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Women Finding Their Voices (PG*) + Introduction by Stephanie Palewski

Artists & Activists


A rare chance to see documentaries that were screened in political gatherings during the 1970s and 1980s, mobilising the growing ranks of feminists.

Film played an important role in mobilising the Women's Movement, sparking discussion on how their needs and aims were often different from those prescribed by the male-dominated society around them.

This programme features films that capture the shared experience of Second Wave Feminism. These documentary films were watched in consciousness raising groups, political gatherings and other alternate venues to provoke discussion and thinking on new possibilities for women.

As women learned how to assert themselves, they assessed their situation, their ‘oppression’, as a means to moving forward and liberating themselves. And by the mid-80s, it became clear to politicians that women had become a formidable voting bloc.


Janie’s Janie

’First, I was my father's Janie, then I was my Charlie's Janie, now I'm Janie's Janie.’ — Jane Giese.
After years of abuse, a working-class woman in Newark, New Jersey, comes to realise that she has to take control of her own life. The filmmakers combined interviews and vérité material, to give creative visual form to feminist concerns. Janie’s Janie was produced by The Newsreel collective, an activist collective founded in 1967, with chapters across the US that made films covering the important social movements of the time. 

US 1970 Dirs Newsreel: various, including Geri Ashur, Bev Grant, Marilyn Mulford, Stephanie Palewski, Peter Barton 25 min Digital presentation
Preserved with support from NYWIFT’s Women’s Film Preservation Fund


The Woman’s Film

A valuable document of the origins of the modern women's movement in the United States, this film was produced collectively by women. Centring on the consciousness-raising groups synonymous with the early Women’s Movement, the film delves into the lives of ordinary women from different races, educational levels and classes who talk personally about their issues and concerns. The film was produced by Newsreel’s San Francisco chapter.

US 1970 Dirs Women’s Caucus, San Francisco Newsreel: including Louise Alaimo, Judy Smith, Ellen Sorin 40 min Digital presentation
Preserved with support from NYWIFT’s Women’s Film Preservation Fund


Women’s Voices: the Gender Gap

Created as a ‘get out the vote’ piece to mobilise women, this film was featured at the 1984 Democratic National Convention and screened at the National Convention of the Organization of Women that year. Live footage of a diverse group of women in discussion is punctuated with satirical animated scenes by the cartoonist Nicole Hollander. The film is a product of Kartemquin Films, the Chicago filmmaking collective, and was made by a group of women in lead creative roles at a time when women were underrepresented in film production.    

US 1984 Dir Jenny Rohrer 16 min Digital presentation
Preserved with support from NYWIFT’s Women’s Film Preservation Fund

Total run time 81 min

*This film has been locally classified by the City of London Corporation

Stephanie Palewski started her career when she joined NY Newsreel, a filmmaking group that produced and distributed social issue documentaries, including the classic women’s film, Janie’s Janie.  For the last 19 years she’s been an editor at America’s no.1 news program, 60 Minutes. Prior to that she produced and edited feature documentaries at CBS Reports and Limelight Productions, and also taught Film and Television seminars at NYU and Brooklyn College. She holds an MFA in Film Production from Columbia University, and has won multiple television awards, including Peabodys, Emmys, and Edward R. Murrows.

Curated by: Ann Deborah Levy and Kirsten Larvick, Co-Chairs, the Women’s Film Preservation Fund, with programming assistance from Susan Lazarus and Amy Aquilino

The Women's Film Preservation Fund (WFPF) is the only programme in the world dedicated to preserving the cultural legacy of women in the industry through preserving films made by women. Founded in 1995 by New York Women in Film & Television in conjunction with the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), WFPF has preserved more than 150 American films in which women have played key creative roles. These include works by early feminists, women of colour, social activists and artists that represent unique and irreplaceable contributions to American cinematic heritage. Films already preserved range from those of early pioneers, Lois Weber and Alice Guy Blaché, experimental filmmaker, Maya Deren, animator Mary Ellen Bute, to more contemporary feature director Julie Dash; director and cinematographer Jessie Maple; documentarians Trinh T. Minh-ha and Barbara Kopple, and more. The WFPF is rewriting the film history books, one moving picture at a time. More information can be found online at:  

New York Women in Film & Television (NYWIFT) supports women calling the shots in film, television and digital media. NYWIFT energises the careers of women in entertainment by illuminating their achievements, providing training and professional development, and advocating for equality. The preeminent entertainment industry association for women in New York, NYWIFT brings together nearly 2,100 women and men working both above and below the line. NYWIFT is part of a network of 40 women in film chapters worldwide, representing more than 10,000 members. More information can be found online at:


Part of The Art of Change

Our 2018 season explores how the arts respond to, reflect and potentially effect change in the social and political landscape.

Barbican Cinema 3