Back in the 90s, Miranda July moved to Portland to launch a secret feminist film movement. Known as “Joanie 4 Jackie”, it encouraged women in the area to promote and share their own movies, growing into a vast underground network over its eight-year lifespan.
Fortunately, for those of us who missed it the first time round, July has now shared the project’s entire archive with the Getty Research Institute. Those interested in learning more can have full free access to 300 films produced by the movement, as well as booklets, letters, and posters.
July – now an established author, actress and director – says that the project was started to help “underrepresented” female artists get a start in filmmaking. Originally called Big Miss Moviola, it was inspired by Portland’s Riot Grrrl scene, and encouraged women to incorporate their films into chainletter-style tapes. “Each tape was a compilation of ten movies made by women and girls who had heard about the project and mailed in their work,” the website explains. “Every single movie received was accepted and each tape came with a booklet of letters written by each filmmaker to the other women on the compilation.”
The filmmaker uploaded the entire archive earlier this week, in an effort to “give energy” to society’s “crucial” resistance.
“In a pre-YouTube world, this was one way we could see each other’s work and know we weren’t alone,” she says. “It is not an overstatement to say that everything I have ever made has been with these artists and audiences in mind. We granted each other a powerful space that I have kept my heart in and built upon, often in the face insidious, dispiriting misogyny.”
Learn more about Joanie 4 Jackie, and check out the whole back catalogue, on the official website here.
Follow Dominique Sisley on Twitter here @dominiquesisley
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