Media Advisory: "The Mask You Live In"

Media Contact:

Mary Lilja
Lilja Communications for George Family Foundation 

Media Advisory
Sept. 15, 2015

“The Mask You Live In” Twin Cities screening, panel discussion open to the public

Acclaimed film follows boys as they struggle to stay true to themselves
while negotiating America's narrow definition of masculinity
Oct. 26 screening will be followed by a panel discussion with the filmmaker, national & local experts


Penny and Bill George, the George Family Foundation, and Maureen Pelton and Charlie Hartwell are hosting a screening of the groundbreaking film, “The Mask You Live In” which explores how gender norms impact boys and young men in America. The 97­minute film will be followed by a panel discussion that marks the first time acclaimed filmmaker, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, has appeared in the Twin Cities to discuss the film. She will be joined by a distinguished panel, moderated by MPR's Brian Newhouse, including: John J. Choi, Ramsey County Attorney; Ashanti Branch, Mentor and Executive Director, The Ever Forward Club (featured in the film); and Joe Ehrmann, Founder, Coach for America (featured in the film)


“The Mask You Live In” follows boys and young men as they struggle to stay true to themselves while negotiating America's narrow definition of masculinity.

 Pressured by the media, their peer groups and even the adults in their lives, the film's protagonists confront messages encouraging them to disconnect from their emotions, devalue authentic friendships, objectify women and resolve conflicts through violence. These gender stereotypes interconnect with race, class and circumstance, creating a maze of identity issues boys and young men must navigate to become “real” men.

 Experts in neuroscience, psychology, sociology, sports, education and media also weigh in, offering empirical evidence of the crisis and how best to combat it. “The Mask You Live In” is the second film released by The Representation Project, which inspires individuals and communities to create a world free from gender stereotypes and social injustices.


 7 p.m., Oct. 26, 2015

The Fitzgerald Theater
10 East Exchange St.
St. Paul, MN 55101

 Tickets for the Oct. 26 screening are $8 and can be purchased online through the Fitzgerald Box Office or at the door. For more information, contact the Fitzgerald Box Office.


This acclaimed film initially premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival to sold out crowds. This screening marks the first time the filmmaker Jennifer Siebel Newsom has traveled to Minneapolis to join national and local experts in a panel discussion on the subject.

 Additionally, beginning this year, Minneapolis is a pilot site for gender norms curriculum developed in concert with the film's release. Through a grant from the George Family Foundation, 10 schools will receive the curriculum free of charge for use in the classroom. Educators who have used the curriculum elsewhere report their students better understand gender stereotypes and the importance of positive representations of manhood to combat negative stereotypes.

 “We are funding initiatives like this one that help our young people understand how gender norms influence us as individuals and as a society,” said Gayle Ober, president of the George Family Foundation. “It's our hope that this thoughtful and thorough approach to the subject will benefit our community's young people in the years ahead.”

About George Family Foundation

Founded by Penny and Bill George in 1994, the George Family Foundation supports programs, organizations and initiatives that transform lives. The $68 million private family foundation has an annual grantmaking budget of $3.4 million. Areas of foundation interest include integrative health and healing, authentic leadership, the environment, spirituality, advancing women and girls, and youth development.

About The Representation Project

Using film as a catalyst for cultural transformation, The Representation Project inspires individuals and communities to challenge and overcome limiting stereotypes so that everyone, regardless of gender, race, class, age, sexual orientation, or circumstance, can fulfill their human potential. Jennifer Siebel Newsom founded The Representation Project, a 501(c)(3), in 2011 in response to the overwhelming public demand for ongoing education and social action in support of her first film, “Miss Representation.” Since then, The Representation Project has become well known for creating popular campaigns such as #NotBuyingIt, #AskHerMore and #BuildConfidence.