THE WOMEN'S MEDIA CENTER AT SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL
Sundance was a big success for the young bloggers of the Women's Media Center's Progressive Girls' Voices. These students ranging from 8th to 12th grade investigated different issues presented by the films at Sundance, interviewed the filmmakers, and blogged about it on the Women's Media Center blog. The Sundance coverage rendered a compilation of some of the most shocking statistics about the existing gender gap in the United States. By the end of the trip, the new bloggers and Yana Walton, the Vice President of Communications at the Women's Media Center, created a video showcasing these statistics now featured on the WMC website.
The bloggers interviewed Jennifer Newsom, director and writer of Miss Representation, and Robert Redford, founder of Sundance Film Festival. These young women were especially taken with the new documentary film Miss Representation that exposes the gender gap in American culture. This film includes research from organizations like the Geena Davis Research Institute on Gender in Media, and shows how the disparity between males and females starts to affect the way that we think about ourselves beginning the first time we turn on the television. During the interview with Robert Redford the students asked questions about his experience with women and film through the course of Sundance. Charis Benjamin, a student from Park City, asked, "How has the portrayal of women in the media effected how female film makers are treated behind the scenes?" Redford explained that the female filmmakers are very bold and always moving forward. When answering a question about hoping to change the direction of the lack of gender equality in the film industry he said, "I think hope is about the only thing you can hang on to these days."
The New York Times featured an article titled, For Women, Sundance is Sunnier than Hollywood" discussing Sundance’s continued commitment to gender equality. The Women’s Media Center and their coverage at Sundance is one step toward the foreign notion that a woman, like every human being, has a voice to be heard.
The Women's Media Center was founded in 2005 by Jane Fonda, Robin Morgan and Gloria Steinem to make women more visible and powerful in the media. The WMC places female voices into the media, offers media training, and publishes original reports and commentaries as well as links to women columnists and bloggers, news organizations, and journalism sources on its Web site, www.womensmediacenter.com.