"Powerful" - Booklist | RECOMMENDED - Educational Media Reviews Online | "An unflinching study of a complex situation" - The Boston GlobeCriminal Justice & Reform • Women’s Studies • African American Studies • Sociology
Date of Completion: 2020 | Run Time: 88 minutes | Language: English with Spanish subtitles | Captions: Yes | Includes: Transcript | Director: Deirdre Fishel | Producers: Deirdre Fishel, Aideen Kane, and Beth Levison
Filmed from 2017-2020, WOMEN IN BLUE follows Minneapolis’ first female police chief Janeé Harteau, as she works to reform the Minneapolis Police Department by getting rid of bad cops, retraining the rest, diversifying the ranks, and promoting women—who statistically use less force than their male counterparts—into every rank of leadership. The film focuses on four women in Harteau’s department, each trying to redefine what it means to protect and serve. After a high-profile, officer-involved shooting forces Chief Harteau to resign, the new, male chief selects only men as his top brass. The women left behind must grapple with working to rebuild community trust, in a department where women have lost power.
WOMEN IN BLUE offers an unprecedented view into the inner workings of the MPD, chronicling a department—and a community—grappling with racism and a troubled history of police misconduct long before an MPD officer killed George Floyd in May of 2020. The film reveals the limitations of police reform through incremental change and asks questions that apply well beyond the city of Minneapolis. Could increased gender equity and more women—especially Black women—contribute to greater public safety?
The New York Times
Women In Blue "reveals the limitations of police reform through incremental changes and asks — and tries to answer — questions that apply well beyond the city of Minneapolis, including whether increased gender equity and more women, particularly Black women, contribute to better public safety."
Educational Media Reviews Online | Timothy Hackman, University of Maryland
RECOMMENDED "Women in Blue makes for compelling viewing for the access it offers to women both on the front lines and in leadership positions in the police department of a major American city, and for its portrait of the turmoil within the Minneapolis Police Department in the years immediately before the murder of Mr. Floyd."
"This powerful documentary follows some of the Minneapolis Police Department’s 'women in blue' as they patrol streets, make traffic stops, interact with a woman after a non-fatal suicide attempt, and serve on committees that works against domestic abuse and sex trafficking ... This program raises questions about the role of the police in society, the need to address the underlying causes of crime, and the challenges women face in law enforcement."
"Suitable for classroom discussions on law enforcement's racist and sexist history. Recommended."
The Boston Globe
"An unflinching study of a complex situation, showing gray areas where often only black and white are seen."
"Women in Blue gives us some early clues that there was something dreadfully wrong going on in the Minneapolis Police Department."
The Aisle Seat
"Women in Blue reminds us that women officers are statistically way less likely to be involved in excessive force situations. This is a compelling look at a group of women who are dedicated to their job and transforming the department."
"Women in Blue is not only about the role of women, but the deep problem of race, all jumbled with the tremendously hard job of policing itself."
"Fishel’s doc will serve as a valuable reminder that women should be represented in leadership roles from the start."
"Deirdre Fishel’s sobering documentary follows the Minneapolis Police Department in the years leading up to George Floyd’s death."
Audience Documentary Award | Filmocracy
Tribeca Film Festival
Foyle Film Festival
African Diaspora International Film Festival
Rocky Mountain Women’s Festival
St. Louis Film Festival
Denver Film Festival
Twin Cities Film Festival
Virginia Film Festival
Hot Springs Documentary Festival
Chagrin Documentary Film Festival
Vancouver International Film Festival
Irish Film Institute
Big Eddy Film Festival
FIN Atlantic International Film Festival
All Genders, Lifestyles & Identities Film Festival
Berkshire International Film Festival
Cordillera Film Festival
Salem Film Festival
AFI DOCS Film Festival
Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival Reimagined
Police Violence Symposium | Hopkins Center for the Arts at Dartmouth
REQUEST A GOOD TALK WITH DEIRDRE FISHEL
Director of WOMEN IN BLUE
Deirdre Fishel is a producer/director of documentaries and dramas that have premiered in competition at Sundance, SXSW, AFI and Full Frame and have been broadcast in 35 countries worldwide. Fishel's most recent documentary, WOMEN IN BLUE, was an official selection of the Tribeca Film Festival and will broadcast on PBS' Independent Lens in 2021. Her 2016 documentary CARE, which looks at the poignant but hidden world of home elder care was funded by ITVS, the Ford and MacArthur Foundations and broadcast on America Reframed. Deirdre is an Associate Professor and the director of the BFA in Film/Video at the City College of New York.