Sophia’s SWAN Day 2020: Directing

Looking for stuff to do while you’re at home? Never fear! SWAN Day has gone virtual for 2020. Our FF2 team has gathered recommendations of films celebrating women artists across many categories. And of course, the films are made by women, too! Watch and read at your leisure, or collect all of them to have a marathon on the official SWAN Day weekend of March 28.

Ask for Jane, featuring director Rachel Carey

Ask for Jane, directed by Rachel Carey, is a film about the “Abortion Seven”, a society of women who fought for abortion rights. Injuries and deaths that resulted from the illegalization of abortions sparked some to find a safe passage for women to have the procedure. The story follows the efforts and struggles of the group of “Janes” while they bring accessible abortions to those who need them. The film has won awards in the best feature film category in festivals such as the Big Apple Film Festival, Screenplay Competition, and Omaha Film Festival.

In Ask for Jane, Rachel Carey worked closely with actors and some of the original “Abortion 7” to make sure the message and the story was clear and true. All the facts in this film are correct according to the original members, which makes the film more powerful and inspiring to watch. It is helpful and informative to those who don’t know much about the history of abortion, and shines a much needed light on the severity and importance of the freedom of abortion for women, while also keeping the viewer entertained with some light-hearted moments.

The first time I watched Ask for Jane was at the Athena Film Festival, located in New York. In a place already filled with feminism and an inspirational atmosphere for woman’s power, Rachel Carey’s film played to a full audience. Cait Courtelyou, a Barnard alum, had the original idea for Ask for Jane and worked closely with the director and screenwriter. 

In a movie like Ask for Jane, the director plays a crucial role in uniting all the cast members and helping them access their backgrounds and motivations. As a conductor would oversee the dynamics, tone, and overall feel of a piece of music using the instrumentalists as their tool, a director does the same with their actors. Some might say that it is especially impressive to see a woman take on all such responsibilities of a director, but I would disagree. Of course, she is allowed her praise for doing a good job, as Rachel Carey did, but there is nothing special about it. It is equally as commendable to successfully direct a movie for a female as it is for a male. However, within today’s society, there are many challenges that a woman has to overcome in order to achieve her dream in directing a film. These hurdles are ultimately what make works directed by artists like Rachel Carey particularly notable.

Rachel Carey is a writer, director, and filmmaker based in New York. Ask for Jane is her first feature film as a writer and director, which was premiered across several festivals in 2018. The beginning of her film career started when she worked for Artisan Entertainment. She continued at “Good Machine” as a casting assistant. Carey had also directed many plays for the New York theater company The Shelter. Alongside film and theater, she has also written a novel, Debt, which was published in 2013 and was optioned to become a tv series by Ellen Pompeo’s production company “Calamity Jane.” Rachel Carey also wrote and directed an hour-long dramatic TV pilot Takers, which has been screened at several film festivals such as Seriesfest, where it won Best Actress in a drama, and the Hoboken Film Festival, where it was nominated for Best Pilot. Her new play, The Female Genius, is being developed by Thirdwing Media for web and live performances in 2020.

To stream it:

Read FF2’s review of the film here:

Photo: Cody Horn as “Janice” in Ask for Jane.

Photo credits: Jordan Rose Donohue

SWAN Day Poster Design: Emma Werowinski

© Sophia Jin (03/19/2020) FF2 Media

Tags: Ask for Jane, Rachel Carey

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Sophia is currently a student of classical music. She joined FF2 Media in 2018, and loves working with everyone on the team because not only does it promote women's roles in films, it also opens her up to more works done by women. Sophia is so glad that there is a space that is full of women alike in their passion to bring more attention to females who are just as capable or even more capable than men in the industry.
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