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WOMEN BEHIND THE LENS
 
As directors, producers, actors, and screenwriters, women have utilized the power of film to create and transform their stories and images. From sexual politics as a cinematic subject in SUFFRAGETTES IN THE SILENT CINEMA and as a cinematographic choice in FILMING DESIRE to interviews with women directors around the globe in SHOOTING WOMEN and SISTERS OF THE SCREEN, this collection presents a look at women’s crucial contributions to cinema’s history and global reach.

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films in this collection

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Anna May Wong: In Her Own Words
A film by Yunah Hong

Anna May Wong knew she wanted to be a movie star from the time she was a young girl—and by 17 she became one. A third generation Chinese-American, she went on to make dozens of films in Hollywood and Europe. She was one of the few actors to successfully transition from silent to sound cinema, co-starring with Marlene Dietrich, Anthony Quinn and Douglas Fairbanks along the way. She was glamorous, talented and cosmopolitan—yet she spent most of her career typecast either as a painted doll or a scheming dragon lady. For years, older generations of Chinese-Americans frowned upon the types of roles she played; but today a younger generation of Asian Americans sees her as a pioneering artist, who succeeded in a hostile environment that hasn’t altogether changed. More


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Filming Desire:
A Journey Through Women's Film

A film by Marie Mandy

“In this bold documentary Marie Mandy asks the question: how do women directors film love, desire, and, especially, sexuality? In rare interviews with many of the leading women directors working in the world today – including Sally Potter, Agnès Varda, Catherine Breillat, Doris Dörrie, Deepa Mehta, Moufida Tlatli, Safi Faye, and Jane Campion – FILMING DESIRE: A JOURNEY THROUGH WOMEN'S CINEMA directly engages the sexual politics of cinematographic choice. More


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Girl From God’s Country: The History of Women in Film and Other War Stories
A film by Karen Day

GIRL FROM GOD'S COUNTRY is the untold story of the first female independent filmmaker and action-adventure heroine, Nell Shipman (1892-1970), who left Hollywood to make her films in Idaho. An unadulterated, undiscovered adventure tale of a pioneering woman who rewrote the rules of filmmaking, and, in so doing, paved the way for independent voices–especially prominent female voices in today’s film industry. Her storylines of self-reliant women overcoming physical challenges in the wilderness and often, rescuing the male lead, shattered the predictable cinematic formulas of large studio productions. More

Cannes World Cinema Initiative, Best Documentary

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Golden Gate Girls
A film by S. Louisa Wei



In GOLDEN GATE GIRLS author and professor S. Louisa Wei tells the story of filmmaker Esther Eng, the first woman to direct Chinese-language film in the US, and the most prominent woman director in Hong Kong in the 1930’s. A San Francisco native and open lesbian, her contribution to film history is sadly overlooked – her 11 feature films mostly lost. After the retirement of director Dorothy Arzner in 1943 and before Ida Lupino began directing in 1949, Eng was the only woman directing feature length films in the US. More


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Nollywood Lady
A film by Dorothee Wenner

Peace Anyiam-Fibresima of Lagos, Nigeria is an impresario of showbiz and an impassioned spokeswoman for the thriving and innovative African film industry. She is “Nollywood Lady,” an ex-lawyer, producer, filmmaker, and the founder and CEO of the influential African Academy of Motion Pictures. And she is reshaping the way Africans see themselves—and how the world sees Africans. More


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Shooting Women
A film by Alexis Krasilovsky

Featuring more than 50 camerawomen from around the world, and shot over a period of six years, SHOOTING WOMEN, by pioneering filmmaker and cinema studies professor Alexis Krasilovsky, celebrates the amazing talent and unflinching spirit of image-making women from the sets of Hollywood and Bollywood to the war zones of Afghanistan. More

San Francisco Women’s Film Festival, Best Women in Cinema Award & Tribute Award
Female Eye Film Festival, Best Documentary Film

