Citizen Jane Film Festival returns to Columbia

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COLUMBIA - Hundreds of people filed in and out of Stephens College Thursday to prepare for the big weekend ahead. This weekend, Nov. 7-9,  marks the seventh annual Citizen Jane Film Festival. The festival highlights women filmmakers and will feature 25 films or shorts over the weekend. There will also be workshops, dance performances, panels and dance parties. 

Executive director of Citizen Jane Film Institute Paula Elias said the festival is important for women filmmakers and for others to be exposed to their work.

"The reason it's a women's film festival is because we show films made by women," Elias said. The problem is last year only 6% of the top 250 grossing films were made by women so that means 90% of what we see in a multiplex is made by a man." Elias said that doesn't mean only women can attend this weekend, though. "We want everyone to see the films," Elias said.

Elias said every year is different at the festival. There are always different films and a new theme. "Our theme this year is 'dream' so all of our art reflects that and it's our inspiration for doing the festival," Elias said.

This time of year is the end of the film festival season, so Citizen Jane offers something different for filmmakers as well.

"We consider it to be a retreat for filmmakers," Elias said. "We don't have awards, we don't have any competition. We really just bring filmmakers in from all over the world to hang out with film lovers and our volunteers."

Documentary Crew Leader and Media Director for Citizen Jane Meredith Jacob said she enjoys the film festival because it serves as an outlet for women filmmakers to really shine.

"This festival is geared toward helping women have a voice and, as an aspiring filmmaker myself, it's great," Jacob said.

Jacob said she feels like people leave the festival every year changed by what they see.

"I feel like everyone comes out of these films with just a different outlook on their day," Jacob said.

In addition to attending Stephens College, Jacob, 21, has been working on a special documentary film with another filmmaker. The pair traveled across the United States for the story. They went to 50 states in 50 days and interviewed everyday Americans.

She said she learned a lot about the people in our country.

"It's amazing that wherever you go in the U.S., people are always going to be friendly," Jacob said. "It's amazing the inspirational stories that every individual has."

Tickets can be purchased at the box office at Stephens College or on their website, Citizen Jane Film Institute. Tickets are required for all events throughout the weekend, and there are different tickets depending on what a person wishes to attend, however, there are a few free events.

For opening night at Missouri Theater, tickets are $10 for the general public and $8 for students and seniors. All other films are $8 for the general public and $6 for students and seniors.