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Chicago Maternity Center Story 
60 minutes
Director: Jerry Blumenthal, Suzanne Davenport, Sharon Karp, Gordon Quinn, Jennifer Rohrer
Year: 1976
Country: USA

Thu 3:10 PM RUSH , Fri 6:10 PM RUSH , Sat 3:10 PM RUSH , Mon 12:10 PM RUSH

This 1976 documentary from Kartemquin Films depicts how the Chicago Maternity Center provided safe home deliveries for over 75 years. The film interweaves the history of the center with the story of a young woman about to have her first baby, and the center’s fight to withstand the looming corporatization of American medicine. The film will be shown with two feminist short classics from Kartemquin: Women’s Voices: The Gender Gap and On Beauty

Directors’ Statement: Jerry Blumenthal, Suzanne Davenport, Sharon Karp,
Gordon Quinn, Jennifer Rohrer

An excerpt from a 1979 letter from the directors to WNET-13, the New York City public TV station, after they refused to show the film on Independent Focus (a forerunner of Independent Lens): There is a great deal of cynicism among oppressed groups on the one hand and independent producers on the other, that Educational-TV has no interest in serving their needs. This incident can only confirm the attitude that many already have that Educational-TV is controlled by rich subscribers and corporate funders, and that those of us who use the “wrong tone” will not be allowed access. ...It became clear to us that [the] main objection [to showing the film] was to the “tone” of the movie, to the “sarcastic tone” in the narrator’s voice, and to the “manipulative use of music.” If WNET wants to expand its audience from the elite educated class, if it wants to deal with social issues from alternate perspectives, then these films from and about oppressed communities...are what is needed. 

Part of the 50th Anniversary Tribute to Kartemquin Films 

Plays with:

On Beauty 
Short Documentary
31 minutes
Director: Joanna Rudnick
Year: 2014
Country: USA

From Emmy®-nominated filmmaker Joanna Rudnick (In the Family), On Beauty follows former fashion photographer Rick Guidotti as he uses his lens to challenge convention and redefine beauty with the help of two extraordinary women. Special guest Joanna Rudnick will be in attendance. 

Directors’Statement: Joanna Rudnick 

When I have encountered photographs of people with genetic syndromes, they were dehumanizing black-bar images that isolated and highlighted difference. Rick’s photography was the exact opposite of that imagery, allowing people to have names, larger-than-life personalities, and identities outside of one defining label. I asked Rick if I could follow him around for a documentary and it turned into a five-year journey from Las Vegas to Kenya and places in between. I wish we could all see like Rick. As his friend, the prominent fashion designer Ralph Rucci, said, “Rick is like an anthropologist way ahead of his time. Let’s catch up to him!” 

Part of the 50th Anniversary Tribute to Kartemquin Films 

Women's Voices: The Gender Gap 
Short Documentary
16 minutes
Director: Jenny Rohrer
Year: 1984
Country: USA

This film was originally made to mobilize women voters before the 1984 election, when Ronald Reagan was running against former Vice President Walter Mondale. The documentary explores the growing difference in the voting patterns of men and women (the gender gap) that could no longer be denied by the mid-1980s. It interweaves testimony by a diverse group of women discussing the issues that matter to them with satirical animated scenes by the cartoonist Nicole Hollander, creator of the comic strip Sylvia. 

Directors’ Statement: Jenny Rohrer 

Women’s Voices: The Gender Gap was Kartemquin Films’ effort to document the damage that Ronald Reagan’s “trickle-down’ economics had done to women, families, seniors, and students as we approached the 1984 election year. The film was used widely to mobilize voters in that campaign, the first to include a female vice-presidential candidate on the ticket, Geraldine Ferraro. 

Part of the 50th Anniversary Tribute to Kartemquin Films 
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ashland independent film festival

17th Annual AIFF
April 12-16, 2018

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