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Heard on CultureShift

New Doc Explores Why Less Than 7 Percent of American Restaurants Are Women-Owned

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Image credit: Courtesy of filmmaker Joanna James / "A Fine Line"

Former journalist and first-time filmmaker Joanna James is scoring major critical acclaim for her documentary “A Fine Line,” which highlights issues surrounding women in service and hospitality trades — including the filmmaker’s own mother.

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First time filmmaker Joanna James at the WDET studios in Detroit.Meta Stange
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First time filmmaker Joanna James at the WDET studios in Detroit.

First-time filmmaker Joanna James planned to focus her lens on her own mother Val James a longtime chef and restaurant owner of Val’s Restaurant & Lounge in central Massachusetts.

But she soon found herself highlighting the challenges within her mother’s own career to illustrate bigger systemic issues in her documentary “A Fine Line.”

The critically-acclaimed documentary dives into the challenges and opportunities facing women working in service and hospitality industries from workplace harassment to equal pay and paid parental leave.

A Fine Line” also features nationally-known chefs and restaurant owners like Dominique Crenn, the only female chef in America to attain three Michelin stars for her restaurant Atelier Crenn in San Francisco, as well as Cat Cora, Barbara Lynch and others.

Ahead of the documentary’s scheduled premiere in March 2020 on PBS, James is in Detroit for a special screening at the Jam Handy in the city’s North End neighborhood to preview “A Fine Line.” 

The event will also feature a conversation with local leaders in Detroit’s culinary scene like Lady of the House chef and owner Kate Williams; April Anderson of Good Cakes and Bakes; and Kiki Louya of Folk, who was recently interviewed by WDET after being named one of 16 African-American chefs changing the culinary landscape.

Click the player above to hear the CultureShift interview with “A Fine Line” director Joanna James during her stop in Detroit.

More info and tickets about the screening of “A Fine Line” in Detroit can be found here.

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Ryan Patrick Hooper, Host, CultureShift

Ryan Patrick Hooper is a host of CultureShift and longtime arts, culture and music reporter.

hooper@wdet.org Follow @hoopingtonpost

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