-Who is Janna Jones?
I am a professor, a writer, and an equestrian. I have been been a professor of communication and film for many years. I teach screenwriting, which is really how I learned how to write screenplays. I write books, essays, and screenplays. I have published three books about art and culture, dozens of essays and about film, architecture and design, and nine screenplays. My screenplays have won more than 90 awards in the last two years. One of my screenplays is in post production right now, and another one will be going into preproduction soon. I am also an equestrian. I spend time with my horses and mule everyday. They keep me grounded, strong, and healthy.
-What inspired you to become a screenwriter?
I was a film scholar long before I started screenwriting. I had already published two books and many essays about film culture before it occured to me that I could write screenplays. I believe having such a background has been quite helpful for my screenplay writing. My most recent scripts, Grab and Go and Dump It feature a profoundly autistic main character. This main character is based on a real person, Danny, a son of one of my dearest friends. I am excited about these scripts because I have been able to channel his energies and translate how he makes sense of his world. I believe I can bring his world to the screen. This representation is an important step for the autistic community. It also makes Danny’s family very happy!
-Do you think the cinema can bring a change in the society?
Cinema has changed society in a million different ways, both good and bad. As a film scholar, I could spend the next month explaining this! But let’s just say for now, yes, it has reinforced debilitating stereotypes for women and minorities. But it also has the power to reverse those stereotypes. It has changed the way we spend our leisure time, and I suspect it has even changed the way we make sense of our dreams at night. It has also changed the way we understand history–particularly the twentieth century. My book The Past is a Moving Picture: Preserving the Twentieth Century on Film goes into great detail about how cinema shapes our understanding of the past.
-What would you change in the world?
I would love it if people could accept the realities of climate change and change their habits accordingly.
-Where do you see the film industry going in the next 100 years?
The platforms will necessarily change, as culture changes. Each big shift will bring about anxiety and concern that cinema is dying. But I don’t believe it will. As a historian of the twentieth century, I have written and taught about the various stages of cinematic culture. Each one is significant and meaningful, but each stage passes, as society changes. But this is the great thing about cinema, it can adapt and shift along with our culture.
“Grab and Go” (EXCLUSIVE) Interview with Janna Jones
2023 October 1