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Patricia Ritz

Pat considers herself first and foremost a citizen activist, which requires one to be a critical analyst and communicator. Being a film critic uses those same skills of critical thinking and writing. As a student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Pat participated in the anti-Vietnam War movement and experienced firsthand the power of activism and passive resistance. She also became convinced of the ability of media and film to effect politics and social change.

With an MBA in Marketing she joined IBM as part of the first wave of women entering the corporate workplace and joined the fight to end sexual harassment and wage discrimination (it didn’t hurt that the Secretary of the Department of Labor, Lynn Martin, was a personal friend). Leaving IBM to raise her son, Pat soon was working on environmental issues, women’s reproductive rights, minority access to education, and historic preservation and the abuse of eminent domain. “Fortunately my husband was an attorney and he would help write petitions or march alongside me when emotions ran high on certain topics and it looked like things could get out of control.”

Pat also sees the need for film to be for pure entertainment, without any underlying motives of persuasion. She and her husband became personal friends of Tommy Lee Jones when they played on the same polo team in Texas. “He never wanted to be treated like a movie star. He just wanted to talk about horses and polo, and be just one of the guys.” Now her stepdaughter lives in L.A. and works in the movie industry. “I have to admit that I was a little disappointed when I heard that she was no longer dating George Clooney. Can you imagine how fun it would be to have George for a son-in-law?”

Before moving to Hamburg Pat served on the board of the Chicago-Hamburg sister city program. This program has sponsored cultural exchanges of art and film, and Pat hopes to help it to continue to grow as the American Zentrum in the HafenCity becomes established.

Pat recently attended the 2005 Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin and participated in the “Selling Democracy - Winning the Peace” workshops which discussed the films made under the Marshall Plan to build a democratic and united Europe. These films had been banned in the U.S. for the last fifty years but thanks to legislation introduced by Senator John Kerry they have now been released “I hope to bring these films to the attention of the American Women’s Club of Hamburg and to the other members of the Federation of American Women’s Clubs Overseas, as the subject of nation building is once again an international focus and priority.”

Films Reviewed by Patricia Ritz