Women Who Made the Movies

A film by Gwendolyn Foster and Wheeler Dixon

1992 | 55 minutes | Color/BW | DVD | Order No. 99055


From the very beginnings of motion picture history, women have played prominent roles in front of the camera. But little is known about the major roles women played behind the camera as directors, writers, editors and other creative roles. Women were making films of great importance at the same time that better known male directors such as Edwin S. Porter and D.W. Griffith were monopolizing cinema history. Until recently, many of their contributions have been forgotten or ignored.

WOMEN WHO MADE THE MOVIES traces the careers and films of directors such as Alice Guy Blaché, arguably the first person to direct a film with a plot in 1896, "La Fée Aux Choux," who also experimented with color, synchronized sound, and films that gradually became more and more ambitious in length and subject matter. Others documented in this film include Ida Lupino, who also had a long career as an actor; Ruth Ann Baldwin, who directed numerous early westerns; Leni Riefenstahl, Hitler's film propagandist; as well as Dorothy Davenport Reid, Lois Weber, Kathlyn Williams, Germaine Dulac, Cleo Madison and many other women who made a lasting contribution to film history.

WOMEN WHO MADE THE MOVIES features film clips, stills and other archival materials, bringing to life the work of these essential and often neglected filmmakers.


"Infuriates and exhilarates all at once-infuriating that such film giants have been shunned by history, exhilarating to have them discovered and put in their proper perspective."

Ally Acker Author, Reel Women


  • Chicago Filmmakers FF


Wheeler Dixon

Wheeler Winston Dixon is the James Ryan Professor of Film Studies, Coordinator of the Film Studies Program, Professor of English at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, and, with Gwendolyn Audrey Foster, co-editor of the new book series Quick Takes: Movies and Popular Culture for Rutgers University Press. He is the author of more than thirty books on film history, theory and criticism, as well as more than 100 articles in various academic journals. In addition, he is active as an experimental film and video artist. Dixon's films have been screened at The Museum of Modern Art, The Whitney Museum of American Art, Anthology Film Archives, Filmhuis Cavia (Amsterdam), Studio 44 (Stockholm), La Lumière Collective (Montreal), The BWA Katowice Museum (Poland), The Microscope Gallery, The National Film Theatre (UK), The Jewish Museum, The Millennium Film Workshop, The San Francisco Cinematheque, The New Arts Lab, The Collective for Living Cinema, The Kitchen, The Filmmakers Cinematheque, Film Forum, Experimental Response Cinema and elsewhere.

In 2003, Dixon was honored with a retrospective of his films at The Museum of Modern Art, and his films were acquired for the permanent collection of the Museum, in both print and original format. His recent books include Black & White Cinema: A Short History (2015); Streaming: Movies, Media and Instant Access (2013); and Death of the Moguls: The End of Classical Hollywood (2012). Dixon's textbook A Short History of Film (2008, co-authored with Gwendolyn Audrey Foster) has just been published in a third edition in 2018. (7/19)

Gwendolyn Foster

Gwendolyn Audrey Foster is the Willa Cather Endowed Professor of English and Film Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where she teaches courses specializing in film, class, race and gender studies, as well as eco-critical approaches to film and popular culture. In addition, she is the co-editor of the new book series Quick Takes: Movies and Popular Culture for Rutgers University Press. Her many books include such titles as A Short History of Film (Rutgers University Press, co-written with Wheeler Winston Dixon, second edition 2013; third edition 2018); Class-Passing: Social Mobility in Film and Popular Culture (Southern Illinois University Press, 2005); Performing Whiteness: Postmodern Re/Constructions (State University of New York Press, 2003); and Identity and Memory: The Films of Chantal Akerman (Southern Illinois University Press, 2003).

As a filmmaker, Foster's work has been screened at Outfest (LA), Bi Arts Festival (Toronto), Anthology Film Archives (NYC), Nederlands Filmmuseum, Rice Museum, Collective for Living Cinema, Swedish Cinemateket, National Museum of Women in the Arts (DC), Bibliotheque Cantonale (Switzerland), International Film Festival of Kerala (India), Films de Femmes (Creteil), Women's Film Festival (Madrid), Kyobo Center, (Korea), Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art (NYC), Université Laval (Quebec), Forum Yokohama (Japan), Amos Eno Gallery (NYC), SLA 307 Art Space (NYC), Maryland Institute College of Art, Studio 44 (Stockholm), Museum of the Future (Berlin), X-12 Festival (UK), BWA Contemporary Art Museum (Poland), Filmhuis Cavia (Amsterdam), nGKB gallery (Berlin), Chimeres Space (Athens), Engauge Festival (Seattle), and many other venues and festivals around the world. (07/19)


Shopping Cart