On Saturday morning I had the great pleasure of being part of the conversation about women in fandom marshalled by documentary filmmaker Dr. Annalise Ophelian—the mighty force behind the upcoming fandom documentary Looking for Leia. Panelists included: Christina Cato, 501st Legion member and BB-8 builder; Pat Yolo, Assistant Jedi Temple Master and founder of the My Little Pony Jedi; Linda Hansen-Raj of Fangirl Blog; Maggie Nowalowska, an elder stateswoman of fandom and curator of early 80’s printed fanzines; and Jamala Henderson, a Seattle radio personality, newscaster, and lifelong fan (she can hum the entire soundtrack!).
Christina Cato poses with the BB-8 she’s building.
Each of the women on the panel came to Star Wars at different times in their life and they focus and express their fandom in different ways but the one overriding theme of the panel and the morning was that Star Wars “has never been a boy thing”. Cato mentioned that she has more than once encountered male fans declaring “I’ve never met a girl who likes Star Wars as much as you.” Her deadpan reply: “Yes you have.” Continue reading
Here at Tosche Station, we’re always happy to see excellent projects that promote women’s involvement in fandom and Looking for Leia is one that most definitely does so. Director Annalise Orphelian aims to tell the stories of the women in the Star Wars fandom through this documentary. In her own words:
LOOKING FOR LEIA is a feature documentary film that explores the phenomenon of Star Wars “fangirls,” women and girls who connect deeply to the galaxy far, far away and are unique in the stereotypically male Nerd arena. The film reaches beyond Princess Leia to look at how female fans have shaped and expanded the Star Wars Universe, and how these stories speak to experiences of gender resilience and resistance.
We’re featuring an intergenerational and culturally diverse group of female fans, as well as women who are film buffs and cultural scholars, cosplayers and gamers, artists and authors. We’re talking to women in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math); women who use Star Wars in the classroom; women whose career path was shaped by Star Wars; women whose love of Star Wars has helped them battle cancer and live with disability and mental illness; mothers, daughters, and sisters in Star Wars families; women who are rebels and royalty, imperials, bounty hunters, and Jedi. Every generation has a Star Wars story, and we’re hearing about the original trilogy, prequels, animated series, comics, Extended Universe/Legends, video games, new trilogy, stand-alone films, and conventions.
The project filmed a little at the Drowning in Moonlight Gala at Celebration and we cannot wait to see what else they’ll do. The Kickstarter is in its final days and still needs your help. You have until 2:59 ET on Saturday, June 24th to back the project and we cannot encourage you enough to do so as it would be a shame if this project doesn’t move forward.