The Getty Acquires Miranda July's Feminist Film Archive
Acclaimed independent filmmaker Miranda July's feminist film archive is the latest addition to the Getty Research Institute's collection, as announced Monday.
July, a long-time an advocate for women in film, rose to prominence in the '90s through Portland's then flourishing Riot Grrrl scene through her DIY feminist chainletter tape, "Big Miss Moviola." It was July's earliest effort at fostering the inclusivity she found lacking in Hollywood, and the then 21-year-old canvassed punk shows, universities, high schools, and local watering holes with pamphlets promising that if women submitted one self-made film along with five dollars, she would include them in the latest "Big Moviola" compilation.
"Big Miss Moviola" was later renamed "Joanie 4 Jackie" after a cease-and-desist letter from Moviola Digital, but the project's momentum couldn't be contained and spread across the country—thanks in part to touring Riot Grrl staples like Bikini Kill and Heavens to Betsy passing out her pamphlet calls-to-action on the road—and cemented itself in history. "I changed the name to Joanie 4 Jackie, a name that meant women supporting other women — rooting for them," July said in a statement to The New York Times.
That fundamental support and encouragement continues through today as the Getty Research Institute announced its acquisition of the entirety of the "Joan 4 Jackie" archives. The collection, which was donated by July, includes upwards of 200 titles gathered in the '90s and '00s, booklets, posters, videos from “Joanie 4 Jackie” event, and other documentation. According to the Getty spokesperson Amy Hood, the archive currently is not on public display, but as the project becomes catalogued and digitized, exhibition plans could follow. Along with the news of the acquisition, July also launched joanie4jackie.com, an online archive of the project that July has been hammering away at for the last seven years. Among videos and documents, the site also includes a section titled, "Where Is She Now?" in which July and collaborators reached out to hundreds of "Joanie 4 Jackie" participants about their memories of the project and where they've grown in their careers and life.
“Through 'Joanie 4 Jackie,' I learned how to conceive of myself as a filmmaker, and how to create a sustaining community hidden inside a larger culture that didn’t even know we existed," July said in a statement to the Getty. "That has served me well in every area of my life, and it is my greatest hope that the archives will provide fodder for new ideas about networks, the use of technology, and survival.”