Stephanie Beth is a film-maker based in Christchurch. In the mid-1970s she was amongst the first generation of fine arts students at Ilam School of Art to study film. Her first two films I want to be Joan (1977) and IN JOY (1980) are described as companion pieces, each seeking to portray the reality and potential of womens lives through a documentary lens.
I want to be Joan (1977) was made after she was shoulder-tapped as an undergraduate fine arts student who knew how to operate a 16mm camera, and asked to document a womens conference. The subsequent film interwove examples of painting and song by contemporary female artists into a 'talking heads' style documentary interviewing women at the conference who otherwise chose not to speak at the event. The testimony in the film was interspersed by song and shots of paintings by contemporary female artists, including Jacqueline Fraser. Following the production of the film Beth self-organised an 18 month screening tour of New Zealand in which she showed I want to be Joan 100 times in a variety of community locations across Aotearoa. As with the original conference, each screening was followed by a discussion in which only women were allowed to speak.
IN JOY (1980) was made at a workshop in Auckland in 1980 led by life coach Maggie Eyre and followed a group of women exploring play, costume and expression as an emancipatory tool for female empowerment. Beth's 2013 film Us and the Game Industry examined the world of independent game development. Stephanie Beth is currently developing new projects.
New Zealand Film Festival, Auckland
Alter/Image, City Gallery Wellington Te Whare Toi
Hong Kong Short Film Festival, Hong Kong
Oberhausen Short Film Festival, Germany
IN JOY, various locations, Aotearoa New Zealand
I want to be Joan, Thundering Through New Zealand tour, Various locations, Aotearoa New Zealand