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What Happened to Her
2016, 15 minutes, Color, DVD
Order No. W171206

WHAT HAPPENED TO HER is a forensic exploration of our cultural obsession with images of the dead woman on screen. Interspersing found footage from films and police procedural television shows and one actor’s experience of playing the part of a corpse, the film offers a meditative critique on the trope of the dead female body.

The visual narrative of the genre, one reinforced through its intense and pervasive repetition, is revealed as a highly structured pageant. The experience of physical invasion and exploitation voiced by the actor pierce the fabric of the screened fantasy. The result is recurring and magnetic film cliché laid bare. Essential viewing for Pop Culture, Women’s and Cinema Studies classes.


Hot Docs Canadian International Film Festival, Honorable Mention, Best Short Documentary
Dallas International Film Festival, Short Grand Jury Prize
Chicago Feminist Film Festival, Audience Award, Best Experimental Film

  • New York Film Festival
  • Hamptons International Film Festival
  • Mill Valley Film Festival
  • Sarasota Film Festival
  • San Francisco Documentary Film Festival
  • London Feminist Film Festival
  • Traverse City Film Festival
  • Dok Leipzig
  • International Film Festival Rotterdam

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    "This is powerful, sophisticated feminist filmmaking at its best and it Guevara-Flanagan's bold style - one that is both frightening and intimate - showcases her as an important, new voice in documentary filmmaking."
    Ellen C. Scott
    Associate Professor, UCLA

    "What Happened to Her is a chilling collection of cinematic images of dead women provocatively punctuated with commentary by one of the actors who has portrayed them. Raising awareness about the prevalence of such images in our media culture, the physical and affective labor involved in such performances, and how few uplifting roles exist for women actors in mainstream cinema, this film is a must-see for anyone interested in making movies, as well as all who consume them.”
    Mary Celeste Kearney
    University of Notre Dame.

    "Reveals our cultural obsession with images of murdered women as entertainment. It's a postmortem pageant that lays a Hollywood cliché bare, but regrettably not to rest."
    Angie Driscoll
    Hot Docs

    "We're very proud to present the Grand Jury Prize to "What Happened To Her" by Kristy Guevara-Flanagan, a bold new voice in cinema. This film addresses a trope that is so common in TV and film, that of the beautiful dead victim from the perspective of an actress who once played "the cadaver." This intelligent, meta analysis of a cinematic cliché is clever, well-crafted, spooky and unlike anything we’ve seen before."
    Dallas Film Festival

    "Guevara-Flanagan’s film is timely… might serve as a reflection of the precise zeitgeist of this cultural moment…"
    Dana Weidman, Associate Professor
    Dutchess Community College

    "Why did the beautiful young woman have to die so cruelly? Hollywood never tires of playing out the same scenario. This found footage film collects the film industry's repeat offenses by compiling endless half-naked and contorted female bodies, arranged for the male viewer who is usually present in the reverse angle shot: men staring at female corpses. An actress's off-screen report about her own experience and the excess of images reveal the sexual obsessions behind them."
    Lars Meyer
    Dok Leipzig

    "What Happened to Her offers a damning and timely critique of Hollywood's fixation with young, skinny, mostly blond, mostly white women who serve all too often as the plot-catalyzing corpses in the crime and detective genre…..Guevara-Flanagan reframes images of murdered women in forensic fiction as evidence rather of tendencies toward pathology and triteness in the American commercial film industry itself. Perhaps most significantly for media related fields, What Happened to Her promises to nip in the bud the knee-jerk, unconsidered student-filmmaker plans to stage pornographic violence against women in their own films. This is the incredible service Guevara-Flanagan has done for teachers in gender studies, cultural studies, film studies and film production both in and beyond the United States."
    Andy Rice, Assistant Professor
    Dpt. Media, Journalism and Film, Miami Univ, OH

    "A clever, irrefutable demonstration of our collective objectification of the female body. Impossible for any viewer to squirm away in denial. I am definitely showing this to students."
    Kelly Wittenberg, Assistant Professor
    Film, Video, & Media Studies, Western Michigan

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WMM offers film collections on a variety of specific subject areas, including the collections VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN: Ending the Silence, BODY IMAGE, and AFRICAN-AMERICAN: Celebrate the Lives of African-American Women.

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