PASSIONATE POLITICS is a new one-hour documentary that brings Charlotte’s
story to life, from idealistic young civil rights activist to lesbian separatist to
internationally-recognized leader of a campaign to put women’s rights on the
global human rights agenda.
Interweaving past and present interviews with rich archival material, this is at
once a deeply emotional portrait of a lifelong activist and an inspirational
chronicle of the building of a global movement.
Over vivid 16mm home movies of small-town New Mexico life, we meet
Charlotte. Her parents, Methodist church activists, raised her to see that “part of
being human is being active in one’s community.”
Leaving home for college in the South, Charlotte found a place in the Civil Rights
movement, which is brought to life by newsreel footage of her participation in the
1965 march from Selma to Montgomery. As she readily admits, she was a
privileged white outsider, but committed and transformed by the experience.
It was during this early activism that Charlotte’s life as a feminist began. Movies
of Charlotte as a young bride give way to a snappy montage showing photos of
the first women’s consciousness-raising groups and 1970s lesbian political
ephemera. Charlotte recalls the pain of her divorce, coming out as a lesbian, a
whirlwind romance with renowned author Rita Mae Brown and finally, life in The
Furies, the legendary Washington, DC lesbian separatist collective.
The early 1980s found Charlotte getting older, broke, and feeling that the
Women’s Movement in the United States was stagnating. This “crisis of
purpose” segues into a present-day sequence highlighting the frenzy of her
contemporary life as a global organizer.
Charlotte’s next chapter in life — working with women’s groups in Latin America
and Asia – is brought to life via photographs and interviews with fellow activists,
including the woman who became her life partner, Roxanna Carrillo from Peru.
With Roxanna, Charlotte reconnects with feminism, but this time on a global
When an opportunity arises to found and run the Center for Women’s Global
Leadership (CWGL) at Rutgers University in New Jersey, Charlotte worries about
losing her freedom and her connections with international grassroots activists.
She turns her thinking around and uses the opportunity to create CWGL as “a
base of power” for herself and other women.
In the 1990s, Charlotte and a breathtaking coalition of women from across the
world take the United Nations by storm. Crowds of women from Latin America,
Asia, Africa, and the West gather at the 1993 World Conference on Human
Rights in Vienna and again in 1995 at the Beijing World Conference on Women.
Their mission: to deliver the message to world leaders to address gender-based
violence, to acknowledge once and for all, as Charlotte has repeatedly said, that
“women’s rights are human rights.”
The film reaches a rousing climax with a South African event for the “Sixteen
Days of Activism, Against Gender Violence” a multi-national campaign that
Charlotte helped to create. Watching women and men engaged in actions across
the world, we hear Charlotte’s inspiring observation, one that comes from a
lifetime of struggle in a panoply of different political and social movements: “This
revolution is a symphony of liberations, and I’m happy to have been one part of
NEW DAY FILMS
A Joyce Warshow Film
Produced & Directed by Tami Gold
Co-Produced by David Pavlosky
Executive Producer Dorothy Sander
AndersonGOLD Films Production
" . . . . told with empathy and humor, painting an engaging portrait of a remarkable figure. Strongly recommended, a must-see!-Film Queen Reviews
"...extraordinary documentary that puts body and life into the feminist idea that the personal is political. -Rosalind Petchesky