Girl From God’s Country: The History of Women in Film and Other War Stories

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. Featuring rare archival footage by early pioneers, including minority filmmakers, Zora Neale Hurston and Miriam Wong, the first Chinese-American filmmaker in 1914 and present day interviews with Geena Davis and the Director of Women in Film, GIRL FROM GOD’S COUNTRY discuss how gender-inequities that Shipman and her counterparts faced perpetuate in today's film industry. Emblematic of an entire lost generation of female producers and directors in silent film, Nell Shipman’s legacy has remained a buried treasure in film history for nearly 100 years. Required viewing for Women’s and Cinema Studies.
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Shadow Girl

SHADOW GIRL is the extraordinary story of a filmmaker struggling with the prospect of losing her vision. While editing her last film in Toronto, Chilean-born filmmaker María Teresa Larraín suddenly begins to go blind. After she’s denied disability benefits by the Canadian government, she returns home to Chile. There, inspired by the resilience and wisdom of the blind street vendors she meets, María Teresa confronts her fears and steps courageously into her new life while reclaiming her dignity and her voice as an artist. This powerful and poetic film raises complex questions about art and “vision,” able and dis-abled, and poverty and privilege.
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Golden Gate Girls

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. Wei’s documentary paints a fascinating picture of how Eng’s career in filmmaking broke through gender and racial boundaries in Hollywood and Hong Kong, at a time when opportunities for Chinese women in the industry were few and far between. With a captivating archive of newly discovered images and interviews with those who knew her, Wei uncovers a rich chapter of film history that challenges both gender hierarchies and national narratives. Essential viewing for Cinema Studies and Asian American Studies.
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Illusions

The time is 1942, a year after Pearl Harbor; the place is National Studios, a fictitious Hollywood motion picture studio. Mignon Duprée, a Black woman studio executive who appears to be white and Ester Jeeter, an African American woman who is the singing voice for a white Hollywood star are forced to come to grips with a society that perpetuates false images as status quo. This highly-acclaimed drama by one of the leading African American women directors follows Mignon's dilemma, Ester's struggle and the use of cinema in wartime Hollywood: three illusions in conflict with reality. From the director of the critically acclaimed DAUGHTERS OF THE DUST.
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Shooting Women

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. This internationally-acclaimed documentary, based on Krasilovsky’s book Women Behind the Camera, broaches the persistent issues of the glass ceiling, sexual harassment, and childcare for professional camerawomen around the globe—working from environments where raising such issues is seen as “unprofessional.” Krasilovsky and Harriet Margolis have also co-authored the book, Shooting Women: Behind the Camera, Around the World with Julia Stein. With wide-ranging access and rich diversity, SHOOTING WOMEN offers insight from top directors of photography like Ellen Kuras (ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND) and Sandi Sissel (SALAAM BOMBAY), while giving voice to stories of groundbreaking women like African-American Jessie Maple Patton, who sued the American union and networks for the right to work. From historic footage of Mao’s travels from China’s first camerawoman, to the secretly filmed beatings of women in Afghanistan, viewers are offered a glimpse of how women behind the camera are changing the world.
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Sisters of the Screen

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. This film is both a valuable anthology and a fitting homage to the pioneers and new talents of African cinema.
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What Happened to Her

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.
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Anna May Wong: In Her Own Words

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. Yunah Hong’s engrossing documentary is an entertaining and imaginative survey of Wong’s career, exploring the impact Wong had on images of Asian American women in Hollywood, both then and now. Excerpts from Wong’s films, archival photographs and interviews enhance this richly detailed picture of a woman and her extraordinary life.
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Filming Desire:

“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. Powerfully illustrated with film clips from their own work, the directors discuss the reality of an explicit women’s point of view, the possibility of a women’s cinematic language, and the desire in their films to ‘fantasize and dream a new image of themselves’. While discussing how their depictions of sexuality and relationships are correctives, they also reflect on the sexual differences in selection of image, shot, and story. The film also provides a virtual anthology of the debates about the body, sexuality, power, and passion one sees in contemporary feminist and film theory: the body in representation and image; as a subject of censorship; as the vehicle of desire and love; as the contested ground of cinematic production; and as part of women’s identity and voice. Explicit, funny and beautifully edited, FILMING DESIRE weaves an intriguing essay that is international in scope and reflective of the great diversity of women filmmakers. Essential viewing for classes in women’s studies, film studies, sexuality, body image, and feminist theory.” – Joseph Boles, Visiting Scholar, Center for Visual Culture, Bryn Mawr
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The Cinematic Jazz of Julie Dash

