A new film that focuses on a pioneer of the women’s movement in Windsor is much more than a lesson in feminism, according to its co-director.
“It’s a lesson in the history of the city, and a lesson about how you can live your life really caring about other people, and have an incredibly fulfilling life,” Kim Nelson says of This is What a Feminist Sounds Like.
An 82-minute documentary that focuses on the life of Pat Noonan, the film will be shown next week at the annual Windsor International Film Festival, which kicks off Tuesday.
Born in Windsor in 1930, Noonan is a local feminist and activist who was also a Catholic nun for 20 years. Dedicated to social justice, she worked with women living in poverty, but left the sisterhood for the many of the same reasons she entered, Nelson said.
“She was so outspoken about so many things and she began to feel that being a nun was holding her back,” she said.
Nelson, a filmmaker and Visual Arts professor who directed the film along with recent graduate Audra Mcintyre, said the film was truly a local team effort. The music was scored by fellow SACI professor Brent Lee, and a number of film students worked on the project. SACI professor Veronika Mogyorody was the film’s executive producer, History professor Christina Simmons did a great deal of archival work, and there was a nucleus of women who supported the project because they all felt passionately that Noonan’s story needed to be told, Nelson said.
“She’s just this incredibly charismatic and vivacious character,” she said. “It’s really important that we all know the story of this woman because she’s had such a rich and fascinating life. She’s a really inspiring person, and luckily for me, very photogenic and hilariously funny, so she’s a really great person to make a film about.”
“A lot of people don’t know what goes on behind the scenes,” said Bae. “Even as a filmmaker, I didn’t really know.”
While the film is specific to Windsor’s festival, he suspects that similar experiences are shared at festivals around the world. After it screens here, he plans to submit it to larger festivals, which he believes will help generate more attention for Windsor’s event.
“But it’s nice to have the premiere here, because it’s a story about here,” he said.
Both Nelson’s and Bae’s films will be shown on Saturday, November 9, at 3:30 p.m. at the Capitol Theatre. Nelson will discuss her films and the festival when she appears today on Research Matters, a weekly talk show that focuses on the research and creative scholarly work of University of Windsor faculty and students, and airs every Thursday at 4:30 p.m. on CJAM 99.1 FM.