Posted on by Dylan Tran

First Amendment Forum To Focus on Female Leadership in Film Industry

April 17, 2023

Flyer for the 31st annual Kenneth S. Devol First Amendment Forum, spotlighting female leadership in the film industry

In celebration of freedom of expression, there is an upcoming speaker’s forum that will focus on female leadership in the film industry. 

On Thursday, April 27, 2023, the Dept. of Journalism, together with the school of Cinema and Television Arts, will present a speaker’s event, titled the First Amendment Forum, at the Ferman Presentation Room, from 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. The topic will be female film directors and the feminist reforms of the 1970s, which led to more opportunities for women in the film industry.   

The student speaker will be Paige Jones, who is a graduate student in mass communication in the Dept. of Journalism. Ms. Jones will speak about censorship of the film THIRTEEN REASONS WHY. Her remarks will focus on the scene deletion by Netflix of the teen suicide scene from the movie.  

The keynote speaker will be Maya Montanez Smukler, who is the author of Liberating Hollywood: Women Directors and the Feminist Reform of 1970s American Cinema. She has a Ph.D. from UCLA in Cinema and Media Studies. Ms. Smukler is an officer in the Archive Research and Study Center for the UCLA Film and Television Archive.  

Smukler began her career in film as an assistant to director Allison Anders on the film GRACE OF MY HEART (1996) and later worked for the American Film Institute’s Directing Workshop for Women and Women Who Make Movies.   

The faculty speaker will be Prof. Elizabeth Blakey, a First Amendment scholar and Associate Professor in the Dept. of Journalism. 

Prof. Blakey will offer remarks titled Speaking of the Soft Censorship of Film

This year the First Amendment Forum event is being funded by the Dept. of Journalism and by an interdisciplinary pilot grant from the Mike Curb College of Arts, Media, and Communication titled, Cinema and Censorship Then and Now.  

The Cinema and Censorship Then and Now program includes combining classes of journalism and film students, learning in collaboration. The students in these classes worked on Instagram memes that expressed their views about film censorship. The student memes will be displayed at the First Amendment Forum.  

The Cinema and Censorship Then and Now program also included a double-feature movie screening of two banned films held on April 6 in the Armer Theater. The films had been banned due to content, but were screened and discussed by the students in the censorship program.   

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