Jen Marlowe

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Reflections on Resistance:
Dignity in the Face of Atrocity

Jen Marlowe is an award-winning documentary filmmaker, author, playwright and human rights activist. Through film, writing, theatre and other artistic platforms, Jen seeks to share the resilience and courage of those who have been marginalized and oppressed and are choosing resistance with nonviolence, humanity and dignity.

Through more than a decade of world-spanning activism and peace work Jen has encountered repeatedly, individuals and communities struggling against oppression with unimaginable grace.  Maintaining their dignity in the face of violence and mistreatment, these inspirational figures have allowed Jen to enter their lives and bring their stories to the larger stage.

From Sudan, where she made the films Darfur Diaries and Rebuilding Hope to Palestine/Israel, where she made the film One Family in Gaza and co-wrote the book The Hour of Sunlight, to the Kingdom of Bahrain, where she documented the Arab Spring, to death row here in the United States, Jen brings audiences footage and stories of heroic individuals she has met in some of the most devastated places on earth, and shares their struggle to be heard.

Bahrain poster - new laurelJen’s 2015  film Witness Bahrain is an intimate, in depth portrayal of the Bahraini government’s violent repression of Bahrain’s Arab Spring.  Her play ‘There Is A Field’, is about her friend Aseel Asleh, a 17-year old Palestinian citizen of Israel killed by police in October 2000. Based on interviews and primary sources collected over fourteen years, the play offers a uniquely personal lens for understanding inequality as the root of state violence and impunity.  The play will be touring US campuses in 2016.

IATD-coverJen worked to prevent the execution of Troy Davis, an innocent man who was executed by the state of Georgia on September 21, 2011. Her third book, I Am Troy Davis, co-written with Martina Davis-Correia and with Troy Davis, was released in September 2013, two years after Troy’s death.

Jen has addressed hundreds of audiences and is uniquely skilled at bringing the human details of these stories to life whether the audience is new to the issue or deeply knowledgeable.  Audience members come away with a new appreciation for what it means to stand in solidarity with those struggling for their human rights all over the globe.

Jen Marlowe is the founder of the production company Donkeysaddle Projects.  Her writing has appeared in The Nation, Al Jazeera America,, yes!, Colorlines,  +972 Magazine, The Progressive, Haaretz, Counterpunch, The Guardian, and the Seattle Times, among others.  Jen has been the recipient of grants, residencies and fellowships from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, the Nation Institute Investigative Fund, the Dorot Foundation, Seattle’s Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs, Hedgebrook, and the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace & Justice. She has appeared on Democracy Now!, C-SPAN-2, Reuters, NPR, and RussiaTV.  Her films have appeared on Seattle’s KCTS 9, Current TV, and Halogen TV.


The Response

“Jen Marlowe brought a refreshing activist view of the current political struggle in Bahrain to the forefront of students’ minds. Her capturing firsthand experience has the ability to bring awareness to a heavy topic.”

Tatiana Tuccio
Campus Awareness of Multicultural Opportunities Chair
Gonzaga University

“Jen Marlowe is a speaker with genuine heart. She spoke as a keynote for our annual Dr. Martin Luther King commemoration event and primed our audience for continued social action locally, nationally, and globally. We were thrilled with her thoughtful words and multiple appearances during her residency. She was truly a partner in the event planning process and actively sought to make her contributions as tailored to our needs as possible.”

Kimberly Irland
Director of Campus Life
Jamestown Campus & North County Extension Center

“Jen Marlowe’s visit to Buena Vista University was a huge success.  Not only was Jen flexible in talking to and working with a variety of campus constituencies while she was here, but she was as able to captivate them all, from a large crowd of hundreds to luncheons of five.  The compassion and inspiration she brings along with her expertise energized our students and our campus.”

Jamii Claiborne
Assistant Professor of Digital Media
Buena Vista University

“Jen Marlowe presented at our graduate student conference at Florida International University in March 2012. The audience was large but she captivated the group from the first moment when she described the first time she really asked herself, in the face of terrible tragedy far away, “What can I do?”. This set the stage for a moving and inspiring account of her work that called on students to ask themselves that very same question. During the presentation Jen masterfully drew connections between conflicts in Darfur and Palestine and to the  execution, in the US, of Troy Davis. She did so by recalling intimate stories and captured moments of devastation and love, of resilience and struggle. Through photography, recordings of voices and powerful film material Jen wove together stories of injustice, oppression and violence but also of peace, solidarity and hope. In our post-talk reflection students spoke about the powerful nature of her work, how inspired they felt to connect with the injustices they see around them, and how connected they felt afterwards to the people and places Jen spoke of and that had once seemed so distant to them. And, though the material is very sensitive, troubling and raises many important issues, Jen is a wonderful presence, facilitating challenging questions, discussion and debate in a way that opens up space for dialog.”

Caroline Faria
Department of Global and Sociocultural Studies
Florida International University

“Jen Marlowe combines the passion of an activist, the keen eye of a journalist, and the skill of a master storyteller.”

Barron Boyd
Interim Dean of Arts and Sciences
Le Moyne College

“Jen Marlowe’s visit to Nichols College was an inspiration to many of our students. She was called ‘passionate,’ ‘inspirational,’ and ‘engaging.’ One student wrote ‘This has been the most eye-opening program I have ever been to. It makes me want to do something to help Darfur and Pakistan instead of sitting back and caring about just myself.’ Jen provided excellent background information, great visuals, dedication to her cause and a high level of professionalism. We would love to have her return in the future.”

Blanche Milligan
Director, Fischer Policy and Cultural Institute
Nichols College

“Jen Marlowe captivated an audience of over 1,200 faculty and students with her talk on ‘art as activism.’ Her message inspired students to think about ways that they could make a difference in the lives of others both within their own communities and the world at large. Jen is an engaging speaker with a powerful and irresistible message.”

Laura Rossi-Le
Dean of the Undergraduate College
Endicott College

“At the 2008 President’s Forum on International Human Rights: Modern Genocides and Global Responsibility, Jen Marlowe […] provided our students with enormous insight into the human rights abuses that continue to occur in Sudan. Her visit offered a glimpse into the kind of social justice work that truly makes a difference on the planet. Without question, our community benefited tremendously from her lecture and we hope that she will be able to return in the near future.”

Perrin Reid, M.A., J.D.
Director, Office of Equity and Diversity
California State University, Long Beach

News & Updates

  • 01/06/2016 Jen Marlowe: book review from behind bars

    Read a touching review of Jen Marlowe’s book I Am Troy Davis from a prisoner on Texas’ death row.

    • 12/30/2015 Jen Marlowe end-of-year review

      Tireless human rights advocate Jen Marlowe summarizes the accomplishments of this past year in her end-of-year newsletter. Continue supporting Jen’s ventures through Donkey Saddle Projects here.

      • 12/29/2015 Jen Marlowe: Black Children Matter

        As the news is still echoing in our ears that the police office who shot 12 year-old Tamir Rice will not be indicted, read human rights advocate Jen Marlowe‘s latest blog post on the subject.

        • 09/05/2014 The Equal Voice Advocate features Jen Marlowe’s writing

          Jen Marlowe’s writing is featured in ‘The Equal Voice Advocate’ this month. The Equal Voice Advocate is the publication of Hedgebrook. “My writing (and filmmaking) is in the service of activism, but I don’t know if that makes it activist writing.”

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