Wednesday, March 24 at 9 p.m. – Seneca Falls
(Rochester, NY) – In celebration of Women's History Month, WXXI Public Broadcasting is pleased to be the presenting station for Seneca Falls, an hour long documentary that breathes life and relevance into a revolutionary act barely mentioned in history books: America's first women's rights convention, a public protest meeting held in Seneca Falls, New York in 1848. Seneca Falls premieres on WXXI-TV (DT21.1/cable 1011 & 11) on Wednesday, March 24 at 9 p.m. and on PBS stations across the country.
Seneca Falls follows WOWER Power, a struggling multi-cultural theater troupe comprised of nine teenage girls from San Francisco, as they travel to Seneca Falls to perform their original play at the historic 150th Anniversary Celebration of this groundbreaking moment in American history. The troupe is guided on their journey by acclaimed Bay Area actor/director Joan Mankin, who began the project with the girls when she was an artist in residence at San Francisco Community School (a public school in San Francisco), and they were just sixth graders.
In the film, the troupe joins tens of thousands making the pilgrimage to Seneca Falls from around the world. Exploring sites in Women's Rights National Historical Park, they unearth the still-unfolding narrative of women's history, meeting groundbreaking historians and prominent elected officials, including a chance meeting with U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Congresswoman Barbara Lee. They examine the lives of the ordinary citizens whose courage and determination launched a nationwide movement to free women from the bonds of social, political and legal slavery. Part teenage road trip, part stunning history lesson, the film is, above all, an awakening of young hearts and minds.
“This is a tale of courageous action in the darkest days for American women and blacks. It's also a tale of some modern-day teenage girls and their dedicated director reclaiming this history and bringing it to life. And it’s a quest to make ‘Seneca Falls’ a household term, so that people everywhere will know what happened there,” said Producer and Film Director Louise Vance of Louise Vance Productions. “Women and girls in particular need to know that ordinary citizens like themselves have shaped the country’s destiny, and can help shape its future.”
WXXI will also host a special preview community screening of Seneca Falls at the Memorial Art Gallery (500 University Avenue) on Saturday, March 20 at 1 p.m. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion lead by Nora Bredes, Director of the Susan B. Anthony Center for Women’s Leadership; Louise Vance, theSeneca Falls Producer and Director; and Ruth Mankin, the Theater Troupe’s Director. For ticket information, and to order visit <http://mag.rochester.edu>.
Pictured: "It's About Time", performed at The Women's Rights National Historical Park. Left to right, Cathy An, Marissa Bloom, Margo Christien, Catherine Webb, April Seals, Annie Wood, Chloe Jackman, Emma Mankin.
Credit: Ruth Mankin and Catalina Castillo
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