St. John’s Church and Community Safety Network launch film series

JACKSON HOLE, WYO – St. John’s Episcopal Church and the Community Safety Network are launching a community film mini-series called “Reframing the Lens: Changing the Way We Watch.”

The series kicks off this weekend with the first showing, Crazy Rich Asians.

Schedule:

  • First film – Sunday, January 13, 4:30 – 7:00pm: Crazy Rich Asians
  • Second film – Sunday, February 10, 4:30 – 7:00pm: Love, Simon
  • Third film – March date at the theater, film is to be determined based on what is showing.

Bring a friend, a parent, guardian or just yourself. This series is free and open to everyone 13 and up. Popcorn and other snacks will be provided. A light discussion will follow each film based on the social norms that arise while we explore how these roles might affect our daily lives.

All screenings will be held at St. John’s Church at 170 N. Glenwood St. in Hansen Hall. For the March film, after the viewing at Movieworks (or the Twin Cinema) attendees are invited back to the parish hall for the discussion.

Karin Waidley, Director of Prevention and Education for Community Safety Network, spent 15 years in this work as a Professor of Communication Arts and the Director of the Theatre Program at Western State Colorado University (Western) in Gunnison, Colorado where she taught Theatre, Film and Communication Theory. Her general areas of expertise are in advocacy and social justice, engaging diverse populations with theatre to build awareness and for community engagement.

The film series was part inspired by a Neil Postman book from 1985 called Amusing Ourselves to Death. This work was amazingly prescient about today’s mainstream filmmaking—Postman looked then at how we consume media passively and accept its messages without a discerning approach, especially messages that marginalize, oppress and absent certain populations who are historically missing or misrepresented in mainstream filmmaking.

Waidley said, “This is even more prevalent today with our personal, decontextualized and hyper-abbreviated communication and other technologies that feed in to what we see repeatedly in the media. Our hope is to increase media literacy—to not necessarily take away from the entertaining aspects of films but to help us as consumers of ‘hot media’ to be able to deconstruct messaging that has become normalized.”

This is not the first time that St. John’s has collaborated with Community Safety Network to bring films to the community. In May 2018, the nonprofit organizations paired with facilitator Jeff Bucholtz to bring the community an offering called: “A Safe Place to See, Speak and Share.”

Crazy Rich Asians was chosen as a discussion-starter to explore ways of overturning stereotypes in cinema, including gender roles and ethnic diversity. The film grossed $238 million worldwide, making it the highest-grossing romantic comedy in a decade. Speaking of romantic comedies, Waidley said that these films are also great to investigate. Rom-coms cast women as the protagonist and hero, yet the male counterpart’s role or career might hold a higher status, not equal in terms of the power dynamic.

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