Series spotlights women, minorities in film

by Meghan Dellinger

With the exception of Kathryn Bigelow, director of the recent movie “Zero Dark Thirty,” women don’t seem to be noticed in the film industry much, unless it’s in front of the camera.

Esther Louie, the assistant dean of Intercultural Student Affairs, said only 17 percent of directors or producers are women.

“I’m not sure that the viewpoint and perspective of women in film is well represented,” Louie said.

Continuing with Whitworth’s “Courageous Conversations” movie, dinner and discussion idea from last year, Louie contacted Dayna Coleman-Jones, the assistant dean of Student Life, about showing movies from women’s perspectives, particularly women of racial minorities.

“When everybody sits and eats dinner together it makes the conversation more casual,” Coleman-Jones said. “We wanted to continue the format with a different topic.”

Louie and Coleman-Jones chose three movies about women attempting to change stereotypes. Each film is directed by women as well. Racial backgrounds in the movies vary from Native American to Hawaiian to Asian American.

One of the movies, “Apache 8,” was shown March 7. The movie documents an all-female group of Native American firefighters and the struggles they face as they become one of the country’s most elite group of firefighters.

Louie said she was excited to see this particular project come to fruition. She is a movie buff herself, and said she loves to talk about movies with her brother, who works as a director in Hollywood.

“Sometimes we can’t travel; we can’t know for sure what other cultures are like if we do not have the opportunity to experience it personally. Film exposes us to different stories,” Louie said. “It’s

important that we hear other people’s stories. I think we forget to do that sometimes.”

Senior Marisol Rosado is also helping put the film showings together. Rosado said she enjoys the opportunity to help, as she believes showing these films is important.

“I hope that women and men will gain a better understanding of the standards put onto women,” Rosado said. “There very much still are stereotypes and that is a thing that all women can relate to.”

Coleman-Jones said they decided to spread the movie showings out over a period of time because they wanted to host the event in the ABC conference rooms, which was booked on certain days for other events. They were also thinking about the calendar in terms of how busy people might be.

“We wanted to do it before May hit,” Coleman-Jones said. “With ‘Courageous Conversations’ we did four movies. A lot of people attended the first one, and attendance kind of petered out from there. [So] we wanted to spread them out.”

Although “Apache 8” has already been shown, it is still available to be checked out from the library.

Two more films, “Pidgin: the Voice of Hawai’i” and “Tea and Justice” will both be shown in April.

“Pidgin” looks at the Pidgin language in Hawaii, and deals with the issue of identity. “Tea and Justice” tells the story of the NYPD’s first Asian women officers, from their careers and personal lives to risks and stereotypes in their job.

“The people that came [to the first film] just really enjoyed it, and the conversation was great,” Coleman-Jones said. “I’m looking forward to [the next showing] now, that’s for sure.”

Contact Meghan Dellinger at mdellinger15@my.whitworth.edu

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