Who’s Penny?

Jan Lisa Huttner, an award-winning film critic and feminist activist, began using the name “Penny” as a non de plume after she organized the original WITASWAN project in 2004. WITASWAN (Women in the Audience Supporting Women Artists Now) soon lead to International SWAN Day, now celebrated annually all around the world.

Unless you’re a crossword puzzle freak, you may not know that a female swan is called "a pen." In this specific case, “The Hot Pink Pen" is an online site dedicated to wielding that pen to bridge the gap between female filmmakers and their natural audience of female film-lovers.

Use of the name “The Hot Pink Pen" also adds an amusing double entendre of the expression “the pen is mightier than the sword.” In this case, writing as “Penny” also signifies that a pen brings a different point of view to the cadre of mostly-male film critics who currently dominate American critics’ circles and online aggregators such as Rotten Tomatoes.

After 35 years in Chicago (where she was a member of the Chicago Film Critics Association), Jan moved to Brooklyn in 2012 (where she is now a member of New York Film Critics Online). Once settled into her new home, Jan quickly realized that she was unable to cover all the wonderful films by women filmmakers which open in NYC every week by herself, so she began adding interns to help improve her coverage.

Working under the umbrella of FF2 Media (www.ff2media.com), The Hot Pink Pen is now a rapidly growing online resource committed to reviewing every film released in New York City each week that was either written &/or directed by a woman filmmaker. The list of films is already huge and growing rapidly, conclusively proving that the problem is not “filling the pipeline.”

The films are there; what’s missing is the audience!

Our 2017 FF2 Media Team:

Publisher - Richard Bayard Miller (aka Mr. Jan Huttner)

Editor-in-Chief - Jan Lisa Huttner (aka Mrs. Rich Miller)

Managing Editor - Brigid Presecky

Executive Editor - Jessica Perry

Social Media Manager: Georgiana Presecky

Interns (still in school):

Katusha Jin (New York University, 2017)

Rachel Kastner (Barnard College, 2019)

Kimi Kay Kumar (Hunter College, 2017)

Amelie Lasker (Columbia University, 2018)

Peier Shen (Columbia University, 2017)

Contributors (out of school & on their way):

Lindsy Bissonnette

Giorgi Plys-Garzotto

Eliana Levenson

Stephanie Taylor

Senior Associates (established writers):

Lesley Coffin

Lisa Iannucci

Nora Lee Mandel

BONUS: PRE-BROOKLYN (About Penny in her Chicago Days)

Penny (aka The Hot Pink Pen) is Brooklyn-based film critic JAN LISA HUTTNER, the creative force behind WITASWAN ("wit-uh-swan" = Women in the Audience Supporting Women Artists Now!) & co-founder of International SWAN Day.

Photo Credit: Jennifer Girard

I am an award-winning author/activist who writes regular columns as well as freelance articles for multiple print and internet outlets. Since 2002, I've also done dozens of presentations on WITASWAN-related topics all around the USA (but primarily in Metro Chicago--where I lived for 35 years).

In April, AAUW-Illinois (the American Association of University Women) honored me with their 2012 "Agent of Change" award. In October, the Chicago Festival of Israeli Cinema dedicated a day of programming to me, selecting four films all directed by Israeli women (2 features & 2 docs). In 2005, 2006, and 2010, the Illinois Woman's Press Association gave me their "Silver Feather"award (~ "writer of the year").

The National Federation of Press Women gave me a first place certificate ("Best News Writing fo the Web") for my article on the 2004 Oscars, & a third place certificate ("Best Website Development") for my work on the 2009 Oscars.

A lifelong movie buff, I received my B.A. from St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland (the “Great Books” school), and Masters degrees in Psychology from Harvard University and the University of Chicago.

Unless you're a crossword puzzle freak, you may not know that a female swan is called "a pen." In this specific case, the "hot pink pen" is a writer dedicated to the WITASWAN cause. OK, but why, you may ask, is "Penny" pink?  Simple!  I was one of those girls who wanted to be a boy, so as a kid I NEVER wore pink.  But the fact of the matter is that I'm a "winter," so I happen to look good in pink.  What a quandary!

I can tell you exactly when it all started coming together for me: I began to embrace my pinkitude the first time I saw YENTL.  Thanks to Barbra Streisand, I now understand: I refuse to cut out my heart just because I want to use my mind!!! Click here to read about FUNNY GIRL & Second-Wave Feminism.

Huge thanks to cartoonist Sharon Rosenzweig for bringing my "Penny" persona to life!

Photo Credits: Jennifer Girard.  Follow this link for details --> THPP-Photos

Also, check out FILMS FOR TWO: THE ONLINE GUIDE FOR BUSY COUPLES.  FF2 is the website I run with my husband Rich.  FF2 contains hundreds of capsule reviews of films that both men and women will enjoy, as well as many additional features (interviews, tributes, Oscar picks, etc).

Contact me at jan_huttner at msn dot com or friend me on Facebook.

2 Responses
  1. Hello.

    I love your blog and your spotlight on women filmmakers.

    I wanted to share with you a project I have been producing for the past 2 years.

    “Girls! Girls! Girls!” is a feature film anthology of 6 short films all written, produced, edited, shot and directed by female filmmakers. Women of all ages, race and backgrounds have created a short film, each from a different genre and a different perspective on feminine power.

    Here is the trailer: http://vimeo.com/26461808

    An independent film’s success can only be supported by their community. That is why I am reaching out to you in hopes that our “little film that could” can become something greater and hopefully create more opportunities to women in the film industry.

    Thank you !

    http://www.girlsthefilm.com

  2. Jan, good for you, what an interesting turn of events for you! I wonder if you remember me from our PhD program at SUNY. I learned a lot from you, and had a lot of fun, too.
    –Debra (debbie)

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