STAND UP, SPEAK OUT: THE PERSONAL POLITICS OF WOMEN’S RIGHTS played to rave reviews at the December 2021 Female Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

Katherine Brewster, EP. American women’s rights are under attack. What will motivate women and male allies to continue to protect and expand women’s rights until women have full equality in American life? Looking at the history of women’s legal rights, we realized women’s rights underwent a huge expansion in the middle of the 20thcentury from 1954-1978. These new rights created historically unprecedented choices, freedoms and opportunities from which American women over the past 50 years have created unparalleled lives of independence and adventure. We women who came of age during the 1968 era of political and social turmoil are the living benefit of these rights. And, this story has yet to be told.

A group of women from the Barnard Class of 1971 have come together to tell the story of American women’s lives over the past 50 years riding the crest of 2nd wave feminism, breaking barriers and forging paths for future generations of women, within the 200+ year context of American life. Through historical narration and multi-generational conversations, the short documentaries of Stand UP, Speak OUT: The Personal Politics of Women’s Rights (SUSO)illuminate what’s changed, what’s still the same, and how far American women still have to go to realize full equality.

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?

Katherine Brewster, EP. 2 years starting from the idea of a documentary film called Beyond the Suffragist Dream to shifting to an online documentary series called Stand UP, Speak OUT: The Personal Politics of Women’s Rights(SUSO) to producing the first short documentary in the series, SUSO Docu Series Introduction: 200+ Years, American Women Fight and Rise.

Elisabeth Harris, Producer – Once I was hired to produce the first in the series, it was about two months of research, editing, and revisions.

3. How would you describe your film in two words!?

Historically inclusive.

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

Katherine Brewster, EP. Raising funds. Writing the historical narratives– capturing the complexity of American women’sexperiences across racial and class lines in 7 minutes.

Elisabeth Harris, Producer – Settling on a script that included as many culturally inclusive perspectives as possible, in as concisely a manner as possible.

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

Katherine, EP: Thrilled to hear we accomplished what we’d set out to do:
– Celebrate the radical transformation in women’s lives during the past 50 years.

– Amplify the the voices of women who came of age in the 1960s in today’s political conversation.

– Shine a spotlight on the persistence of inequities over the past 100 years despite gains.

– Highlight the fragility of women’s empowerment and place in society today.

– Persuade an audience of all ages that women’s rights are critical to a free and vibrant society.

– Empower, energize, and inspire our audience to step into the ongoing effort to sustain women’s rights.

Watch the Audience Feedback Video:

6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?

Katherine Brewster, EP. While making SUSO. So… a third career.

Elisabeth Harris, Producer – As a teenager.

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?

9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?

Katherine Brewster, EP. It’s worked well so far.

10. What is your favorite meal?

Salmon and Kale

11. What is next for you? A new film?

Katherine Brewster, EP: Promoting the current episodes of SUSO– Equal Pay for Equal Work and Voting Rights. Finishing and launching SUSO Episode 3: Reproductive Rights/Justice. Producing the next three SUSO episodes–To Partner with Whom We Love, or, Not At All; Freedom from Sexual Assault; Affirmative Action.


By matthewtoffolo

Filmmaker and sports fan. CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival

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