The Women on the Mother Road: Route 66 Documentary Project

Route 66 has struck a chord with Americans and an ever growing international audience since its inception in 1926.  Its roughly 2,400 miles from Chicago to California still signify economic opportunity, a better life, adventure and a gateway to the West.  However, despite being coined “The Mother Road”,  the narrative of the road, as conveyed by popular culture and historical works, has primarily focused on men and often overlooked the experiences of women and girls.  This is not unique, as it has been true of much of the representations of women in the American West.  

The Women On The Mother Road will address the omission of women, including African American, Asian American, Hispanic and Native American women, incorporating the experiences of the diverse women who traveled, lived and worked alongside it. In the past, the minimal representations of women along Route 66 have tended to focus on migrant mothers traveling with children in search of a better life. While this is one aspect of women’s experiences along the road, it is not the only one.

Director and producer of the project Katrina Parks will partner and collaborate with Cinefemme and other organizations on this women’s history project, which is a follow up to her successful documentary The Harvey Girls: Opportunity Bound which was broadcast on a dozen PBS stations, nominated for a James Beard Award and continues to sellout museum events across the country.  Katrina and Cinefemme’s shared goal for this project is to bring diverse women’s voices and experiences along the Mother Road to the forefront, in order to create a dynamic documentary project that will fill a void in historical research and popular culture, while engaging the public and potential tourists in Route 66’s history through a new lens.  The project will begin with a web-site and oral history project and evolve into a documentary film.  It has received funding from The National Park Service’s Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program.

This project is made possible with support from state humanities councils including California Humanities, a non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities (www.calhum.org) and the National Park Service Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program.

KATRINA PARKS BIO:
Katrina is an award-winning filmmaker whose video work has received grants from humanities councils, museums and foundations, and has been featured in many showcases. Her video piece “wrappings,” in which she wore a dress made entirely out of trash to Wall Street and other venues around the US, won a SASA Award from the United Nations. As a writer and supervising producer, Katrina has worked on programs for channels including Discovery Channel, PBS, Planet Green, Spike, TLC and Travel Channel. She has a BFA from the University of New Mexico in painting and drawing, and an MFA from San Francisco State University in Film Production.

The Women On The Mother Road