No Girls Allowed (2013 UPDATE)

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The DVDs are here!

They've Arrived!

We have an official release date – Sales will begin at nogirlsallowedfilm.com on February 15, 2013.

They've Arrived! 4

No Girls Allowed is a 48 minute documentary about the 1983 gender integration of the nation’s second oldest public high school. Central High School in Philadelphia was an all-male public high school for over 145 years until a court-ordered mandate allowed girls to attend for the first time in its history.  If you’re new to my website, you can read about the film in my two posts, No Girls Allowed and No Girls Allowed (Update).

We wanted the film to be ready in time for Women’s History Month, and with that in mind, Central High School will be planning a student screening of No Girls Allowed in March.  We’re still working on setting up a public screening in Philadelphia, and if any of you are Central grads, or simply live in the Philadelphia area, and you’re interested in sponsoring a screening please contact us at nogirlsallowedfilm(at)gmail(dot)com (email address spelled out to prevent spam).

No Girls Allowed is a non-profit, educational film and all net proceeds will be going to the Nathaniel Kirkland Young Filmmakers Fund at Central High School.  Nate graduated from Central High School, class of 266, where he was producer of CTV (Central News Network), president of the audio/visual club, and was Jr. Prom King.  While attending Dickinson College as a second year English major, Nate accidentally drowned on a school trip to Guatemala to help repair hurricane-ravaged adobe classrooms.

Nate

We were privileged to meet and interview Nate in 2007 when we travelled to Central High School for filming No Girls Allowed.  A young filmmaker who made a number of documentaries and short films while at Central High and Dickinson, Nate wanted to become a professional writer and director.  In his memory, we established the Nathaniel Kirkland Young Filmmakers Fund for the encouragement and development of young filmmakers.

Films remain an important part of our cultural language.  They serve not only to entertain but they can also be powerful tools for achieving social justice.

“If films are to be instrumental in the process of change, they must be made not only about people directly implicated in change, but with and for those people as well.”

Thomas Waugh

What better people for change than young filmmakers?

DVD AVAILABLE NOW!They've Arrived! 4

No Girls Allowed (Update)

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Wow, what a week!

If you came to this blog and read last week’s post you got a chance to be a part of the test screening of No Girls Allowed. Hollywood films have been screening to test audiences for many years. Studios hire “focus group” companies (for many thousands of dollars) to bring in people so they can measure what works in a film and what doesn’t.

I’m not a big studio.  I’m just a writer who found a story that I thought needed to be remembered.  Film has the power to reach many people, and so I decided to tell this story through film, as a documentary.  For one moment in my life I stepped away from the role of writer to become a filmmaker.

If you’re an independent filmmaker you don’t have thousands of dollars for test screenings, so you rely on other ways to see how audiences will receive your film.  That’s what I did this week, using this blog to reach a specific focus group: the alumni and extended community of Central High School.

I never expected such a huge response. The CHS community is amazing – and large!  Intelligent, articulate, passionate, and involved. I thank you all for viewing the film, and for starting a conversation here  in the comments you’ve made about your experiences, your feelings, and your thoughts about the 1983 gender integration of Central High.

This is just the beginning of the conversation.

No Girls Allowed now begins its journey as a film.  We will be scheduling a screening in Philadelphia in 2013 to commemorate, and acknowledge those brave young girls who helped make co-education at Central High School a reality.  If you are interested in being contacted about the screening, please let us know in the comment section on this website, or by emailing me at nogirlsallowedfilm@gmail.com.

If you are a member of the Press, please email us about a password-protected review screening on Vimeo.

No Girls Allowed

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(A few years ago I went back to college. I won’t tell you how many years separated my freshman year at the University of California at Santa Barbara and my sophomore return in 2005. Let’s just say it was enough years to have a screenwriting career in Hollywood, meet and marry my husband, become a mother, and raise my two kids until they graduated from high school. After the two little ones became big people of their own, I decided to go back to UCSB and finish the final two years of academic work to get a B.A. It took me four years so that’ll give you an idea that it wasn’t exactly a walk in the park. But I loved every minute of it. I wrote a lot of papers in that time, met some amazing twenty-something-year-olds, and embarked upon an adventure that I finally completed this week: I made a film. Here’s the story of how that film began…) 

Seven years ago I sat in a crowded lecture hall at UCSB and listened while a professor reminisced about being one of the first female students to attend an all-male public high school in Philadelphia. The school had practiced single sex education (for males only) for 147 years until 1983 when a court in Pennsylvania ordered the mandatory co-education of Central High School. I was used to seeing students during lecture text messaging, checking email on their laptops, or dozing during most lectures. But as the professor spoke openly and honestly about her first-year experiences (sometimes difficult) at Central High, the two hundred students around me sat in stunned and respectful silence. They were riveted by what she was telling them.

After the lecture, I went up to the professor and asked her if any books had ever been written about the gender integration of Central High. Public high schools are known to be coed, and yet, Central had avoided going coed until it was legally required as late as 1983. She confessed to me that nothing had ever been written about the case, or the women who were the first to attend Central.

“I think it might make an interesting documentary,” I suggested.

“Count me in!” she told me with a smile. And she was looking directly at me when she said it.

Me and my big mouth.

I went home that night and started researching. But no matter how many Google searches I did I couldn’t find anything about that 1983 Central High story that the professor had assured me had been front page news. Now I was intrigued. I decided to just keep digging by searching Philadelphia newspaper archives at UCSB’s Davidson Library. What I found in my months of research surprised, angered, enlightened, and convinced me that it was an amazing story that had to be told.

And film was the best way to tell it.

The Central High 6 in 1983

No Girls Allowed is a 50-minute documentary about the first young women who attended the all-male, academically elite Central High School in Philadelphia. It’s taken seven years to write, film, and edit.   To watch the trailer, click HERE: No Girls Allowed – Trailer.  You can now purchase a DVD of No Girls Allowed by going HERE: No Girls Allowed – DVD.