Grrrl in Focus: Sharon Mooney

Mooney - Grrrl in Focus: Sharon Mooney

To celebrate Women’s History Month, LMU is presenting Grrrls on Film, a free festival featuring films and music from groundbreaking female artists on March 18, 19 and 20. The event borrows its name from the riot grrrl movement of the 1990s, which fused the Do-It-Yourself credo of punk with Third Wave Feminism’s call for self-determination. Loglines spoke to one of the masterminds behind the festival, SFTV’s own Clinical Assistant Professor Sharon Mooney.

You and Assistant Professor of Journalism and New Media Evelyn McDonnell — with the help of a few other LMU professors and community members — are producing the upcoming Grrrls on Film festival. How did you two come together on this? Last spring I demoed an editing program in one of Evelyn’s journalism classes. As Evelyn and I started talking more, we realized we shared a common interest in punk film and music. We started with a smaller event, but it grew organically, especially as we started discussing it with others across the University. It has been really inspiring to see so many departments and classes helping us put together and execute this festival.

The festival will feature panels, discussions with filmmakers, and screenings of seminal films such as Decline of Western Civilization. How did you choose the films for this? Evelyn and I wrote up a huge list of films and directors whose work we wanted to show, then narrowed it down to what was actually doable. We wanted to show a combination of classics, new films and some rare titles. We also wanted a range of genres — narrative, documentary, animation and experimental. There is one hybrid film/performance that we’re really looking forward to: In Search of Margo-go. This was a lost film starring the filmmaker Jill Reiter, Kathleen Hanna of Bikini Kill and Iraya Robles. The feature film was never made, so the performance around the film is a live reading of the rest of the script. Although this has been performed before, each live reading of it has a different cast. We would like to thank the College of Fine Arts for supporting this event.

You speak about how punk and DIY influenced you as a young woman and filmmaker. What do you hope that students and young artists will take away from the festival? Through this community, I discovered my own voice and perspective, which are both important for any filmmaker or artist to create meaningful work. As far as passing along that mindset to students and young artists, I want everyone to develop their own unique voices, and I want them to know there is support to do so.

What are you most looking forward to during the festival? Born in Flames and Golden Chain is a block I’m really looking forward to. I have a lot of love for Born in Flames. I can’t say it was a foundational film for me as a young person — I first saw it much later — but it was one of those films that made me revisit the feminist ideas that shaped me early on. The film is based on a short story written by a very influential person in my life, Ed Bowes. He was one of the people who reviewed and accepted my application to graduate school, and therefore changed the trajectory of my life. Lizzie Borden wrote the screenplay based on his story. I am so excited to meet her, as she is coming to speak about her film. I paired this with Golden Chain, an animated short film set in a Nigerian space station in the distant future. This really beautiful film is inspired by the Yoruba creation story. The films explore similar ideas about creating a new world, regardless of the unknown.

I don’t get to go see music too much anymore, so I’m really excited about Sunday’s live event. Thanks to the DJ’s and General Manager at KXLU for organizing it. Plus, we’ll have a pop up vintage shop, the Hannon library is running zine making table, food trucks – the entire festival is something Evelyn and I are very proud of.

What are you currently working on? I just finished an editorial video for the Washington Post where I got to spend the Super Bowl with one of my favorite comedians – that was a lot of fun. I’m editing a short film called Helpless, about a son coming to terms with his mother’s illness, and I’m hoping to find some time to edit a video art piece I shot last summer. I’m also raising my most amazing little boy, so most of my time is dedicated to him. He’ll be at the live show Sunday.

For a full-line up and to RSVP click here.