The Politics of the Personal: Storytelling and Feminist Documentary Practice
Saturday July 21st, 2pm – 5pm
Club SAW, 67 Nicholas Street


Community partner: Gallery 101


This masterclass with visiting American artist Penny Lane focuses on the making of her documentary film The Abortion Diaries. The film presents the candid abortion stories of twelve American women to weave together a compelling, moving and at times surprisingly funny discussion about this very private decision. The Abortion Diaries sidesteps the oppositional political rhetoric of ‘the abortion debate’ to get to the heart of women's real experiences with sex, contraception, religion, technology, love, their careers and their own bodies. Since its completion in 2005, the film has screened hundreds of times all over the world and in almost every U.S. state, provoking a new focus on personal stories as a vehicle for social change. In this masterclass, Lane will share her insights on why she made the film, how she came in contact with the interviewees, the production process, strategies for successful self-distribution and her outreach work with various community groups, women’s health and women’s rights organizations. The masterclass will open with a special screening of The Abortion Diaries (2005, 30 min.), which is not featured in the main spotlight presentation of Lane’s work on July 20th.


Penny Lane is a documentary filmmaker, video artist, writer, curator and professor of film, video and new media art who lives in Lexington, Kentucky. Her work has shown at Rotterdam, Impakt, Antimatter, San Francisco International Film Festival, Images, DOXA, Oberhausen, Media That Matters Film Festival, Seattle International Film Festival, Women in the Director's Chair, Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival, Dallas Video Festival, MoMA's “Documentary Fortnight,” Santa Fe Art Institute, Cucalorus, Ruffino Tamayo Museum of Contemporary Art in Mexico City, Director's Lounge Berlin, and many other venues. Penny has won awards at AFI FEST, New Orleans Film Festival, FLEX FEST, Athens Film and Video Festival, Choice USA and Carolina Film/Video Festival, and was named “Most Badass!” at the 2009 Iowa City Documentary Film Festival. Her 2005 documentary short The Abortion Diaries has become an important organizing and educational tool across the nation, screening in 42 states & worldwide at over 350 different community venues and also on Yes! Television and Free Speech TV. She received her MFA from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and her BA from Vassar College. Her writings & interviews have been published in INCITE! Journal of Experimental Media & Radical Aesthetics, The Brooklyn Rail, and On The Issues. She has taught film, video and new media at Bard College, Hampshire College and Williams College. From 2010 to 2011, she programmed the monthly Flaherty NYC series at Anthology Film Archives, showcasing risk-taking nonfiction films. And yes, Penny Lane is her real name.


Website © 2014 SAW Video Association
SAW Video Media Art Centre
67 Nicholas Street, Ottawa, Ontario K1N 7B9 Canada
t 613-238-7648
e sawvideo@sawvideo.com