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CALLING
ALL ALUMS 

PLEASE CONTACT
MARY BETH ROSS
SO SHE CAN ADD 
YOUR STORY TO
SUBSEQUENT PAGES
OR EVEN POSSIBLE
SEQUELS.

Director's Statement

The over-arching motivation for making this film is the current political climate, which feels at times like the repressive 1950s. So many of the opportunities that women gained during the Women's Movement in the 1970s seem threatened, and I wanted to recapture the spirit of those times. More narrowly and specifically, Kate Millett's death in 2017 reminded me I was getting older too, and if the story of The Women's Writer's Center was worth recording, I needed to do it soon. So I approached some of the alums with whom I'd stayed in touch over the decades with a simple concept: we'd talk on camera about how we met, both one another and a lot of famous writers in Cazenovia, NY. It was a kind of sentimental riff on the reunion in The Big Chill, only ours would be The Big Warm and Fuzzy. 
Yet in gathering material, I learned that some misleading assertions had been circulating about how The Women's Writer's Center started and what it in fact was. It was not a program of Cazenovia College, nor was it just an ad hoc  women's writing workshop. It seemed important to correct the record, if only to acknowledge my debt to the several men who had helped along the way. That more-historical basis for the film led me to reconnect with Rita Speicher and Marian Roth in Provincetown--the former of whom sharpened my sense of the historical importance of the story as we co-wrote the opening, and the latter of whom donated over 100 archival images of the 20 or so established women writers who accepted weeklong teaching gigs at WWC between 1975-1982. Sisterhood felt Powerful once again.
 Although in the film the past is presented in b&w, and the present in color, the Visiting Faculty are always introduced by their 1970s publications in color, both because books are timeless, and in order for the film's audience to better recognize those books later in a library or on a bookstore shelf.


This film is a cinematic Mount Rushmore to Second Wave feminism's writers, and serves as a reminder that it only takes a determined few to make positive historical change—in this case, by nudging the canon of contemporary American literature toward greater gender balance.

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