Home » Posts tagged 'Julie Gustafson'

  • [Desire: Julie’s Mother]

    [Desire: Julie’s Mother]

    Videomaker Julie Gustafson and her teenaged subject/collaborator Cassandra Swaing show Julie’s mother footage from the documentary Desire, featuring Cassandra (as well as Cassandra’s own videos), in which Julie discusses her own life, including her marriage and her abortions. 00:36 Julie sits on the floor prepping the television and her microphone while her mother and Cassandra wait in the kitchen.  05:14 Julie explains to her mother that she wants to show her two scenes from the film that are more about her … Continue reading

  • [Pursuit of Happiness: Molly Rush]

    [Pursuit of Happiness: Molly Rush]

    Raw footage of an interview with activist Molly Rush for the video Pursuit of Happiness, produced and directed by Julie Gustafson and John Reilly.    00:15 Activist Molly Rush, curly haired with big glasses, rides through a snow-covered city in the backseat of a car. Camera operator Julie Gustafson sits in the front passenger seat while shooting Molly, who is giving directions to the driver and making small talk.  03:45 In response to a question from Julie, Molly discusses the history of … Continue reading

  • [Giving Birth: Margaret Mead Tape 2]

    [Giving Birth: Margaret Mead Tape 2]

    An interview with cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead. 00:24 Mead discusses the effects of anesthetizing the mother and removing the possibility of breastfeeding on a baby, including on the next generation.  02:10 Mead ascribes this to men “[taking] over childbirth” and turning it into a profession that is convenient for the doctor rather than the mother or the baby.  03:25. Discussions of myths expression jealousy or suspicion towards women’s reproductive capacity, as well as the professionalization of birthing and the various … Continue reading

  • [The Pursuit of Happiness: Ida May and George Petsock]

    [The Pursuit of Happiness: Ida May and George Petsock]

    An interview conducted at the home of elderly couple Ida May and George Petsock. George is a superintendent of prisons in Pittsburgh, PA, and his career has often interfered with his home life, including frequent moves around the state.    00:00 Working in human services, George says that he typically takes them home with him, worrying about their situation and their sorrows.  01:25 George describes vacations and other things that he’s missed out on because of his job. 02:30 Ida … Continue reading

  • [Casting the First Stone raw footage]

    [Casting the First Stone raw footage]

    Footage taken at an anti-abortion demonstration for the documentary Casting the First Stone, directed by Julie Gustafson. Includes an interview with Frances Sheehan and a press conference with Randall Terry. 00:23 Demonstrators sing “Glory Glory Hallelujah” as they sit outside of the Suburban Women’s Clinic in Paoli, PA, blocking the entrance. The police arrive. 02:27 Police begin arresting demonstrators for criminal trespassing, removing them one by one on stretchers. The other demonstrators remain seated and continue singing hymns. 10:16 Frances Sheehan, … Continue reading

  • Desire


    Independent videomaker, Julie Gustafson, invites a diverse group of teenage girls from New Orleans to make autobiographical videos exploring their developing sexuality and identity. An unprecedented long-term collaboration, DESIRE weaves together the girls’ video work, the stories of their changing lives, as well as the family, social and economic contexts in which their desires and choices are shaped.

    The film begins in a primarily African-American housing project named ‘Desire’ and follows the lives of teenagers across diverse racial, political, class, and cultural backgrounds. Cassandra, Kimeca, Tracy, Peggy, and Tiffinie collaborate to tell their own stories of struggle and wrestling with questions of sexual identity, body image, family, future plans, and the pressures of finding one’s way in the world. As the film unfolds over the next five years, DESIRE honors each of the young women’s challenges and achievements, making clear that their ‘choices’ are linked not just to hopes and dreams, but to actual educational and economic opportunity– too often tinged with the racial disadvantage. In one remarkable scene, Kimeca, turns the camera on Gustafson, prompting her to share her own story of teenage pregnancy and the difficult decisions she made about abortion.

    As John Anderson from Variety said: “Top-flight editing and a pace that never falters help “Desire” movingly tell the stories of its five subjects.” Justin Lane Briggs of The New School concurs: “The films the girls make themselves are shockingly honest and revealing…The result is a poignant and moving work, which stirs up a massive cloud of thoughts and issues without ever settling on one side of them… Cassandra and Tiffanie will haunt your dreams.
    Continue reading

  • Casting the First Stone

    Casting the First Stone

    Set against the background of the Supreme Court’s historic decisions on women’s reproductive rights, this documentary looks at the abortion controversy through the eyes of six women activists on both sides of the barricades in Paoli, PA. CASTING THE FIRST STONE focuses on six women who regularly confront each other from opposite sides of the picket line. Three believe that abortion should be an inalienable right. The other three believe it constitutes murder. Shelley Miller, director of a Paoli, PA women’s health clinic, endures constant harassment from anti-abortion groups camped outside the clinic’s doors. Joan Scalia, a Catholic and mother of six, defies her husband to join the most audacious of these anti-abortion groups called Operation Rescue. Sharon Owens, a clinic counselor, minister’s wife and adoptive mother of three, is closer to the middle. She cannot decide when human life “begins,” but feels a religious obligation as a Christian “to be in the place where hard decisions are being made.” Chronicling the daily lives of these and other women, director Julie Gustafson visits anti-abortion blockades, counseling sessions, a visit with a young mother whom protestors persuaded to have her baby, and Planned Parenthood’s emergency board meetings following the Supreme Court’s 1989 Webster v. Missouri decision that allowed states to deny some of the protections set by Roe v. Wade. Appearances include Randall Terry of Operation Rescue, Bill Baird, a longtime pro-choice activist and Faye Wattleton of Planned Parenthood.

    CASTING THE FIRST STONE makes clear that the conflict over abortion is not just political but also about the role and the rights of women in society. Clinic counselors, shaped by first wave feminist activism of the 1960s and 70s argue they are not promoting abortion but are “providing women with choices.” Other pro-life women reply, “You know what offends me about feminists? They say they are speaking for me.” Continue reading

  • The Trial of the Avco Plowshares

    The Trial of the Avco Plowshares

    In July 1983, seven United States citizens entered AVCO Systems Division, a manufacturing plant for MX and Pershing II missiles in Wilmington, Massachusetts. They threw blood on blueprints and computers to protest the buildup of nuclear arms. AVCO PLOWSHARES documents the ensuring trial, which includes dramatic testimony on civil disobedience and the question if a greater moral imperative exists beyond the letter of the law. Acting on their own behalf, the defendants argued “the justification defense” to claim their duty as citizens to warn of impending nuclear threats. Jean Hollady, a nurse and mother of four, asks those in the courtroom to picture the threat of one MX missile, containing ten warheads, representing “the equivalent of 260 Hiroshimas.” Frank Panopoulos, an anti-poverty worker, explains, “we were there so these weapons will not be made.” John Schuchardt, a former Marine and an attorney, ask the jury, “in light of weapons with the (equivalent power) of 335,000 pickup trucks full of TNT… please tell me what I could have done.” Expert witnesses and commentators from retired Rear Admiral Gene LaRocque, Daniel Berrigan, and George Wald concur that because of anti-Soviet weapons in Europe, nuclear war could be “eight minutes away.” Howard Zinn says in defense, “creative, inventive, dedicated action is needed by Americans in this courtroom and everywhere else to prevent that risk to the world.”

    Despite permission to film this trial for broadcast, the presiding judge, Edward M. Viola, restricted distribution to educational venues after screening the work-in-progress. Continue reading

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