Citizen Jane day 2 at Stephens College

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COLUMBIA - The eleventh year of the Citizen Jane Film Festival is underway in Columbia and will be going all weekend with dozens of films made by women filmmakers from around the world.

The festival's goal is to bring discussions about the fight for gender equality to the front of the filmmaking industry. Filmmakers came from as far away as South Africa to celebrate, inform and work together with one another.

"It's a validating experience certainly but it's also something where we can try and work towards a solution," volunteer Emerson Van Roekel said. "We can promote awareness and we can make sure everybody is on the same page."

The festival started on Thursday with the sixth annual Citizen Jane Summit where a panel of filmmakers discussed their movie-making process and the challenges they face.

"My movie is about how the culture of silence hurts women," Sontenish Myers said of her film 'Cross My Heart.'

Myers was joined by Augustine Frizzell, Liza Scholtz and Veronica Andersson at the summit. Each one shared how important they think it is to make films that make a difference.

"I do believe there's something to be said about how dominated the industry is by men," Myers said. "We think there's certain behaviors associated with certain genders."

Students at Stephens College are also excited about how much more activity there is on campus every year during the festival.

"We can be like, 'Wow, this is my school.' It's so exciting to see all this," Sophomore Julia Bailey said. Bailey said students also feel like a bigger part of the city this weekend.

"There's this 'Stephens Bubble' that we kind of get caught in," Bailey said. "But this is a really cool way to be more involved."

For a complete list of the films being showed this weekend and where you can watch them, visit the CJFF website. 

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