While she attended U.C. Santa Cruz only for a few years, her subsequent move to Portland, Oregon began the catalyst that would push her career forward and convince her to pursue her creative impulses as a career, whether in film, writing, performance art or music (Durbin 2005).
Portland was an artist-friendly location where Ms. July could flourish and grow as a performance artist. In 1996, now an experimental filmmaker, she began a project called Joanie4Jackie as a way to inspire and showcase the works of female filmmakers, soliciting short films that would then be put on videotape and distributed as a cinematic chain letter (Wenclas 2010). She later created a second collection of submitted films called the Co-Star series. The Joanie4Jackie series would eventually find a larger audience through screenings at film festivals and DIY events. Her level of creative success and the productive nature of her portfolio would continue to grow.
Why the newly defined focus on filmmaking? For Ms. July, the move was a natural progression as she matured creatively and understood that the power of film allows the author a unique means of expression that other creative mediums may lack. As she told an interviewer for Believer Magazine:
I became really interested in how much I could show this hard-to-articulate, kind of magical or somewhat ephemeral things through really worldly, grounded ways. And it just seemed like this medium was good for that. (Horowitz 2005)
Artistically preoccupied with the human condition, primarily the weight of loneliness and our desire to relieve that burden through some type of personal connection, Ms. July breathes life into the mundane.