March 6, 2016 | REBEL | Germantown, MD
BlackRock Center for the arts in in Germantown, MD, in one of the most diverse towns in the nation, is a beehive of cultural activity for the community.
I was excited to share my film in an area I had never visited, so close to Washington, DC.
Before the screening, I attended the reception hosted by the Montgomery Women’s Leadership Council, a group of local professionals who work to encourage women’s civic participation and women candidates running for office preceded the screening and was able to meet a few of the wonderful and committed local women leaders who had come to view the film.
The March 6, 2016 screening of REBEL was packed at the BlackRock Center for the Arts.
I love being able to share the story of Loreta Velazquez and the women soldiers of the Civil War because our stories are empowering – but we seldom get a chance to hear them! History is not just “the past” – it lives and breathes and affects us all – TODAY! As we were gathering to watch the film, three “ghosts” from the past walked into the theater.
Tracey McIntire, Al Jones and Audrey Scanlan-Teller, living history reenactors who heard about the film, came straight over from walking the fields of Antietam disguised as male 19th century Civil War soldiers, just like the real women who passed as men during the American Civil War, to watch REBEL. They told us about how hard it is for women to be accepted as female reenactors of the Civil War, even though so many cases of real Civil War woman soldiers have been documented.
Only a few years ago, one woman dressed as a male soldier, named Lauren Cook, was caught using the women’s bathroom at Antietam. She was thrown out of the reenactment event, the organizers citing “authenticity” as their reason to evict her. Lauren sued the park, presenting her research on a number of the women who had fought, and died, in battle at Antietam. She won the suit, but the stories of these women continue to be questioned even in contemporary Civil War historical circles.
After the screening, it was particularly moving to hear from a few of the women vets, including one who had served in the Gulf War and one who had been deployed to Iraq, who found the story of Loreta Velazquez so moving. Although they did not have to hide their identity to serve their country, they did have to prove, over and over again, that they had as much right to serve as any male soldier. Over one hundred and fifty years after Loreta and another 1000 women soldiers have been documented for fighting in the American Civil War, contemporary women soldiers are still fighting for acceptance in the ranks of the military. The women vets spoke movingly about how they connected with Loreta Velazquez’ story and found so many of Loreta’s experiences and comments resonating with their experiences in the 21st century.
I am often asked how I got involved making REBEL. How could I not get involved, when so many important stories about women leaders and heroes of our past have been erased? My films are an important opportunity to share these stories in our contemporary society where a woman’s capacity to serve their country, in positions of national and international importance, in war and in peace, is still being questioned.
I will leave you with the words of one audience member who wrote this on our http://www.facebook.com/rebel-documentary film page about the BlackRock screening:
“I saw this amazing film yesterday, and we in the audience all met Maria Agui Carter, writer, producer, and director, in person. If you think you know all about the U.S Civil War, think again! Maria’s film unmasks the truth about women’s role in the Civil War and challenges our view of history, gender equality, and culture. I urge you to see this fascinating movie and learn the untold story of Loreta Velazquez!” Janet Roth Graham
Post by On Screen/In Person touring filmmaker Maria Agui Carter.