Synopsis

The Mask You Live In follows boys and young men as they struggle to stay true to themselves while negotiating America’s narrow definition of masculinity.

Pressured by the media, their peer group, and even the adults in their lives, our protagonists confront messages encouraging them to disconnect from their emotions, devalue authentic friendships, objectify and degrade women, and resolve conflicts through violence. These gender stereotypes interconnect with race, class, and circumstance, creating a maze of identity issues boys and young men must navigate to become “real” men.

Experts in neuroscience, psychology, sociology, sports, education, and media also weigh in, offering empirical evidence of the “boy crisis” and tactics to combat it.

The Mask You Live In ultimately illustrates how we, as a society, can raise a healthier generation of boys and young men.

Awards

  • Official selection Sundance Film festival 2015
  • Official selection APHA Film festival 2015
  • Official selection Bentonville Film festival 2015
  • School Program Bergen Documentary Award
  • Official selection Cinequest Film festival 2015
  • Best Achievement Las Vegas Woman Director
  • Visionary Award Las Vegas Film festival 2015
  • Official Selection Napa Valley Film Festival 2015
  • Official selection San luis obispo Film festival 2015
  • Official selection SHEFFIELD Film festival 2015
  • Audience Award Side by Side LGBT Film Festival
  • Jury Press Award Side by Side LGBT Film Festival
  • Official selection Sonoma Film festival 2015
  • Official selection Woman + film Voices festival 2015

Film team

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

Writer, Editor, & Producer

Jessica Congdon was a writer and editor for Miss Representation. 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.

JESSICA ANTHONY

Producer

Jessica Anthony is a San Francisco-based producer with a broad background spanning live action, animation, and visual effects for both short and long form projects. With 20 years of experience, she has produced award-winning content for clients such as Nickelodeon, CTW, Universal, BBC, MTV, and Warner Brothers. In addition to producing, she also managed San Francisco Film Society’s FilmHouse, a widely renowned, innovative residency program that provides professional development opportunities to filmmakers at various stages in their career. She studied literature and film at Boston University and the University of Oregon and lives in the Bay Area with her husband and two kids.

JOHN BEHRENS

Cinematographer

John Behrens is an Oakland, CA-based cinematographer. He has a multi-disciplinary background in narrative feature, live music, commercials, TV documentary, corporate film, and documentary feature films. He uses various techniques to bring a richer visual style to the documentary form of filmmaking. His recent documentary features include: Watershed: Exploring a New Water Ethic for the New West, Spark: A Burning Man Story, Frontline: Death by Fire, and Miss Representation. Along with The Mask You Live In, he photographed portions of Racing Extinction.

ERIC HOLLAND

Composer

Eric Holland is a composer who has been working with music and sound for over 20 years. Past projects include the documentaries Miss Representation, 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.

ABIGAIL DISNEY

Executive Producer

Abigail Disney is a filmmaker, philanthropist, and activist based in New York City. She has pursued a wide array of activities in support of peace and non-violence particularly by advocating for the advancement of women’s roles in the public sphere. Her longtime passion for women’s issues and peace building led her to producing films. She has executive produced films that address various social issues, including Family Affair, Playground, Sun Come Up (Academy Award Nominee 2011, Best Documentary Short), Return, The Invisible War (Academy Award Nominee 2012, Best Documentary Feature), and Open Heart (Academy Award Nominee 2012, Best Documentary Short). She is also involved in several more films in various stages of development and production.

GERALYN DREYFOUS

Executive Producer

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.

SARAH E. JOHNSON

Executive Producer

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.

WENDY SCHMIDT

Executive Producer

Wendy Schmidt is the president of The Schmidt Family Foundation, where she works to advance the development of renewable energy and the wiser use of natural resources. The foundation houses its grant-making operation in The 11th Hour Project, which supports more than 150 nonprofit organizations in program areas including climate and energy, ecological agriculture, human rights, and our maritime connection. She also is the co-founder, with her husband Eric, of the Schmidt Ocean Institute, which in 2012 launched the research vessel Falkor, as a mobile platform to advance ocean research and the sharing of information about the oceans. Her work in ocean research also extends to her sponsorship of two XPRIZES. She holds several board seats focused on her environmental and human rights work including, The Natural Resources Defense Council, Climate Central, The Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute, The Trust for Governors Island, XPrize Foundation, Grist, and MAIYET.

REGINA K. SCULLY

Executive Producer

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, Miss Representation, 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.

MARIA SHRIVER

Executive Producer

Maria Shriver is an award-nominated mother of four, a Peabody and Emmy Award-winning journalist and producer, a six-time New York Times best-selling author, and an NBC News Special Anchor covering the shifting roles, emerging power, and evolving needs of women in modern life. Since 2009, Shriver, along with A Woman’s Nation, the non-profit she founded, has produced a groundbreaking series of Shriver Reports that chronicle and explore seismic shifts in American culture and society affecting women today. The most recent, A Woman’s Nation Pushes Back from the Brink, was released in 2014 alongside an HBO documentary, Paycheck to Paycheck: The Life & Times of Katrina Gilbert, which was executive produced by Shriver and received an Emmy nomination. Shriver is also executive producer of the feature film, Still Alice, starring Julianne Moore, Alec Baldwin, and Kristen Stewart, an adaptation of Lisa Genova’s 2007 novel of the same name. The film, which tells the tale of a woman affected by early onset Alzheimer’s disease, opened nationwide January 16, 2015. A graduate of Georgetown University, Shriver was California’s First Lady from 2003 to 2010 and, during that time, she spearheaded what became the nation’s premier forum for women, The Women’s Conference. Shriver’s work is driven by her belief that all of us have the ability to be what she calls “Architects of Change” – people who see a problem in their own life or the community around them, then step out of their comfort zone and do what it takes to create the solution.

See More

See more bios, including those of the film experts, in The Mask You Live In Press Kit.

Testimonials

The Mask You Live In changed my life. [It] is the first documentary I’ve seen that is not only for me, but about me.25-Year-Old Male, Sundance Film Festival

To eradicate male violence toward women, we’ve got to raise up a healthier generation of boys that become men, that learn how to be emotionally connected and. . .respect other human beings.Joe Ehrmann, Founder, Coach for America
House of Ruth Screening with the Baltimore Ravens 2015 Rookie Class

The impact of our alumni screening was beyond what we anticipated. The Mask You Live In appealed to the diverse demographics of our alumni population. Attendees of the screening were intellectually and emotionally moved by the topic. The conversation that followed the screening brought the issues of the film right into our community. In fact, our panel discussion could have continued well beyond an hour because of the interest sparked by the film. I would urge any community who cares about their young men and women, to bring this film to their community members.Fadia Desmond, Former President, Sacramento Stanford Association

From watching this movie, I realized that my experiences as a young man were not unique. Men are just told never to talk about their feelings.Stephen Lopez, Student, Cal State San Marcos