The Gentleman Bank Robber:
The Story of Butch Lesbian Freedom Fighter rita bo brown

documentary, prisonabolition, radicalpolitics, gender, queer, archives

Format: documentary featurette
Duration: 46 minutes
Year: 2017

The story of rita bo brown, a working-class butch from rural Oregon, an anti-authoritarian, anti-capitalist, ex-prisoner and member of the militant, underground George Jackson Brigade, active in the 1970s in the Pacific Northwest.

The Gentleman Bank Robber is a portrait of revolutionary rita bo brown, a white working class butch from rural Oregon who became known as “The Gentleman Bank Robber” in the 1970s for combining her butch style of dress with a polite way of demanding funds from bank tellers. The film moves between everyday moments with bo in and around her current home in Oakland, California, and historical retelling of the events of bo’s extraordinary life through interviews with bo and her collaborators, archival materials, and rare social movement ephemera. The Gentleman Bank Robber weaves together personal and political perspectives on 20th century social movement histories, including queer liberation in the 1960s; militant, underground activity with the George Jackson Brigade in the 1970s, a revolutionary prison abolitionist group; political prisoner support work in the 1980s, and prison activist work into the present day. bo brown is a model for how to lead a life of committed activism while maintaining a sense of humor and humanity.

If you would like to organize a screening email:
Closed captioning is available.

Significant creative contributions from Erin McNamara, Lydia Bartholow, Erin Yanke, Marisa Anderson, Lisa Schonberg, Anna Swanson, Riley King, James Casey, Briar Levit and Kat Enyeart.

Funded by a 2017 Oregon Media Arts Fellowship, an Oregon Arts Commission Career Opportunity Award, a Portland State University Faculty Enhancement Award, and a community of Kickstarter backers.