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DIY Queen Sarah Jacobson
Jul 15-16, 2017 in San Francisco
A Benefit for the Sarah Jacobson Film Grant

Born in Connecticut in 1971, raised in New Jersey and Minneapolis, Sarah Jacobson became known as the “DIY Queen” of underground film in the 1990s and early 2000s, known for her tireless self-promotion and support for fellow filmmakers. Jacobson studied with George Kuchar at the San Francisco Art Institute, where she completed the short “I Was a Teenage Serial Killer” (1993), considered by critic Ed Halter, writing in the Village Voice, to be “…a key film of that decade’s angrily subversive underground cinema.” Her breakout feature “Mary Jane’s Not a Virgin Anymore” premiered at the Chicago Underground Film Festival and screened at the Sundance Film Festival to sold-out audiences in 1997.
With her mother and producer Ruth Jacobson, Jacobson formed Station Wagon Productions and toured cross-country (in a station wagon) in order to promote and distribute her films. She was screened at film festivals and underground film venues around the world, including the New York Underground Film Festival and South by Southwest. Outspoken in their praise of Jacobson’s work were film critics Roger Ebert and Amy Taubin, filmmaker Allison Anders, and Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth. Since Jacobson’s death in 2004, retrospectives and screenings of her work have been organized at the Walker Art Center (Minneapolis), Small Change (Philadelphia), Spectacle (Brooklyn), BAMcinématek (Brooklyn), Union Docs (Brooklyn), the Northwest Film Forum (Seattle) and elsewhere.

The Sarah Jacobson Film Grant, established by Ruth Jacobson and collaborator Sam Green in Jacobson’s memory, offers annual grants to female, transgender, genderqueer, or gender non-conforming filmmakers whose work embodies some of the things that Sarah Jacobson stood for: a fierce DIY approach to filmmaking, a radical social critique, and a thoroughly underground sensibility.

ATA is proud to present an evening dedicated to Jacobson’s short films. Sarah’s sister Lee Jacobson will be in attendance to talk a bit about Sarah and her film making.

Proceeds will go toward the Sarah Jacobson Film Grant. Find out more about the grant at http://freehistoryproject.org/sarah-jacobson-film-grant.

PROGRAM
Total run time: 67 min.
Programmed by SJFG co-coordinator Katie Bradshaw

Man or Astroman? – Spferic Waves (music video)
3 min., 1996
Music video of space-surf band Man or Astroman?. Filmed in Alabama, the video features Pixelvision storm footage and cosmic riffs.

High School Reunion
16 min., 2003
Jacobson attends her ten-year high school reunion in Edina, Minnesota a year following Mary Jane’s film debut. Now armed with a video-camera (which stays mainly in night-vision mode), Jacobson candidly interviews her old classmates as they mingle awkward and tipsy under a giant screen projecting their senior class photos.

Bra Shopping
11 min., 2002
Rarely shown publicly and filmed in Pixelvision, Bra Shopping chronicles a trip to Southdale Mall as Jacobson shops for a new bra. She explains, “I’m taking a break from shooting my new film Mary Jane’s Not a Virgin Anymore, and the whole time I was shooting I had only one bra, just one bra. It was a nightmare. And at the end of shooting I put it in the dryer by mistake and it blew up.” With Ruth by her side, Sarah visits with the bra sales ladies and chats about what’s “all the rage,” i.e. the Wonder Bra.

Road Movie or What I Learned in a Buick Station Wagon
10 min., 1991
An autobiographical early short, Road Movie follows a college filmmaker’s journey from Minneapolis to New York. Fed up with off-base critique, she decides to leave school behind to go make films her own way.

I Was a Teenage Serial Killer
27 min., 1993
Mary, 19, “has a series of run-ins with various condescending men.” Set to a soundtrack of Heavens to Betsy and Charles Manson recitations, Mary gets her revenge. Part goofy slasher, part assertive, intelligent critique of our misogynistic culture, Teenage Serial Killer succeeds at being both gross and cathartic. It was aptly described by Ed Halter as “a key film of that decade’s angrily subversive underground cinema.”

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