The Washington Post

Jennifer Siebel Newsom: Another political family gravitates to documentary film

Chris Dodd, Gavin Newsom, Jennifer Siebel Newsom at the MPAA on Wednesday. (Paula-Raye O’Sullivan/MPAA)

Documentary filmmaking — still so hot! It’s the earnest vocation that all the elite liberal families (Pelosi, Kennedy, Cuomo, Kerry) send a child into these days. Gavin Newsom’s kids are too young, though; it’s his wife who picked up a camera instead.

Jennifer Siebel Newsom came to D.C. along with her husband, the lieutenant governor of California, to show off her directing debut. “Miss Representation” paints a dire portrait of how coarse media imagery demeans women and holds them back.

Why a documentary? Because film hits people on an emotional level, said Siebel Newsom, who, like her husband, towered over most of the guests at a Motion Picture Association of America screening Wednesday, both exuding a well-groomed Cali charisma. “I saw there was a problem, but no one was doing anything pop-culturally that would get into people’s homes.”

Her husband was less than encouraging when she started the project (“while breast-feeding a new baby, with a bunch of laptops on the kitchen table,” he recalled). “I said, ‘You’re wasting your time!’” As “a guy who thought I was pretty evolved,” Newsom argued that her premise was null, that women were achieving great things in society. Then he saw the movie. “She shattered all the myths.”

Read earlier: Politicians and their auteur daughters, 10/20/2009

Political scions take over Oscar docs short­list, 10/15/2010.



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