In January 2020, I had no idea that in three months, a global pandemic would change everything. Like so many others, Girls’ Voices Matter faced the challenge of how to continue doing business. What actions should we take? How would we achieve the results we needed? Was it possible to get through 2020 with the same goals?
Our presentation, Women Filmmakers of the Pacific Northwest, was ready after six months of work. We planned to show it at libraries, schools and non-profits as part of March 2020’s Women’s History Month observance. We also planned to run our summer program for teen girls. Now, however, we had to make changes fast. In this post, I’ll talk about how we got through 2020.
How we got through 2020
Our first challenge occurred in the month of March, which coincided with the first Covid-19 shutdown. Of the events we had scheduled as part of Women’s History Month, half were cancelled as schools and other public spaces closed. Everything was changing. Clearly, we would have to adapt.
The first thing we did was cancel all of our in-person presentations and courses. Then we reinvented our teaching model to accommodate safety concerns. In March and April, we developed our action plan, outlined below:
- Create an online version of Women Filmmakers of the Pacific Northwest
- Develop and teach the Feminist Film Curriculum, an online summer program for teen girls:
- Teach courses at Ophelia’s Place
- Digital Photography 101
- Poetry workshop
- Five Fun Photography Projects
- Creative Writing
- Feminist Anime
- Increase the number of blog posts
We had little time to accomplish everything needed for these tasks. Claire and I worked feverishly! First, we made a video version of Women Filmmakers available to all. Then, we researched our new curriculum and wrote course outlines. I added a store to the website, and dove into marketing our courses. Throughout the Spring and early Summer, we devoted many hours towards our goal, but we had no idea if we could pull it off.
Happily, our results were positive. We had a wonderful summer program. Our students came from all over the United States, connected via Zoom. Teaching remotely allowed us to reach students outside our geographic area of Eugene, Oregon, an unexpected bonus.
We also expanded our partnership with Ophelia’s Place, teaching creative writing, photography, video gaming, and other classes online.
We upped our blogging. Big thanks to Claire for writing most of our new blog posts as part of the new “Cinema Herstory” category. We shared thirty blog posts with topics ranging from why girls lose confidence to how girls are using the video platform TikTok. Topics included the work of women directors of South Korea, feminist anime for teen girls, and women-made films about mental health.
We spotlighted International Day of the Girl, and supported local radio station KLCC with an underwriting spot. We created a “Coronavirus Creativity Guide” for teachers and students. We’ve also made courses available on a Name-Your-Price basis, which we’ll rotate every few weeks.
In the Media
We were happy to receive positive feedback regarding our efforts!
A few of our audience member comments about Women Filmmakers of the Pacific Northwest:
- I actually feel inspired. I didn’t think that there are this many women filmmakers, and especially in Oregon!
- It makes me want to constantly try new mediums.
- I will make a point of seeking out woman-made films.
90% of those who saw the program rated it “very enjoyable.”
Some parent comments about our summer program:
- My daughter said she really enjoyed the girls and gaming class, and she learned a lot!
- I really have nothing but compliments for the class and instructors.
Coming in 2021
We’re planning for another year of empowering teen girls with courses on storytelling, videography, photography, and feminist film theory! In the works:
- Name Your Price: each month, we’ll offer a different course on a pay-what-you-can basis.
- Film Aesthetics: a four-part video course including lessons on
- Spring Break Program: coming in March 2021 (online)
- Film Courses:
- Women in Comedy
- History of Women in Animation
- Make a Film in A Week
- Film Courses:
- Summer Filmmaking Program (tba)
We wish all of you a wonderful, safe, healthy holiday season.
See you in 2021!