Documentarian to show film on feminism


Independent documentary filmmaker Jennifer Lee is coming to WKU to present a unique narrative. 

The documentary, “Feminist: Stories from Women’s Liberation,” catalogues the untold histories of lesser known feminist icons from the 1960s and 1970s. 

The film will be shown at 7 p.m. in the Mass Media and Technology Hall auditorium on March 3, and it’s sponsored by the department of Diversity and Community Studies. 

“The heart of my film gets at what the women’s liberation movement actually did for this country and the reluctance of women to declare themselves as feminist, and why it’s okay to be proud to be a feminist,” Lee said.

Having grown up through the women’s liberation movement, Lee said she saw the positivity of the era firsthand. 

“I always called myself a feminist, and I put this in the documentary, but as the years went on, I could see more and more negativity attributed to the word feminist,” Lee said. “… Then I found myself hesitant to use the word feminist and thought this was crazy. What’s going on?”

That question sent Lee on a journey to examine myths and preconceptions surrounding one of the biggest movements in the 20th century. 

“As I went through the history and talked with the women who helped make this happen, I saw all the layers and complexity of the movement,” she said. 

Jane Olmsted, department head for Diversity and Community Studies, said Lee’s presentation fits well with speakers for the department.

“We anticipate it to be a great opportunity for discussion and conversation, and we’re looking forward to it,” she said. 

Lee graduated from Hampshire College in Massachusetts with a degree in women’s studies and filmmaking. Her biography noted that she moved to the San Francisco Bay area to work as a compositor for Lucasfilm’s Industrial Light and Magic. She worked on films such as “Forrest Gump,” “Back to the Future Part II” and “Hook.” She then moved to Los Angeles as a visual effects producer, compositor and editor, where she worked on “Kill Bill Vol. 1 and 2,” “Final Destination” and “Enchanted.” 

As a filmmaker, she said she’s seen the gradual evolution of where women work in the field.

“It’s taken a long time for women to go from being the subject of those narratives, think Marilyn Monroe and her popularity, to going behind the camera and creating those stories,” she said.