From her innovative short works to her critically acclaimed feature debut DAUGHTERS OF THE DUST, the films of Julie Dash have broken new cinematic ground and redefined black women's images on screen. In this wide-ranging interview, Dash talks about her background, development and approach to movie making, as well as the struggles, victories and interdependence of African American women filmmakers. Excerpts from early films and DAUGHTERS OF THE DUST, the dramatic feature about different generations of South Carolina sea islanders which has thrilled audiences across the nation, underscore the originality of this immensely gifted artist.
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The Films of Maya Deren

Maya Deren's fascinating and beautiful films are masterpieces of their era and provide an important insight into the history of the avant-garde. MESHES OF THE AFTERNOON (1943, 14 minutes), AT LAND (1944, 14 minutes, Silent), A STUDY IN CHOREOGRAPHY FOR CAMERA (1945, 3 minutes, Silent), RITUAL IN TRANSFIGURED TIME (1946, 15 minutes, Silent), MEDITATION ON VIOLENCE (1948, 13 minutes), and THE VERY EYE OF THE NIGHT (1959, 15 minutes).
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Hammering It Out

“This spirited documentary spotlights the experience of women in the building trades, specifically those women involved in the Century Freeway Women's Employment Project in Los Angeles. Framed by the story of a community-initiated lawsuit that resulted in hundreds of women getting trained to work on a billion-dollar freeway project, the film evolves into a primer on the feminist issues of equality, identity, and changing gender roles. Powerful testimonials by the women workers tell stories of the often unspoken gendered specifics of discrimination in the building trades: sexual harassment at the jobsite; negotiations about childcare and worker benefits; and the translation of affirmative action policy to the traditional practices of contractors and the historical conventions of the male worksite. The film demonstrates the importance of providing opportunity, embracing equity, and abandoning sexist traditions which deny talented women workers the right to support their families on a par equal with men. It also serves as a cautionary tale that warns that unless laws, policies, and conventions are changed, women workers may be forced out of their chosen professions, like the Rosie the Riveters, by bias and expediency.” Joseph Boles, Northern Arizona University
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Up in the Sky: Tracey Moffatt in New York

"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." Faye Ginsburg, Director, The Center for Media, Culture, and History, New York University
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Women Filmmakers in Russia

Since Lenin's fervent embrace of cinema in the 1920s, more women have worked in the film industry in Russia than in the West. This fascinating documentary - produced during glasnost and prior to the dissolution of the USSR - includes interviews with actresses, critics, technicians and leading directors Kira Muratova and Lana Gogoberidze. Clips from films such as Larissa Shepitko's WINGS are contrasted with more traditional representations of women in "Soviet" cinema. WOMEN FILMMAKERS IN RUSSIA (aka I AM AN OX, I AM A HORSE, I AM A MAN, I AM A WOMAN) was directed by Sally Potter (ORLANDO). A Triple Vision Production.
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Women Who Made the Movies

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.
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Ulrike Ottinger - Nomad from the Lake

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. Interviews with collaborators and friends offer further insights into Ottinger’s singular body of work. A richly rewarding close-up of the woman director who, along with Margarethe von Trotta and Helke Sander, helped launch New German Cinema on world screens, ULRIKE OTTINGER—NOMAD FROM THE LAKE is an indispensable companion for any Ottinger film.
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My Filmmaking, My Life

Matilde Landeta entered the flourishing Mexican film industry in the 1930s, working her way up from script girl to direct 110 shorts and, in the late 40s, to produce and direct three features, including LA NEGRA ANGUSTIAS. In this engrossing documentary filmed in Mexico City, a vibrant Landeta, now in her 70s, recalls those years. Interviews with Mexican directors Marcela Fernandez-Violante and Maria Novaro enrich this illuminating tribute. Produced by Jane Ryder.
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Artist on Fire

A pioneer of feminist avant-garde cinema, Joyce Wieland has explored the crux of nationalism, feminine sexuality and ecology for more than thirty years in films such as her influential RAT LIFE AND DIET AND REASON OVER PASSION. This richly suggestive portrait surveys Wieland's involvement in structural filmmaking with Michael Snow and Hollis Frampton in the 1960s and her reinvention of women's crafts in her artwork.
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