Synopsis of Miss Representation
Written and directed by Jennifer Siebel Newsom, Miss Representation exposes how mainstream media and culture contribute to the under-representation of women in positions of power and influence in America.
The film draws back a curtain to reveal a glaring reality we live with every day but fail to see – how the media’s limited and often disparaging portrayals of women and girls makes it difficult for women to feel powerful and achieve leadership positions.
In a society where media is the most persuasive force shaping cultural norms, the collective message we receive is that a woman’s value and power lie in her youth, beauty, and sexuality, and not in her capacity as a leader. While women have made great strides in leadership over the past few decades, the United States is 75th among 193 countries when it comes to women in the national legislature. And it’s not better outside of government. Women make up only 7.4% of Fortune 500 CEOs and 21% of directors, executive producers, writers, cinematographers, and editors working on the top 250 domestic grossing films.
Stories from teenage girls and provocative interviews with politicians, journalists, entertainers, activists, and academics, like Katie Couric, Rosario Dawson, Gloria Steinem, Margaret Cho, Condoleezza Rice, Rachel Maddow, and Nancy Pelosi, build momentum as Miss Representation accumulates startling facts and statistics that will leave the audience shaken, but armed with a new perspective.
Awards for Miss Representation
- Official selection Sundance Film Festival
- Official Selection Atlanta Film Festival
- Official Selection Dallas Film Festival
- Official selection Denver Film Festival
- Movies Matter Award Maui Film Festival
- Official Selection New Zealand Film Festival
- Official Selection Newport Beach Film Festival
- Audience Award Palo Alto Film Festival
- Official Selection SilverDocs Film Festival
- Official Selection San Francisco Film Festival
- Audience Award Sonoma Film Festival
The Team Behind Miss Representation
Jennifer Siebel Newsom
Writer, Director, & Producer
Jennifer Siebel Newsom is a filmmaker, CEO, advocate, and thought leader. After graduating with honors from Stanford University and Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, she wrote, directed, and produced the 2011 award-winning documentary Miss Representation. As a result of Miss Representation’s powerful impact, she launched The Representation Project, a nonprofit organization that uses film and media as a catalyst for cultural transformation. Her second film as a director, The Mask You Live In, had its world premiere at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival and explores how America’s narrow definition of masculinity is harming boys, men, and society at large. She also executive produced the Emmy Award-Winning and Academy Award-Nominated documentary The Invisible War, and is an executive producer on the documentary The Hunting Ground. She is currently in production on her third film, The Great American Dream. When she is not running The Representation Project and making documentaries, she serves as a Global Advisory Board member of the Dove Self Esteem Project, co-chair of We Day California, a commissioner on the Girl Scouts’ Healthy Media Commission, and on the Advisory Council for the Imagine Kids Bus Project. She resides in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, and their four young children.
Jessica Congdon was a co-writer and editor for The Mask You Live In. She co-directed and edited Race to Nowhere by Vicki Abeles. She edited Speed & Angels directed by Peyton Wilson, Motherland directed by Jennifer Steinman, the 2003 award-winning Sundance film Dopamine directed by Mark Decena, and the Columbia Tri-Star feature film Big Girls Don’t Cry directed by Maria von Heland. She is a founding editor of Umlaut Films. She received her BA from UC Berkeley and studied film at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and two young children.
Julie Costanzo is a producer of film, television, documentaries, commercials, and web content. Her work has included The Virgin Suicides, written and directed by Sofia Coppola, the PBS documentary series Adventure Divas, and upcoming feature films The Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing, based on the New York Times Best Seller, and The Last Man Standing, based on the life and times of Geronimo Pratt.
Original Music/Sound Supervisor
Eric Holland is a composer who has been working with music and sound for over 20 years. Past projects include the documentaries The Mask You Live In, Desert Runners, Speed & Angels, Motherland, and Rabbit Fever; the PBS/Sundance Channel series e2 – The Economies of Being Environmentally Conscious narrated by Brad Pitt; and commercial campaigns for Nokia and Blue Cross. He lives with his wife and two daughters in the Bay Area.
