Project VoiceScape is a partnership with Adobe Youth Voices, PBS and POV to mentor today’s best young documentary filmmakers. Keep up with news from the filmmakers and their mentors on the Project VoiceScape blog.
Julia Levy is in a rush to finish her Project VoiceScape film before leaving for college at the end of the summer. A first draft of The Fifth Star was completed during her participation in Reel Grrls, an organization focused on teaching filmmaking skills to girls in the Seattle area. Reel Grrls is an Adobe Youth Voices partner site, and it was through this connection that Julia first learned about the Project VoiceScape competition.
The Fifth Star tells the story of women’s suffrage in Washington State. The title is a reference to the suffragist practice of sewing a star on an American flag for each state that recognized women’s right to vote. Washington was the fifth state in the Union to pass women’s suffrage legislation, making Washington the fifth star on the suffragist flag.
Julia was inspired to make her film last summer, as the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in Washington State drew near. Julia was surprised at how little coverage the anniversary was receiving in mainstream media, and wanted to make a documentary to reach out to teens like herself, who were unaware of the struggle for women’s suffrage.
“So far, Project VoiceScape has been a whirlwind!” says Julia, who passed up a summer program focused on media justice in order to complete her film. “I’m really glad I got this opportunity. I’ve learned so much throughout this program.”
With the expert guidance of her Project VoiceScape mentors, Rose Rosenblatt & Marion Lipschutz (Live Free or Die, The Education of Shelby Knox), Julia has extended her film, conducting additional interviews and adding archival footage to enrich the visual experience.
“I hope my audience will understand that what women did mattered,” says Julia. “I want people to know that women fought for our rights and that women have to keep on fighting.”