COLUMBIA, Mo 10/25/14 (Beat Byte) -- Returning to Columbia next month, Citizen Jane is a "terrific film festival in a great town," wrote Indiewire Women and Hollywood correspondent Melissa Silverstein, a two-time attendee and participant in this celebration of independent films by independent women.
Stephens College film professor Kerri Yost; True/False Film Fest co-organizer Polina Malikin, and Citizen Jane festival director Paula Elias founded the fest in 2006 with a filmmaker lecture series, media reports say. The festival followed in 2008, to celebrate what remains an anomaly in the film industry: movies written, directed, and produced by women. It's a strange anomaly, given that so many films are made for women, who have driven attendance at some of the industry's biggest ever hits, from Schindler's List to When Harry Met Sally.
Citizen Jane (CJ) remains one of the only film festivals in the nation that headlines the work of women, Elias explains, and has found an apropos partner in Stephens, one of the country's oldest womens colleges.
“We fly filmmakers from around the world into Columbia, where festival goers get to connect in a really intimate environment," Elias explained. "We have grown by about 50% every year, but are committed to holding the intimate feeling."
The festival kicks off Thursday, November 6th, with the second annual CJ Summit, a free event open to the public. All about education, the summit unites film industry thought leaders with inquisitive audiences for presentations, panel discussions, and this year, a workshop led by 'Tiny Circus', an artist collective that teaches the film industry's most important tool: collaboration.
With its directors, producers, actors, set designers, gaffers, photographers, editors, writers, and so forth, filmmaking -- is by sheer numbers of participants alone -- the most collaborative art of all. It takes a rare and certain political genius to do the work of a Katie Mustard, for instance, profiled here for her long-running career orchestrating film collaborations -- and her participation at this year's Citizen Jane.
Unlike Columbia's famous docufest, True/False, Citizen Jane includes comedies and dramas amidst five documentary entries. CJ opens Friday, November 7th at the Missouri Theatre with Kat Chandler's "devastating feature" Hellion, in the words of RogerEbert.com film critic Sheila O'Malley.
A modern-day retelling of the Swiss Family Robinson story set against the refineries of Southeast Texas, Hellion follows 10-year-old Wes (Deke Garner) and 13-year-old Jacob Wilson (Josh Higgins) and their "shipwrecked family," O'Malley explains. "Shipwrecked by loss, alcoholism, poverty, and neglect." Hellion also stars Aaron Paul from ‘Breaking Bad’ and Academy Award-nominee Juliette Lewis.
Citizen Jane closes Sunday, Nov. 9 at The Blue Note with the documentary Meet the Patels, "a sharp, often riotously funny take on the conflicts and compromises that all culturally nebulous families must navigate," says Variety magazine.
A variety of passes are on sale, from the $60 Plain Jane Pass for one ticket to all films (pending availability); to the $100 Insane Jane Pass: one ticket to all films, parties and special events within the festival including the private filmmaker brunch at Historic Senior Hall on the Stephens Campus.
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