Miranda July’s ‘90s Feminist Film Archive Is Finally Available

by Aoife Riach


The Getty Research Institute in LA announced today that they have acquired Joanie 4 Jackie, an archive of DIY feminist short movies and video art, distributed in the ‘90s and ‘00s by indie artist and filmmaker Miranda July. July was active in the Riot Grrrl scene in Portland in the ‘90s and started the project as a “Chainletter Tape” handing out pamphlets asking budding artists and filmmakers to send her their self-made movies. A movie and $5 bought the artists a copy of and inclusion in a 10-movie VHS tape called the “Big Miss Moviola” compilation, later named “Joanie4Jackie”.

Screenshot 2017 01 30 at 15.48.06The Velvet Chainletter – Booklet. Designed by Miranda July. via joanie4jackie.com

July has donated the archive to The Getty; it includes videos, documentation and print materials. July started the project in 1995 as a response to the lack of representation of women and stories relevant to women’s lives in mainstream movies. She described the concept as “
A Challenge and A Promise: Lady, u send me yr movie + $5.00 & I’ll send you the latest Big Miss Moviola compilation (that’s 10 lady-made movies including yrs.)

Director of the Getty Research Institute, Thomas W. Gaehtgens, said in a statement, “Miranda July is one of the most important voices of her generation, with an expansive practice that incorporates fine art, filmmaking, performance, literature, and technology. This major archive from early in her career is an esteemed addition to our Special Collections that connects to work by many important 20th-century artists who are also represented in our archives, such as Eleanor Antin, Yvonne Rainer, and Carolee Schneemann. Anyone studying the interdisciplinary practices of contemporary feminist artists and scholars will no doubt find the Joanie 4 Jackie archive incredibly valuable.”

Screenshot 2017 01 30 at 16.05.43Big Miss Moviola booklet, front. Xeroxed booklet, 1997. 8.5″ x 11″ folded in half. Designed by Miranda July and Julia Bryan-Wilson. via joanie4jackie.com

Joanie 4 Jackie was featured in Sassy and Seventeen magazines, and July was interviewed for BUST in the late ’90s. and drew huge interest from young women who wanted to see movies made by other girls. July traveled the US, screening Joanie 4 Jackie movies and inviting audiences to make their own short film in the intermission.

Glenn Phillips, curator and head of modern & contemporary collections at the Getty Research Institute said: “The Joanie 4 Jackie Archive represents a tremendously significant early project in the work of a distinguished artist, but also an important moment at the start of third-wave feminism.”

top photo: Me and You and Everyone We Know 

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Founded in 1993, BUST is the inclusive feminist lifestyle trailblazer offering a unique mix of humor, female-focused entertainment, uncensored personal stories, and candid reporting that tells the truth about women’s lives.

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