Women leadership highlighted in upcoming Pine Lake documentary

Get ready to see Pine Lake as the center of attention in One Production Place’s newest film.

Elisa Gambino, who is one half of One Place Productions, a film production company, alongside Neal Broffman, wants to showcase what a woman-led town looks like in the company’s upcoming documentary Robe, Gavel and Gun.

“I’ve found that the women are really collaborative,” Gambino said. “When I watch them in their council meetings or their interactions with the community I don’t get a sense that they’re coming at things with their own agenda. I feel like they’re quite open-minded. The city council is remarkable to me.”

However, while filming in Pine Lake and getting to know the residents, Gambino has found that a number of residents don’t know that their town is run by women.

Those women include Mayor Melanie Hammet; city council members Jean Bordeaux, Kris Casariego, Brandy Hall, Megan Pulsts and Augusta Woods; Chief of Police Sarai Y’hudah-Green; Municipal Court Judge L’Erin Barnes Wiggins; Otanya Clarke, court solicitor; Jennifer Cook, clerk administrator; Martha McMillan, deputy court clerk; and Missye Varner, administrative assistant.

According to Gambino, 18 women take part in running the DeKalb municipality.

“They’re all women, young and older women,” Gambino said. “One thing that is very unique about being in a small city is that they can’t hide behind their office. They can’t. They are facing their constituents every single day.”

The filmmaker went on to explain, since observing the women, how the city officials are also held more accountable than in larger municipalities since they are more available.

Of the 1,365 mayors of U.S. cities 21.8 percent are women as of March 2018, according to the Center for American Women and Politics.

According to Gambino, the country doesn’t have 51 percent women representation in government. She questions, “Why not? Let’s get there.

“We’ve seen what it looks like when it’s men,” Gambino said. “What I’m seeing with women is that they really have an ability to take a look at the needs of the community in an open-minded way.”

Gambino recognizes that male leaders in DeKalb’s smallest city also have done a great job. She mentions Pine Lake’s male mayors before Hammet who also had great leadership qualities.

The documentary will be for education purposes for high school and college students. The film is also directed at women of any age and education level.

“I would hope women would watch it and say maybe I didn’t go to law school but that doesn’t mean there’s not a place for me in the political system,” the filmmaker said.

Gambino said she feels that there are preconceived notions that to be a leader in government a person must complete undergrad, go to law school, work their way up from local politics and be a man.

Although Gambino said that politics is important to her, this upcoming documentary will be One Production Place’s first political film.

The documentary that started filming at the beginning of August will finish filming in November. The finished product is expected to be completed by spring 2019.


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