Woman of Influence: Jere Martin

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Jere Martin, co-founder Rocky Mountain Women’s Film Festival

Jere Martin doesn’t live in Colorado Springs anymore, but her influence remains.

She co-founded the Rocky Mountain Women’s Film Festival in Colorado Springs nearly 22 years ago, and even though she moved to Santa Fe, N.M., four years ago with her husband, attorney Ronald Michael Martin, she remains an integral part of the local community.

“I told my son about this recognition and he said, ‘Pioneers are always recognized after they’re gone,’” Martin said.

She doesn’t think of herself in those lofty terms and credits instead the city of Colorado Springs for the success of the longest-running women’s film festival in America.

“It became the community’s film festival with so many having a piece of ownership, even of course the audiences, which are a part of the success,” Martin said.

Martin lived in Colorado Springs for 35 years. She became a therapist and donated her time and talents to the city whenever she could.

“There’s a thread that grows through all of it,” she said. “I just grew up loving people’s stories. As a therapist, an avid reader, loving films and doing community work — it’s all about people’s stories expanding my world. It made me understand the diversity of the world better, and I was able to respond creatively to things that were needed through those stories.”

She herself is still a part of many Colorado Springs stories.

“I’m still involved in a non-local way with the Colorado Springs community. I still do activities and things from afar … The biggest problem for me is saying no.

“But it’s important to be active and respond to what you see as gaps and needs and ways to bring together talent to expand what’s happening in the community.”

Her biggest accomplishment, she said, has been raising two successful children — both her son and daughter are published writers living in Brooklyn, N.Y.

“I’m incredibly proud of having launched them from a wonderful family place like Colorado Springs,” she said.

Martin spends much of her time now working on her art — painting and collage work.

“I am fascinated by having a vision or idea and then opening up to the mystery of possibilities as I help that idea become a reality,” Martin said of her art and community projects.

She speaks fondly of a group of women who first met decades ago as a journaling group. She said it’s evolved into more of a spiritual group, now. The women travel, support each other, have deep discussions and more.

The group on several occasions has “pooled financial resources to help women and children in the community as part of its mission way before anyone talked about ‘giving circles,’” she said. “For over a decade we have anonymously given money to girls and women in need, in Colorado Springs, with the only stipulation being to pass it on to someone else when they are able to.”

As far as the future of the film festival, Martin sees it continuing to grow in stature and size.

“One of the constant themes from directors has been the incredible audiences we have in Colorado watching,” she said. “Great questions they ask often make (the directors) excited about going to make their next film.”

Martin is excited about remaining part of the Springs community.

“I’m a strong extrovert involved in a huge number of relationships,” Martin said. “It’s an incredibly rich friend group and to a large extent my family.”

By Dennis Huspeni