Wednesday, July 30, 2014

‘Anita’ film explores sexual harassment

Family of Woman Film Festival documentary to be shown for free

Express Staff Writer

The film “Anita” will be screened for free on Thursday, July 31, in Ketchum. Courtesy graphic

    Those who are old enough to remember the Clarence Thomas-Anita Hill hearings of the 1990s remember it as a turbulent time for the intersection of race, politics and sex. In award-winning director
Freida Lee Mock’s documentary “Anita,” the filmmaker explores the enduring legacy of Hill’s courageous testimony using clips from the 1991 hearings to consider Thomas for a seat on the Supreme Court.
    The film will be shown for free at 2 p.m. Thursday, July 31, at the Magic Lantern Cinemas in Ketchum. The festival debut of the film was in March in Sun Valley during the annual Family of Woman Film Festival.
    When Hill took the stand to answer questions about her former boss Thomas, accusing him of sexual harassment, her claims were scrutinized and torn apart by the largely white, male establishment in a way that shocked Americans into a much-needed conversation about the issue of sexual harassment.
    “I believe future generations benefit from knowing their collective history and the strides that have been achieved to create a better, more just and inclusive world,” Mock said. “Anita Hill was a game changer and changed the direction of history for millions of women and men in terms of reforms in sexual harassment in the workplace after 1991.”  
    Mock has been a director, writer and producer for a number of films, including “Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision” and “Rose Kennedy: A Life to Remember.”
    She talks to younger citizens in the film who don’t initially know who Hill or Thomas are—something she hopes to rectify with continued media attention to the 23-year-old saga.
    “Today, we see the legacy of the public conversation that occurred after the 1991 Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas hearings where the focus, some 20 years later, for the public is looking at sexual assault on college campuses and in the military and addressing the issue of systemic reform against sexual assaults in these institutions, a reform that began in workplace institutions first,” Mock said.  

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