May 2: "The Girls in the Band" Film Event
The Augustana Performing and Visual Arts Department, together with Cinema Falls, a destination for film, will present "The Girls in the Band," a poignant film that tells the untold stories of female jazz and big band instrumentalists and their fascinating, groundbreaking journeys from the late 1930s to the present day. The film, directed by Judy Chaikin, will begin at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, May 2, in Kresge Recital Hall. The event will include a post-film discussion and Q&A led by Dr. Paul Schilff, director of Jazz Studies at Augustana, and a reception with music from Augustana’s Northlanders Jazz Band.
In the 1930s, women usually held the role of housewife. A female musician was usually told she didn’t, and couldn't, play as well as the boys. It was said that women were suited “only for the piano” and that “they didn’t have the strength or the stamina to play wind instruments.” But for the jazz instrumentalists featured in Chaikin’s striking documentary, there was only one world: the world of music!
“When the world told them
they couldn’t play, they did it anyway.”
Screen Daily International reviewer Mark Adams called the film “a fascinating, moving and wonderfully tuneful documentary … powerful examination of the struggles by talented musicians to break into the resolutely male world of jazz.”
“They wiggled, they jiggled, they wore low cut gowns and short shorts, they kow-towed to the club owners and smiled at the customers…and they did it all, just to play the music they loved.”
The film has earned a number of awards including, "Audience Award, Best Documentary Feature," Palm Springs International Film Festival; "Audience Favourite Feature," Victoria Film Festival; and "Audience Choice Documentary," Omaha Film Festival.