Taken as a whole, “I Wanna Be Everything”, despite its message that it’s possible for women to be filmmakers just as much as men, doesn’t add up to much because it doesn’t contain much that can really make a connection. This documentary’s aim is to give a glimpse into the Girls’ Film School in Santa Fe, New Mexico, but at times ends up looking more like an extended commercial for the school instead of really giving insight into what goes on here. Sure there is footage of the girls of the program editing their films, shooting, learning about cinematography, camerawork, and acting, but it doesn’t feel like a whole lot is learned.
The guides into the school are three girls, Melanie, Kimani, and Jessie who all come from different backgrounds, from a Navajo reservation to a dead-end town in South Carolina. Once they get settled into the school, they disappear into the background. The footage showing everything involved in the program, from editing to acting to directing, goes far too fast and feels like a bit of a cheat considering everything that the girls are doing. The emphasis here for them is to try their hand at what they never really thought would be possible for them. But there are times, especially when Jenniphr Goodman of “The Tao of Steve” talks to the students, where more time in the school would have sufficed. It almost ends up feeling like a mess of footage that’s screaming to be made into an extended commercial to advertise the school. This is probably a school that has not been seen or heard of by many outside of the participants, instructors, and various media that have come upon it, and it needs more time in there.
Watching these girls trying to make their films is absolutely amazing and some of the result, seen briefly is actually kind of good. But without more footage, it doesn’t feel like much of a connection is made here. We learn enough about Melanie, Kimani, and Jessie before they come to the school, but the school would have benefited from more of a focus on it.