Institute History

  • 2004 Sundance Film Festival


Katja von Garnier's sexy, exuberant tour de force tells the amazing story of fierce young suffragettes fighting for a Constitutional amendment guaranteeing women the right to vote. Headlining the stellar cast are Hilary Swank as brainy, charismatic Alice Paul, and Frances O'Connor as smart, cheeky Lucy Burns—real-life mavericks who mobilized a defiant vanguard that gave Congress a run for its money.

In 1912, Paul and Burns take the reins of the National American Women's Suffrage Association's (NAWSA) committee in Washington, D.C., where they organize a landmark parade on President Wilson's inauguration day. The march is violently disrupted by men on the sidelines. Many more ordeals follow, including opposition from the more conservative NAWSA old guard (led by a deliciously persnickety Anjelica Huston), and grisly sentences as political prisoners.

Firing up an effusive contemporary pop score, a sweeping, restless camera, and a vibrant palette to match the suffragettes' radiant dynamism, von Garnier goes into high gear to tell a classic American tale of struggle for justice. The film brims with issues still relevant today, as the plucky women warriors grapple with racism within the movement, friction between work and relationships, and the implications of protesting a wartime president. A formidable testament to the sacrifices and the blood shed for women's enfranchisement, Iron Jawed Angels may just embarrass people into actually going to the polls.

— Caroline Libresco

Screening Details

As you use our Online Archives, please understand that the information presented from Festivals, Labs, and other activities is taken directly from official publications from each year. While this information is limited and doesn't necessarily represent the full list of participants (e.g. actors and crew), it is the list given to us by the main film/play/project contact at the time, based on the space restrictions of our publications. Each entry in the Online Archives is meant as a historical record of a particular film, play, or project at the time of its involvement with Sundance Institute. For this reason, we can only amend an entry if a name is misspelled, or if the entry does not correctly reflect the original publication. If you have questions or comments, please email [email protected]