format and the intimacy of watching their work by myself on my living room VCR.

At the time you participated in Joanie 4 Jackie did you consider yourself a filmmaker? What was your relationship to making movies?
I was an undergrad studying film, figuring out exactly what I was interested in making.

Do you have any specific anecdotes or memories associated with your movie?
Breaking into my grandparents’ old cottage, huddling with my friends in a single bed to keep warm. Having my friends drag a dolly and tracks two miles through the woods for a 10 second shot. Jumping into a cold November beaver swamp, worrying about leaches while on my period, shivering under many blankets.

What did you think/feel about the Joanie 4 Jackie at the time? And now, in retrospect?
We need more women-led projects and women-focused curation. We need more non-curated and unadjudicated programming! Direct connections between artists!

What institutions, groups, people, publications and movements were inspiring you at the time of your participation in J4J?
I was learning about diary filmmaking at the time and was a big fan of Sadie Benning.

What do you do now – professionally and otherwise? Are you still involved in filmmaking?
I’m a filmmaker and educator in Chicago. I teach at SAIC and Loyola University.

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