Women in the film industry topic of ‘Women on Wednesdays’ talk at ETSU

Published 9:04 am Monday, February 3, 2020

JOHNSON CITY — How do women filmmakers thrive in the historically male-dominated film industry?

Dr. Chelsea Wessels will highlight the methods of filmmakers in the Pacific Northwest in “Ecofeminism and Industry: Women in Peripheral Film Environments,” a free public talk kicking off the spring semester in East Tennessee State University’s “Women on Wednesdays” lecture series. Her talk, sponsored by the university’s Women’s Studies Program, will be held Wednesday, Feb. 5, at noon in the Reece Museum.

Wessels will discuss how such filmmakers as Kelly Reichardt, Lynn Shelton and Megan Griffiths engage with their environments through an ecofeminist politics of solidarity and sustainability by negotiating the interconnection between women, nature and capitalism.

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By focusing on relationships between people and place — or one’s separation from it — this approach overshadows the typical concerns of film production, such as cost and infrastructure. Reichardt, Griffiths and Shelton, according to Wessels, are thriving among the peripheral settings of the film industry and, in doing so, are rewriting the future of film.

Wessels is an assistant professor and co-director of the film studies minor in the ETSU Department of Literature and Language. She earned her Ph.D. in 2014 from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, where her work focused on the emergence of the western as a political and popular genre in global cinema. Wessels has been published in the National Film Registry, the Transformations and Frames Cinema Journal, and the essay collections “Teaching Transnational Cinema” and “The Western in the Global South.”

The “Women on Wednesdays” series is designed to raise awareness about the research, scholarship and community engagement conducted by women at ETSU; to provide a venue where women on campus and in the community can discuss and support each other’s work; and to give students an opportunity to meet faculty who could become mentors for their studies.

For more information, call Dr. Phyllis Thompson, director of Women’s Studies, at 423-439-4125. For disability accommodations, call the ETSU Office of Disability Services at 423-439-8346.