The Raising Ms. President premiere which happened Tuesday night at the Brown Theater in downtown Louisville raised a lot of interest and sparked up dialogue and conversations amongst the audience who attended. The documentary premiered in Louisville on February 25 to a huge turnout, and an audience of all genders, race, ages, and walks of life. Those who viewed the documentary embodied the kind of diversity that the film’s commentary and purpose envision.
My daughter and I were in attendance and we thoroughly enjoyed the film by local director, writer, and producer Kiley Lane Parker. Introductions and opening remarks prior to the film’s debut were given by Fund for the Arts President Barbara Sexton Smith. Two female youth of Louisville gave speeches on their involvement with Girl Scouts and LGL; both were extremely articulate speakers and were very impressive at their young ages. The film is a documentary style piece of work; many people in fields of political science, social science, education, and social services were interviewed about their opinions on the gender divide that is still present between the male dominated run for political office versus their female counterparts who are less likely to run for office. Many facts and statistics were given throughout the film that were eye opening and unnerving.
The journey through the documentary as it went throughout the country, interviewing female leaders in California, Washington, D.C., Kansas, Missouri, and right here in Louisville, Kentucky was magnificent. I was enthralled by the dialogue these strong women gave, many of whom have families and work as mothers in their political, tireless work. It was a breath of fresh air to see women as such strong advocates for their own work and success, although as we learned throughout the film it is still such a minority. The film’s spirit and passionate purpose is to of course, break through that minority that still persists and engage young girls, empowering them to pursue fields of political office. Hearing the young girls and women tackle their own opinions on what they think of female political roles and whether they see themselves in that role in their own futures was so encouraging. The work that women throughout the country are doing with young females in organizations such as Ignite and Running Start is phenomenal and a testimony to a change in dialogue for this mission that is “raising the next generation of female political leaders.”
On the way home from seeing the film, I asked my daughter, who is almost 11, her thoughts. She said parts of the film “upset her because it said that Kentucky was one of the worst places in the country to live for women and she didn’t like the remark that one of the reasons was for no freedom of choice.” She seemed really empowered by the thoughts she gained from the film to not take no for an answer as a career path in her future. I asked her what she thought of the young girls in the film and their words. She summarized how many of them “didn’t think it was fair and how hard it would be to be in government, and she also commented how far women have come since the age when women were not even allowed to vote in our country.” I was impressed with her thoughts and how seeing the film seemed to spark some interest in her to move forward as a young lady in the world and reach for her dreams. In reality, that’s what this film truly is all about.
Two closing thoughts that really struck me: one young female at the end of the film was the last to speak. Her words were an inspiration to all young girls. She said in summary, whatever you put your heart to, you can do. This beautiful quote of Maya Angelou’s was in the closing scene of the film: “I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. You’ve got to go out and kick ass.”
Louisville Girls Leadership and Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana led a panel discussion following the film; it was moderated by Director Kiley Lane Parker and included Councilwoman Attica Scott, CEO of Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana Lora Tucker, Congressional Candidate Elisabeth Jensen, President of Kentucky’s Republican Women’s Roundtable Gail Russell, and Representative Julie Raque Adams.
Some engaging tweets about the film after the premiere:
@SBelenky: “We need to encourage young girls to seek positions of leadership.”
@PNessleCurtis: “@atticascott, a Louisville treasure, on @RaisingMsPres panel tonight.”
@SSGedde: “Girl Scouts are great leaders: 70% of current women U.S. Senators were Girl Scouts!”
@GirlsScoutsKY: “We are inspired. Thank you for this film.”
@HollyPrather: “Wow!! Really impressed with @RaisingMsPres. A must see.”
Photo by Erin Nevitt