The Naples International Film Festival celebrates and showcases independent film and filmmakers in an intimate festival setting that livens and enriches the community, as well its cultural and artistic life.
Code: Debugging the Gender Gap was one of the featured films in which guests were invited to partake in a one-on-one question and answer session with the filmmaker, Robin Hauser Reynolds, and local leaders who had a particular interest in the film.
Code pinpointed the key concept of why girls and minorities aren’t as prominent in the computer science and programming industry as boys, and how we see these issues in our own backyard of Southwest Florida. The film has been screened in various film festivals and universities nationwide, as well as at the White House.
Hodges University professor and Code panelist Tracy Lanham spoke on how the National Center for Women & Information Technology has been a huge inspiration to all of those involved with the Aspire IT Program for middle school girls.
“It’s amazing because the group of people I work with have been absolutely instrumental in making sure that I’m integrated into the community, into the schools, and able to do what I can to get everyone involved,” said Lanham during the Q&A panel.
“We run a summer camp in both Lee and Collier County, and it is targeted just at middle school girls. The amazing thing about the Aspire IT program is that we have one of our Aspirations in Computing young ladies come in and teach the camp, and she’s actually a student at FGCU.”
Arthrex Coordinator and panelist Dennis O’Keefe is a partner with FGCU’s Coding Academy, and has had his daughter attend the summer camps at the school. The academy offers a 3-day program for students in grades 7 and 8, and a 1-day program for students in grades 4, 5 and 6.
Filmmaker Reynolds offered her thoughts on how this is not only a local issue, but also an economic issue. She stated that there are less women in computer science engineering than in the mid-80s. In the film, she references Brogrammers, or “the fratboys’ answer to jobs in IT.” Reynolds hopes that change comes around with bringing in local female role models to encourage young girls to pursue careers in computer science.
During a three-day weekend filled with short films, narrative and documentary features, participants are able to broaden their film experiences at just $14 per movie ticket at Silverspot Cinema in Naples. Special ticket packages were available for those who attended the Sponsor & Filmmaker Reception, the Saturday Night Party at Row, or the Closing Night Film & Wrap Party hosted at Artis–Naples.
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