Cinema director Barbie Banks seeks to take Ragtag Cinema in new direction.

A veteran of Citizen Jane finds hope for female representation.

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Ragtag Cinema hired Barbie Banks as its new cinema director late last November. While she previously worked as the director of Citizen Jane Film Festival for three years, Banks has also been a long term volunteer at Citizen Jane and the True/False Film Festival.

She says her new job is basically the same, with one key difference.

“At Citizen Jane, there wasn’t any year-round staff that also worked on the project,” Banks said. “The whole staff here’s been around a lot longer than I have, so we work really well together.”

The day-to-day work finds Banks performing various tasks to lead the cinema.

“I do recruiting of new members, management of our current ones, and [I] make sure that everyone is using their benefits,”Banks said. “I also handle management of the staff and maintenance of finances with the nonprofit [Ragtag Film Society].”

The Ragtag Film Society also hired a new executive director, Jeremy Brown, who formerly worked as director of the True/False Film Festival. Brown also has some things he’d like to change about the organization.

“I’m looking forward to working with our talented, dedicated staff, board and volunteers of both the festival and Ragtag Cinema to deepen our impact, expand our audiences and make Ragtag Film Society a more diverse and inclusive organization,” Brown told the Columbia Missourian.

Though Banks’ new job still has her doing a lot of the same things in the same city, she feels that her audience has changed.

“It’s definitely a larger base over here at Ragtag,” Banks said. “Part of that is [Ragtag has] been around longer, but also the idea of a woman film festival turns off certain people. We see a few less of the [Stephens College] students than the ones that attended Citizen Jane, but overall the people who care about Citizen Jane ultimately care about film and seek it out through The Ragtag.”

Banks wishes to bridge both the audiences and the focuses of these two organizations.

“My hope for the future is that Citizen Jane and Ragtag can partner a little bit more to promote each other,” she said. “I think that the programmers for Citizen Jane and The Ragtag, Donna Kozloskie and Chris Boeckmann, both care about representation. While Chris has different films to pick from, he still tries to make sure that we aren’t just seeing the same person on screen.”

Citizen Jane programmer Chris Boeckmann said he enjoys working with Banks, and thinks her leadership skills make her a perfect fit for the Ragtag.

“I’ve worked with Barbie in a variety of roles,” Boeckmann said. “She is a principled leader. I’m inspired by her drive and care.”

Banks has not only previously known the Ragtag through volunteering. As a college student, she saw Michael Moore’s “Bowling For Columbine” at the cinema. It was the first film she saw that was more than entertainment, though she still enjoys lower brow films, like Baz Luhrmann’s “Romeo + Juliet.”

Banks sees a strong future for who is seen in film and who sees them. Her hope is founded in the changes she is seeing at the national level and the Columbia scene.

“I like to see this interest in what women directors are making,” Banks said. “The idea that film [is] such an impactful medium and that it’s important that we see equal representation. I like what I’m seeing at True/False, that they care about representation and that the subjects they show are treated well..”

Edited by Janae McKenzie | jmckenzie@themaneater.com

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