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.