Independent Film Voices: Jennifer Newsom and Robert Redford – More from Sundance
Editor’s Note: Featuring Progressive Girls’ Voices in dispatches from the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, Women’s Media Center’s girl journalists attend feminist film screenings and interview notable leaders and directors. Here’s Mimi Clayton’s account of their second day. This article originally appeared on Women’s Media Center.
This evening, after a day insanely cram-packed with exciting interviews, I got home and crashed. By that, I mean that I actually fell asleep on the floor of my bedroom, trying to write a blog post. It seems very appropriate, actually, given the day we’ve had. We’ve been going nonstop since 9 this morning (earlier for those of us who first had to go to school), and the day has been AMAZING.
We started the day off with an interview of the very kind and lovely Jennifer Newsom, director of Miss Representation. Jennifer is one of the many talented women we’ve interacted with, and she was a fantastic person to start the day with. We girl journalists aren’t going to see Miss Representatiton until Sunday, but already I feel a great sense of pride for the film. The WMC’s involvement with the film is what got us all to Sundance in the first place, and for everything we’ve heard thus far, the movie is going to be amazing! Our interview took place in a bright, lush part of the Mariott Festival HQ in Park City, and I couldn’t imagine a nicer spot. The location really matched Jen Newsom’s personality perfectly.
I’m ashamed to say it, but the sheer esteem of our next interview subject was what initially got me excited about him. I didn’t know much about Robert Redford going in to the project, but he truly is a household name. In our work thus far, I’ve learned a lot about Redford, and after speaking with him I’ve realized just how pivotal he is to Sundance- he IS Sundance. At almost 80 years old, “Bob” Redford exudes an energy to parallel my own, and I was so pleased to see him getting genuinely interested in what we’re doing.
Independent films, of course, are not devoid of the gender inequity problems that face the rest of the media world, but they tend to be much closer to equality than big budget films- 26% compared to 7% of directors are women. The Sundance Film Festival is a great place to be a woman director, and Robert really drove that point home today. In all senses, he is an amazing man who has created an amazing event.
The day wasn’t over after Robert Redford; still to come were interviews with Danny Glover and Alexandra Chowaniec. As I’ve already mentioned my recent collapse, however, it seems best for me to go to bed. I’ll expound in the morning, after what I hope will be a well earned rest. Good night.
Mimi is a high school senior in Salt Lake City and has been involved with Planned Parenthood for three years. She is passionate about gay rights and teen education.
Photo of Jennifer Newson and Mimi Clayton courtesy of Women's Media Center.
By Mimi Erickson-Clayton