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Sisters of the Screen
African Women in the Cinema

A film by Beti Ellerson

Exploring the extraordinary contributions of women filmmakers from Africa and the diaspora, Beti Ellerson’s engaging debut intersperses interviews with such acclaimed women directors as Safi Faye, Sarah Maldoror, Anne Mungai, Fanta Régina Nacro and Ngozi Onwurah with footage from their seminal work. With power and nuance, Ellerson also confronts the thorny question of cultural authenticity by revisiting the legendary 1991 FESPACO (Pan-African Festival of Cinema and Television of Ouagadougou), in which diasporian women were asked to leave a meeting intended for African woman only. More


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Suffragettes in the Silent Cinema
A Film by Kay Sloan

In the days before movies could talk, silent films spoke clearly of sexual politics, and in Suffragettes in the Silent Cinema, historian and writer Kay Sloan has assembled rare and wonderful footage that opens a historic window onto how women’s suffrage was represented in early American cinema. More


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Ulrike Ottinger - Nomad from the Lake
Die Nomaden Vom See

A film by Brigitte Kramer

This intimate personal portrait of Ulrike Ottinger, a unique, influential voice in women’s cinema for over four decades, begins at the lakeside city of Constance, where she was born and started her career. Describing key moments in her life, including the impact of student protests in Paris and her move from painting to filmmaking, Kramer traces Ottinger’s artistic development. Excerpts from her films, notably Madame X; Dorian Gray in the Mirror of the Yellow Press; Johana d’Arc of Mongolia; and documentaries shot in Asia (recently released by WMM), explore her luxuriant cinematic style combining fact and fiction in opulent, idiosyncratic images. More


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Up in the Sky: Tracey Moffatt in New York
A film by Jane Cole

"UP IN THE SKY scans the universe created by the provocative and talented photographer and filmmaker Tracey Moffatt, Australia's answer to Cindy Sherman and with even more of an edge, if that's possible. An important figure in the Australian postcolonial avant-garde, Moffatt started out with visually compelling (and often disturbing) photographs and films such as NICE COLOURED GIRLS, NIGHT CRIES, and BEDEVIL that explore her own Aboriginal heritage and the complex ways that power, race and gender intersect, often violently, in everyday life. More recently, her work draws on sources as diverse as Pasolini and Mad Max films, or Victorian photography. Jane Cole's documentary is an insightful portrait of Moffatt and her work, and an invaluable framework for anyone interested in the work of this cutting edge artist." More


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Women Who Made the Movies
A film by Gwendolyn Foster and Wheeler Dixon

WOMEN WHO MADE THE MOVIES traces the careers and films of such pioneer women filmmakers as Alice Guy Blaché, Ruth Ann Baldwin, Ida Lupino, Leni Riefenstahl, Dorothy Davenport Reid, Lois Weber, Kathlyn Williams, Cleo Madison, and many other women who made a lasting contribution to cinema history with their films. Featuring clips from the films, rare archival footage and stills, WOMEN WHO MADE THE MOVIES brings to life the works of these remarkable women. Critical viewing for all those interested in the history of cinema. More




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Violence Against Women: Ending the Silence


Highlighting the extraordinary strength of women who survive sexual assault, institutional disregard, domestic violence and more, these films break the historical silence that has often surrounded issues of violence against women. See the full collection here.

AFRICAN-AMERICAN: Celebrate the Lives of African-American Women

Shooting Women

Including the essential civil rights films CHISOLM '72 - UNBOUGHT AND UNBOSSED and STANDING ON MY SISTERS' SHOULDERS, the acclaimed documentary LOVE & DIANE and biographies on the inimitable Audre Lorde and Beah Richards, the African American Collection celebrates the lives of African American women and the contributions they have made to their families, their communities and society. 


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Women Make Movies is a multicultural, multiracial, non-profit media arts organization which facilitates the production, promotion, distribution, and exhibition of independent films and videotapes by and about women. contact us