“Bullets don’t discriminate. The dangers are basically the same whether you are male or female.”
– from, Naked in Baghdad: The Iraq War as Seen by NPR’s Correspondent Anne Garrels
About the Film
Before World War II, war reporting was considered No Job For a Woman. But when the United States entered the war, American women reporters did not want to miss covering the biggest story of the century so they fought for and won access. But there was a catch: women reporters would be banned from the frontlines, prevented from covering Front Page stories about generals and battlefield manoeuvres, and assigned “woman’s angle” stories about nurses and female military personnel. Several women reporters refused to abide by these journalistic conventions and military restrictions and, instead, brought home a new kind of war story: one that was more intimate yet more revealing. They reached beyond the battlefield and deep into human lives to tell a new story of war.
“No Job For a Woman”: The Women Who Fought to Report WWII is a 64-minute historical documentary that focuses on the lives and work of wire service reporter Ruth Cowan, magazine reporter Martha Gellhorn, and war photographer Dickey Chapelle.
The film is narrated by Julianna Margulies, Emmy Award Winner and star of CBS’ The Good Wife.
To bring the story to life, director Michele Midori Fillion combines rarely seen archival footage and stills with actors reading the written words of the three main characters and with interviews of contemporary female war reporters.
Director/Producer: Michele Midori Fillion
Producer: Maria Agui Carter
Executive Producers: Michele Midori Fillion and Jeanne Houck
Writers: Michele Midori Fillion and Maia Harris
Editor: Kate Hirson
Director of Photography: Bestor Cram
Original Score: Adam Waite and Peter Eldridge
Consulting Producer: Steve Rivo
Field Producer: Sarah Schenck
Story Consultant: Fernanda Rossi
About the Filmakers
Michele Midori Fillion — Executive Producer and Director/Producer/Writer
Fillion conceived the project and is the founder of Hurry Up Sister Productions. A journalist formerly with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, she has produced a variety of documentaries for radio and television, with a special commitment to reports that focus on women.
Maria Agui Carter — Producer
Carter is founder of Iguana Films and has produced numerous documentaries for PBS. Her current independent film is Rebel, about a woman soldier of the American Civil War.
Jeanne Houck — Executive Producer
Houck’s film work includes being an executive producer for the PBS film Here She Is: The History of the Miss America Beauty Pageant and historian and researcher for Ric Burn’s seven-part series New York: A Documentary Film.
Maia Harris — Writer
Harris has produced, written and co-produced numerous documentaries for PBS, including Banished, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2007.
Kate Hirson — Editor
The award-winning veteran editor Hirson veteran has many feature documentaries to her credit, most recetly Garbage Dreams, Constantine’s Sword, and Deadline. Her work for PBS includes Oprah’s Roots, Beyond the Middle Passage, and Judy Garland: All By Myself.
Julianna Margulies — Narrator
Margulies is an Emmy award winning actor and currently the star of CBS’ The Good Wife.
Bestor Cram — Director of Photography
Cram has over twenty years of experience as a director, producer and cinematographer. He is the founder of Northern Light Productions, which has produced over fifty major films, ranging from broadcast documentaries to historical, dramatic, and educational works under his direction. His projects have won CINE Golden Eagles, American Film Festival Blue Ribbons, Columbus International Film Festival Chris Awards, Houston International Film Festival Gold Awards and played at festivals from Sundance to the New York Film Festival at Lincoln Center.
About the Music
Composers Peter Eldridge and Adam Waite (www.adamandpeter.com) brought a broad range of artistry and experience to their collaboration in writing the score to “No Job for a Woman.” Hailed as an “artist of extraordinary depth and conviction,” (Jazz Review) Peter is a recognized and celebrated solo performer, as well as co-founder of the double Grammy winning New York Voices. Adam is an ASCAP award-winning composer, whose work has been lauded by the LA Times for its “minimalist texture while seamlessly contrasting symphonic strings with jazz horns”. He is also the Artistic Director and conductor for the Lyrica Chamber Orchestra.
For the film, Peter and Adam composed nearly forty minutes of original music, orchestrated for piano, guitar, French horns, and string orchestra. Melodic motifs were set against minimalist elements to create a score that is both subtle and highly evocative. Adam says about the score, “we wanted to create music that, not only embodied the personal struggles and triumphs that Ruth, Martha and Dickey experienced, but also honored their courageous work in exposing the human cost of war.”
Interviewees in the Film
Contemporary War Reporters
Deborah Amos, Broadcast Reporter NPR News
Deborah Copaken Kogan, War Photographer and author of Shutterbabe: Adventures in Love and War
Janine di Giovanni, Print Reporter Times of London and author of Madness Visible: A Memoir of War and most recently Ghosts By Daylight: Love, War, and Redemption
Susan Meiselas, War Photographer, recipient of the 1994 Hasselblad Foundation Photography prize and Cornell Capa Infinity Award
Martha Teichner, Broadcast Reporter CBS News.
Maurine Beasley, Professor of Journalism History and author of Taking Their Place: A Documentary History of Women and Journalism
Cynthia Enloe, Professor of Government and author of Maneuvers: The International Politics of Militarizing Women’s Lives
Joyce M. Hoffmann, Professor of Journalism History and author of On Their Own: Women Journalists and the American Experience in Vietnam
Linda Lumsden, Professor of Journalism History
Caroline Moorehead, Gellhorn Biographer and author of Gellhorn: A Twentieth-Century Life
Michael Sweeney, Professor of Journalism History and author of From the Front: The Story of War
Dorothea Harahan, as Dickey Chapelle
Elyse Mirto, as Martha Gellhorn
Kathleen McNenny, as Ruth Cowan
“No Job For a Woman”: The Women Who Fought to Report WWII
was made possible by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: great ideas brought to life. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations in this film do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Joan Dufresne, Diane Keefe, Emily Mandelstam, Julia Mintz, Andrea Miller, Ronnie Planalp, Lilya Wagner.
“No Job For a Woman”: The Women Who Fought to Report WWII is distributed by Women Make Movies.
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