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Women in... military documentaries

Twenty percent of new recruits in the military are women. The military is just starting to address their needs, challenging the conventional perception that war is a male domain, and modernizing our understanding of modern warfare and its aftermath. What becomes clear is the need for system-wide change in the military, more support for women in conflict zones and a greater public awareness of the role women play in war and peace.

Three documentaries - Lioness, Service: When Women Come Marching Home, and Women, War & Peace explore the issues that women in the military face. The filmmakers of these documentaries will invite the audience to explore whether films and multi-media can create awareness and change an embedded culture. These films present three different narratives about the emotional and psychological effect of war on women for the women's POV.

Lioness, a documentary by Meg McLagan and Daria Sommers, first identified the strength and courage of women soldiers, their lack of combat training compared to men and the issues they face when they return home. It has aired twice on Independent Lens, PBS.

Service: When Women Come Marching Home
, a new documentary by Marcia Rock and Patricia Lee Stotter, follows the narrative of women veterans and details their physical and invisible injuries. The women fight for proper treatment at the VA, and help for post-traumatic stress and its insidious catalyst, military sexual trauma. The film is also about the resourcefulness of these women, and how they created a supportive network through social media, the VA and Congress.

Women, War & Peace
, a groundbreaking television series, premiered on October 11 on PBS. Exploring women's strategic role in conflict and peace building, Women, War & Peace shines a light on women who are changing the rules of engagement in conflict zones from Colombia to Bosnia, Afghanistan to Liberia. The series features Matt Damon, Geena Davis, Tilda Swinton and Alfre Woodard as narrators. In particular, we will focus on clips that show how women soldiers fill a unique role in combat zones by their work with civilians. Women, War & Peace is co-created by Abigail Disney, Pamela Hogan and Gini Reticker.


Meg McLagan
is a filmmaker and cultural anthropologist. She recently directed and produced the feature documentary Lioness with Daria Sommers (Center for Documentary Studies Filmmaker Award at Full Frame Documentary Festival, Tribeca Film Festival, Human Rights Watch Film Festival), which aired nationally on the PBS series Independent Lens. Her short film Tibet in Exile was broadcast on public television and screened at festivals and museums in the U.S. and Europe. She began her film career working on the film Paris is Burning (associate producer) that won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance, and both the New York and Los Angeles Film Critics Circle Award for Best Documentary. Her work has been supported by the Sundance Documentary Fund, NYSCA, Fledgling Fund, Chicken & Egg Pictures, Rockefeller Family & Associates, among others. She has had residencies at the MacDowell Colony, Bunting Institute, and the School of American Research and has published articles about the relationship between media and new forms of political activism. McLagan is co-editor with Yates McKee of Visual Cultures of Nongovernmental Politics, forthcoming from Zone Books.

Patricia Lee Stotter is co-producer of Service.  She is an Emmy Award winning composer and writer for television, film, theater and interactive media. From Sesame Street to HBO/PBS documentaries, independent features to plays and musicals, Patty is all about the right voice at the right moment. Two years ago, Stotter created True Rep, a repertory company that explores trauma and resilience through testimonial theater and film, bridging actors, writers, directors, musicians and artists with the human service sector. Through True Rep, Patricia was honored to work with the P.R.O.V.E (Project for Return and Opportunity in Veteran Education) program, CUNY, Hunter Campus. Slotter is proud to be a member of The Dramatist's Guild and ASCAP.

Gini Reticker is an executive producer of Women, War & Peace and directed both Pray the Devil Back to Hell and the third film in the series about Afghanistan, Peace Unveiled. Reticker is one of the world’s leading documentary filmmakers putting a lens on the real-life dramatic stories of women’s rights and international social justice issues. In 2004 she produced the Oscar-nominated short Asylum that focuses on the story of a Ghanaian woman who fled female genital mutilation to seek political asylum in the U.S.  As the producer/co-director of 1994 Sundance Award-winning Heart of the Matter, her film explores the impact of HIV on women in the U.S. She also produced and directed the 2005 Emmy Award-winning documentary Ladies First for the PBS series Wide Angle.  She garnered an Emmy for directing and producing Out of the Darkness, focusing on women and depression. For Wide Angle she has also directed The Class of 2006, which spotlights the first fifty women in Morocco to graduate from an imam academy in Rabat.

Marcia Rock (moderator) is co-producer and director of Service. She also produced, Salt Harvesters of Ghana (2007) that captures the dignity of women working in a grueling landscape. Her documentary on the changing role of women in Northern Ireland, Daughters of the Troubles: Belfast Stories (1997) won many awards including the AWRT Grand Documentary Award. She has produced several pieces on New York City including, McSorley’s New York that won an Emmy in 1987.  She has also gone in a more personal direction with Dancing with My Father (2003), pondering how adult love is shaped by what a child learns at home.  Her other personal film, Surrender Tango (2006), parallels the rules and roles of tango with contemporary relationships. Rock is director of News and Documentary at the NYU Arthur Carter Journalism Institute and co-author with Marlene Sanders of Waiting for Prime Time: The Women of Television News.

Produced by Marcia Rock

NYWIFT programs, screenings and events are supported, in part, by grants from
New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council
New York State Council of the Arts
Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences Foundation


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NYWIFT programs, screenings and events are supported, in part, by grants from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York State Council on the Arts