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Student-produced documentary to premiere at San Francisco film festival

June 19, 2013
LGBT Pride celebration
Andrea VanHaren, a senior geography major at UW-Eau Claire, records audio during the 2012 LGBT Pride Celebration in San Francisco. The audio was used in a documentary she co-directed about the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a charity, protest and street performance organization. A member of the organization is to VanHaren's right. The documentary, "Out of the Convent," will premiere June 23 during  the Frameline37 San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival. 

EAU CLAIRE — A documentary short film produced by University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire students will screen June 23 at San Francisco's Roxie Theater as part of the Generations: Youth and Elders Making Movies series and the Frameline37 San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival.

The film, titled "Out of the Convent," is the second documentary produced by student participants in UW-Eau Claire's women's studies course "LGBTQA Studies: San Francisco Travel Seminar" to be featured at the film festival. The film was produced by participants in the 2012 travel seminar.

"Out of the Convent" was directed by Thom Kishaba, a junior French and English linguistics major from Eau Claire; Bridget Oliver, a December 2012 women's studies graduate from Fall Creek; and Andrea VanHaren, a senior geography major from Appleton.

The documentary follows the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, an international charity, protest and street performance organization founded in San Francisco and devoted to "community service, ministry and outreach to those on the edges, and to promoting human rights, respect for diversity and spiritual enlightenment," according to the group's website. Since the group's inception in 1979, its members, who wear the attire of nuns during their appearances, have raised and distributed more than $1 million to nonprofit organizations that serve needy communities.

Attending the documentary's premiere are student participants in this year's LGBTQA studies travel seminar, along with the course co-teachers Dr. Pamela Forman, associate professor of sociology, and Ellen Mahaffy, associate professor of communication and journalism. The group is in San Francisco from June 19-July 2.

Travel seminar participants will stay together in a house in San Francisco to create a living-learning community, attend the LGBT Pride Celebration and the Frameline37 film festival, visit LGBT organizations and meet with filmmakers and LGBT activists.

While in San Francisco, students also will work in small groups to produce new documentaries that explore LGBT identities and histories. Their films and others they select from the Frameline37 lineup will be showcased in the fourth annual Eau Queer Film Festival, which will take place Oct. 3-6 in the Woodland Theater of UW-Eau Claire's Davies Center.

The "LGBTQA Studies: San Francisco Travel Seminar" course and the inaugural Eau Queer Film Festival received the 2011 Exemplary Program Award for the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Knowledge Community from NASPA — Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education. NASPA is the foremost professional association for student affairs administrators, faculty, and graduate and undergraduate students.

The "LGBTQA Studies: San Francisco Travel Seminar" course and the Eau Queer Film Festival are supported by the Blugold Commitment, a program through which differential tuition paid by UW-Eau Claire students funds projects that enhance student learning.

For more information about the Eau Queer Film Festival and the San Francisco travel seminar, visit and contact Dr. Pamela Forman at or Ellen Mahaffy at



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