The idea of two men directing a documentary about a summer camp for pre-teen girls might inevitably raise some red flags. But Arne Johnson and Shane King use their outsider status to craft an incredibly thoughtful and creative film about the Portland-based Rock'n'Roll Camp for Girls. The result, Girls Rock!, is a moving portrait of (to quote the luminous philosopher, Madonna) what it feels like for a girl, holding equal appeal for documentary film lovers, parents, fans of rock'n'roll and anyone who grew up as a weird kid in a town without pity.
Girls Rock! focuses on four girls attending the camp for the first time. Over the course of one week campers create bands, learn instruments, write songs and then perform for a sold out crowd. Because the concept of Rock'n'Roll camp grew out of a third wave feminist ethos, the campers are also taught basic media literacy, self-defense and how to communicate feelings of isolation or frustration that young people (especially girls) are often told to squelch. Erin Donovan spoke to Arne Johnson before he headed off to the True/False documentary film festival in Columbia, MO.
Girls Rock! opens in select cities March 7th.