Madame Mars

Filmmaker: Jan Millsapps
Runtime: 32 min

Synopsis: In our first space age, we watched as buff-bodied astronaut heroes and can-do men in mission control got us to the moon and back, while space exploration remained an impossible dream for women. Before affirmative action policies, the few women who managed to find positions in the aerospace industry faced formidable and unrelenting workplace challenges. Before STEM education efforts, there were few opportunities and little or no encouragement for girls who yearned to someday explore space. Now, nearly half a century since humans left Earth orbit, a new space age has begun. How can we ensure that women play integrated roles in current and future space exploration efforts worldwide, not only as high profile astronauts, cosmonauts, and taikonauts, but as skilled members of the global “village” it will take to make all of this happen?

Madame Mars: Women and the Quest for Worlds Beyond reframes the story of space exploration as a feminist issue, connecting the original space age that denied opportunities to women, to current Mars initiatives that still lack a full commitment to diversity, and argues for a more inclusive spacefaring future. Madame Mars is populated by accomplished, intelligent and curious women who not only share the dream of finding one’s own place in space, but also a commitment to the ensuring that humanity will represent itself accurately and completely as we take our next big step out into the universe.


About the Filmmaker

Jan Millsapps, Professor Emeritus of Cinema at San Francisco State University, is a veteran filmmaker, a pioneering figure in the new media movement, an early web innovator, and a versatile and accomplished writer.

She has produced films, videos, and interactive media on subjects ranging from domestic violence to global terrorism, has been a featured blogger for Apple, Huffington Post and Thrive Global, and has written two space-themed novels. Her recent documentary, Madame Mars: Women and the Quest for Worlds Beyond, premiered at the United Nations in Vienna and has been shown at Puerto Rico’s famed Arecibo Observatory, the venerable University of Cambridge in the U.K., the New York Academy of Sciences’ Global STEM Summit, and at numerous film festivals, winning first prize, professional documentary, at the 2019 Raw Science Film Festival in Los Angeles. Millsapps has spoken about the need for diversity in space at several Mars Society Conventions, the United Nations in New York, and the SETI Institute. She is a founding member of the global Space for Women support and advocacy network.