Citizen Jane gives women in film special opportunity
COLUMBIA - The Citizen Jane film festival's last day is Sunday and has brought people from across the country for films directed by women.
Emerson Van Roekel, the festival's press coordinator, said part of the reason for the success of the festival is its volunteers.
“The volunteers are definitely the backbone of Citizen Jane, without them we wouldn't have a festival," said Van Roekel. "They put in so much time and so much work and so much effort."
Citizen Jane has more than 150 volunteers who help make the festival happen and Van Roekel is one of them.
She is a junior at Stephens College studying film. She said the Citizen Jane film festival is the reason she came to Stephens.
When Van Roekel was looking for colleges as a senior in high school she found the Citizen Jane film festival on a list of top film festivals in the country.
“I was like, ‘What? I’m in Missouri. Nothing happens in Missouri. What do you mean there's a cool film festival here?'" she said.
Van Roekel saw Citizen Jane was hosted by Stephens College and started looking into the school.
“It just clicked, it was like magic, and so now I’m here. And now I get to be here and do the things,” Van Roekel said.
Van Roekel has volunteered with Citizen Jane for three years now and said she has had plenty of time to make memories and connections.
“Seeing all the filmmakers here and they're women, they're like me and they're younger, they are older, they are willing to talk to me and give me tips and mentor me," Van Roekel said. "It's nice to have an in on a part of the industry I wouldn't have otherwise.”
She said Citizen Jane is in a special spot.
“We’re in this perfect sweet spot of big enough to get really cool stuff but small enough to have those conversations."