The Austin Film Society and The 19th* Present the Local Premiere of Breaking the News
The Documentary About Austin-Based News Org The 19th* Will Be Followed by a Q&A With Their Top Leaders and the Filmmakers on November 1, 2023
September 25, 2023, AUSTIN, TX— The Austin Film Society and the Austin-based news organization The 19th* will present the local premiere of Breaking the News, an AFS-supported documentary about the founding of The 19th*. This film will be shown in both theaters of AFS Cinema at 7 PM on November 1, 2023, and both screenings will be followed by Q&As with top leaders from The 19th* and the filmmakers. The evening will conclude with a reception in the AFS lobby with complimentary refreshments.
Breaking the News is directed by four-time AFS Grant recipient Heather Courtney (dir. Where Soldiers Come From); Princess A. Hairston (ed. Fresh Dressed) and Chelsea Hernandez (dir. Building the American Dream), a five-time AFS Grant recipient, and the film was produced by Diane Quon (Minding the Gap). It was also an official selection of the 2023 Tribeca Film Festival and DC/DOX Film Festival.
Click here to download stills from the film.
Breaking the News focuses on the creation of The 19th*, a digital news nonprofit co-founded by Emily Ramshaw and Amanda Zamora. The organization’s name is derived from the US Constitution’s 19th amendment and its omission of Black women and women of color from the right to vote. The goal of The 19th* is to bring together journalists from these marginalized communities, which also includes journalists from the LGBTQ+ community, so their perspectives can be more prominently represented in political coverage. “The 19th* is writing a new history by reporting the news through the lens of those forgotten voices and showcasing that bringing lived experiences and diverse perspectives to the news industry is not an easy venture,” says Chelsea Hernandez, co-director of the film.
About Breaking the News
Emily Ramshaw and Amanda Zamora wanted to do something radical about the white men dominating newsrooms. “70% of policy and politics editors are men, almost all of them are white,” says Emily. “These are the people deciding which stories are told, who is telling them, and whether they will be on the front page or the back page, if they get there at all.” So, Emily and Amanda along with Editor-at-Large Errin Haines and a scrappy group of fearless women and LGBTQ+ journalists band together to buck the status quo and launch The 19th*, a digital news start-up. Named after the 19th Amendment which gave women the right to vote, but with an asterisk to acknowledge the Black women and women of color who were omitted, the 19th’s work is guided everyday by the asterisk – asking who is being omitted from the story, and how can they be included. Errin Haines covers politics and race, including the first national story on the killing of Breonna Taylor. Emerging Latina reporter Chabeli Carrazana is based in Florida and reports on gender and the economy. LA-based Kate Sosin, a nonbinary reporter, covers LGBTQ+ stories, including the large number of anti-trans bills becoming law in states around the country. The film documents the honest discussions at The 19th* around race and gender equity and inclusion, revealing that change doesn’t come easy, and showcasing how one newsroom confronts these challenges both as a workplace and in their journalism. But this film is about more than a newsroom. It’s about America in flux, and the voices that are often left out of the American story.
About The 19th*
The 19th* is a national nonprofit newsroom at the intersection of gender, race, politics and policy. Since its August 2020 launch, The 19th* has been using journalism, data, storytelling and live events to elevate the voices of women and LGBTQ+ people in American media, and to give them the tools and resources they need to get more deeply engaged in our democracy.
About Austin Film Society
Founded in 1985 by filmmaker Richard Linklater, AFS creates life-changing opportunities for filmmakers, catalyzes Austin and Texas as a creative hub, and brings the community together around great film. AFS is committed to racial equity and inclusion, with an objective to deliver programs that actively dismantle the structural racism, sexism and other bias in the screen industries. AFS supports filmmakers from all backgrounds towards career leaps, encouraging exceptional artistic projects with grants and support services. AFS operates Austin Studios, a 20-acre production facility, to attract and grow the creative media ecosystem. Austin Public, a space for our city’s diverse mediamakers to train and collaborate, provides many points of access to filmmaking and film careers. The AFS Cinema is an ambitiously programmed repertory and first run arthouse with broad community engagement. By hosting premieres, local and international industry events, and the Texas Film Awards, AFS shines the national spotlight on Texas filmmakers while connecting Austin and Texas to the wider film community. AFS is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.