College of Santa Fe (Santa Fe, NM)

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        Young women in a movie set occupied in different tasks

Participants in the College of Santa Fe's program, GirlsFilmSchool, a program to provide film and video training to young women, do a sound check on a film project. Photo by Tanya Doriss

In June 2003, 24 young women from across the United States participated in GirlsFilmSchool (GFS), a residential program at the College of Santa Fe. The program, supported by an NEA Arts Learning grant of $22,000 in FY 2003, was founded in 2000 in response to the under-representation of women and minorities in the film industry. GSF hopes that it will inspire a new generation of young women to consider a career behind the camera.

During the two-week session, young women ages 15-18 gained technical proficiency by creating their own short film or video projects. Students at the program learned the basics of filmmaking, including directing, acting, producing, writing, and editing. Classes were taught by women film professionals, such as director Jenniphr Goodman, acting coach Wendy Chapin, actress Jo Harvey Allen, and animator Teresa Foley.

The course included the production of a group project in which each member of the four groups took turns filming, parodying popular films, including Fight Club , The Matrix , and West Side Story , as a way of exploring the interactions within and among the four groups. Additional projects included short animations, handmade films, and short narrative projects in which filmmakers explored topics ranging from death to ceiling fans. The program culminated in a public screening on the college campus to an audience of more than 180 people. In addition to these projects, students also attended lectures and presentations by visiting artists about the role of women in the media. These events were open to the public and were attended by more than 400 community members.

(From the 2003 NEA Annual Report)

 
Director Jenniphr Goodman, one of the visiting artists, discusses film technique with student Grace Perkins. Photo by Tanya Doriss