Why This Film?

This film is a long time coming. The Women’s Movement isn’t just about changing laws or challenging customs. It’s about awakening half the human race to full personhood and inspiring the other half to come to the dance. That’s a lot of cultural habit to liberate ourselves from. And we believe the most profound changes are the ones that come to us in personal ways.

Yesterday to Today

We want to bring those stories into the 21st century, to explore the dialogue of today with young women who still face many of the most profound barriers we faced 40 years ago.

The History

In the late ‘70s, Cynthia MacAdams, an actress turned photographer, was roaming the streets of Los Angeles and New York photographing women. She did it, she said, because something new was happening in women and she wanted to see if it showed up in photographs. Laurie Anderson, Anne Waldman, Gloria Steinem, Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, Kate Millett, Patti Smith, Michelle Phillips, Judy Chicago, Marisol Escobar, and Meredith Monk stopped what they were doing and looked into her lens. And many others, whose names and faces may not be so familiar but their struggle is — they stopped and looked too. And out of it came a book called EMERGENCE.

The Stories

From this moment in history, each woman tells of her personal experiences as a little girl, a teenager and a grown woman — stories of frustration, of limitations and of separation that one never forgets. We intercut these personal stories with footage from commercials, movies, news, music, television, the culture of the 50s & 60s and the culture NOW. Some things have changed, some remain the same. Some are even worse. Then for each woman, there is the very personal moment of awakening to her own precious sense of identity. And at the same time, there is the exhilarating challenge of the women's movement. As we go from the photos to the culture, scenes play off the women's private moments with humor, devastating reality, and even joy, building to the present moment.

The Questions

What has changed? What remains the same? Where are we now? How can this dialogue with history help women around the world?

Oh, and did we say it's personal?

Help Us Make This Important Film Happen!

Help us finish shooting our interviews — the personal stories that are the heart of the film. With the interviews, we can build the film around the cultural changes that are still happening today.

Donate - Feminists: What Were They Thinking?

Donate Today!

The Women

Gloria Steinem

Journalist/Activist

Lily Tomlin

Actor/Comedian

Michelle Phillips

Musician

Cynthia MacAdams

Photographer

Patti Smith

Musician

Jane Fonda

Actor

Kate Millett

Writer/Activist

Meredith Monk

Composer

Laurie Anderson

Artist

Among Others...

Help Us Make This Important Film Happen!

Help us finish shooting our interviews — the personal stories that are the heart of the film. With the interviews, we can build the film around the cultural changes that are still happening today.

Donate - Feminists: What Were They Thinking?

Donate Today!

Subscribe to Our Mailing List

Let us keep you in the loop!

* indicates required
Email Format

Our Amazing Team

Johanna Demetrakas

Johanna Demetrakas

Director

Cheryl Swannack

Cheryl Swannack

Executive Producer

Kate Amend

Kate Amend, ACE

Editor

Pablo Bryant

Pablo Bryant

Director of Photography

Kristy Tully

Kristy Tully

Director of Photography

Lisa Remington

Lisa Remington

Line Producer

Gretchen Landau

Gretchen Landau

Producer

Jeryl Jagoda

Jeryl Jagoda

Impact Producer

Bria Little

Bria Little

Assistant Editor

Zoie Harmon

Zoie Harmon

Research Assistant

This Film Speaks for Half the Planet

The women in this film took power over their own transformation and helped inspire a global shift in women’s identity.

“Feminism seems to be the scariest word in the English language. But not for those of us who experienced the game-changing awakening that was the Women’s Movement of the 1970s. Growing up in the fifties and sixties meant not only second class citizenship legally, but 2nd class human being-ship: not invited to the party of medicine, art, law, education, science, religion, except maybe as the secretary. Our film, FEMINISTS: What were they thinking? digs deep into our personal experiences of sexism and of liberation, and follows this ever-challenging dialogue right into the 21st century. We are taking it personally." — Johanna Demetrakas, Director

Help Us Make This Important Film Happen!

Help us finish shooting our interviews — the personal stories that are the heart of the film. With the interviews, we can build the film around the cultural changes that are still happening today.

Donate - Feminists: What Were They Thinking?

Donate Today!

Contact Us

Tell Us Your Story

Use this form to share your story. Subscribe to our mailing list.