I want to be Joan was made after Stephanie Beth 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 interviewed women who attended the conference but chose not to speak at the event. Amongst their testimony the film-maker interwove song and images 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.
Stephanie Beth is a film-maker based in Christchurch. 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.
Note: This film discusses domestic violence.