Left on Pearl tells the story of a highly significant but little known event in the history of the Women's Liberation Movement of the late 60's and early 70's. On March 6, 1971, International Women’s Day, hundreds of women took over a Harvard University owned building declaring it a Women’s Center. The building occupation highlighted the hopes and triumphs, as well as the conflicts and tensions, within what is now called Second Wave Feminism. The legacy of this action lives on in the founding of the longest continuously operating women's center in the U.S., the Cambridge Women's Center.
With the building takeover as the focal point, LEFT ON PEARL explores what led women of different class, racial, and ethnic backgrounds to join the Women’s Liberation Movement, how this movement fit into the broader social ferment of the 1960’s and early 1970’s, and how the Second Wave fit into the larger scope of women’s history in the 20th century.
LEFT ON PEARL also reveals the intersection of the women’s movement with the other political struggles of the time, the antiwar, civil rights, black power, and lesbian and gay rights movements. The film highlights several intertwined stories: the need for women’s space, the demands of the predominantly African-American Riverside community (where 888 Memorial Drive was located) for affordable housing, and Harvard University’s expansion into working class Cambridge communities.
Today, many of the basic rights and choices that younger women often take for granted are a direct result of the consciousness-raising, protests, and hard work of second-wave feminists. As a "Generation X" woman, I feel deeply grateful to Second Wave feminists and believe it is necessary to pass their stories on to the next generation.
The recent election has unleashed the forces of hate and division. Sexism, racism, homophobia, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, and general bullying have been normalized to an alarming degree. Now, more than ever, we need to tell inspiring stories of resistance. This fast paced, incisive and humorous film about the power of organizing is a necessary tonic for these times.
LEFT ON PEARLcaptures the historic moment when a generation of women collectively discovered - and voiced outrage - at their second-class status in the U.S., not only in society at large, but even within the liberal/radical milieu of the civil rights and anti-war movements. This realization led to the formation of small “consciousness raising groups,” in which women came to understand, as one woman says in the film, that “we’re imbedded in a structure of power in which males have a lot more power than females.” Consciousness led to activism.
Susie holds an MFA in Cinema Production from San Francisco State University. Her award-winning short film Amy screened at numerous film festivals, including Sundance and SXSW and was broadcast by WNET, KQED and other PBS stations and in the Czech Republic. Susie received a Massachusetts Cultural Council finalist award for filmmaking. Her documentary LEFT ON PEARL was supported by Mass Humanities, the Puffin Foundation, and a Blaufarb Award from the Tamiment Library at New York University and received a Director's Choice Award from the Black Maria Film Festival. Her documentary in progress, Guardians of the City, on the history of ultra-orthodox Jewish opposition to Zionism, was awarded a grant from the National Foundation for Jewish Culture.
Susan K. Jacoby, Executive Producer
We are excited to announce that Susan (third from left) will be attending CSFF 2017 and will be a panelist in our "Artist Meets Audience Filmmaker Q & A" series.
Susan K. Jacoby was a member of the first core collective at the Women’s Center, and a founding member of its Emotional Counseling Group, which responded to women in crisis.. She was active in the Coalition to Stop Institutional Violence, which successfully organized to stop the construction of a super maximum women's prison unit. (The Coalition was one of many groups that met at the Center)
More Filmmaker news to come.....