Joanie 4 Jackie: A digital archive of grunge-era women’s film-making
200 films have been digitally archived by the Getty Research Institute
Not long after Kurt Cobain made it okay for disenfranchised youth to howl in discontent as a collective Generation X, college drop-out – and now film-maker – Miranda July started her own revolution in Portland on an old computer. She made a poster urging young women to become film-makers, sidestepping the male gaze of mainstream Hollywood by standing behind the lens themselves.
This project became Joanie 4 Jackie and empowered many women over the course of a decade. Then along came YouTube and mobile phones with video, and all those punk posters and VHS tapes were consigned to a supply closet at a liberal arts college in the US.
Thankfully, student Vanessa Haroutunian dusted them off and all 200 short films have been digitally archived by the Getty Research Institute and now have their own website. The archive also features “where are they now” interviews with participants, one of whom accurately describes the raw, unpolished short films as “a great antidote to the bland of the mainstream”.