REGINA K. SCULLY
Regina K. Scully is the Founder/CEO of Artemis Rising Foundation, a nonprofit committed to projects in media, education, the arts and spirit. She is executive producer of the Emmy, Peabody and Academy Award nominated film The Invisible War. She is also executive producer of more than 40 socially and culturally transformative films such as: Fed Up, The Mask You Live In, Alive Inside, Anita: Speaking Truth to Power, Brave Miss World, and The Hunting Ground. She is the founding sponsor of both the Robin Morgan Radio Show and The Athena Film Festival, NYC – created to promote leadership and talent among female artists. A national speaker, former journalist, and communications veteran, she is also founder/CEO of Rpr Marketing Communications, a premier marketing and brand PR agency in NYC, representing clients such as Johnson & Johnson, LVMH, and a variety of top consumer brands. She recently created and co-produced segments on PBS TV show Healing Quest about the transformational and healing power of trauma. She serves on the boards of Stanford Philanthropy and Civil Society; Harvard Women’s Leadership; the Representation Project; Project ALS, the Women’s Media Center, and VDay.org.
SARAH E. JOHNSON
Sarah E. Johnson is a philanthropist, conservationist, and an environmental and education activist. A former portfolio and operations manager for Franklin Templeton, she is active on the boards of St. Lawrence University, The Aspen Science Center, and Conservation International. Her philanthropy has financed the Law Students for Reproductive Justice and charities throughout Africa and India. Her social issue documentaries include Living in Emergency: Stories of Doctors without Borders and The Last Mountain. She founded the children’s clothing business, Spike & Annie.
Geralyn Dreyfous is an executive producer of the film who has a wide, distinguished background in the arts, has extensive experience in consulting in the philanthropic sector, and participates on numerous boards and initiatives. She is the founder of the Utah Film Center, a non-profit that curates free screenings and outreach programs for communities throughout Utah. In 2007, she co-founded Impact Partners Film Fund with Dan Cogan, bringing together financiers and filmmakers so that they can create great films that entertain audiences, enrich lives, and ignite social change. In 2013, she co-founded Gamechanger Films, the first for-profit film fund dedicated exclusively to financing narrative features directed by women. Her independent producing credits include the Academy Award winning Born Into Brothels, Emmy nominated The Day My God Died, Academy Award nominated and Emmy Award winning The Square, Academy Award nominated and Emmy Award winning The Invisible War, and multiple film festival winners such as Kick Like a Girl, In A Dream, Dhamma Brothers, Project Kashmir, Miss Representation, Connected, Anita, and The Crash Reel. She was honored with the International Documentary Association’s Amicus Award in 2013 for her significant contribution to documentary filmmaking. Variety recognized her in their 2014 Women’s Impact Report, highlighting her work in the entertainment industry.
Testimonials of Miss Representation
I would urge any parent, teacher – or media executive – to watch Miss Representation.Gillian Tett, Financial Times
Seventy-three percent of students said watching Miss Representation changed their opinion about the way in which women are represented in the media. After seeing the film, sixty-one percent of students reported speaking up when seeing or hearing something derogatory towards women.REACT to FILM Survey
Sharing Miss Representation with our employees was a powerful experience. The film. . .generated an active dialogue. . .and empowered our employees to speak out when they see things that need to change. This film raises critical issues facing our society today, and I would encourage other companies to become part of this important conversation.Tracy Layney, VP of Global HR Strategy, Technology & Operations, Gap, Inc.
As a [white] male in my 50’s [Miss Representation] made me painfully aware of the way we have mistreated women. . .our ‘male‘ collective behavior has created an. . .environment marked by a lack of integrity, fairness, and professionalism. This, in my opinion, is an environment that must change. I feel the need to be one male that steps forward to help with that change. Did I enjoy this? Not really. Did I need this exposure? Absolutely. More men need to be exposed to this film. Too many men like myself have gone far too long without seeing both sides of the themes brought forward in Miss Representation. Time for us to wake up.Employee at Charles Schwab Screening, Denver, CO
This powerful movie [Miss Representation] is not only educational, it’s entertaining, sometimes shocking, and really quite inspiring. Since our screening, I’ve heard a viewer talk about starting a media literacy campaign in her local community, another plans to run for office, and countless others plan to share this film with their friends, families, and most importantly, teenage daughters and sons. It’s more than a movie; it’s starting a movement.Bonnie Buol Ruszczyk, Atlanta Independent Women’s Network
[Miss Representation] really helped me to better understand many of the difficulties women face today. It provides striking and insightful examples of inequalities suffered by women from the perspectives of both men and women.Meelap, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Student