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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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 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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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.
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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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Nollywood Lady

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. Sharing her vision for transforming preconceptions about Africa and African images with filmmaker Dorothee Wenner, Anyiam-Fibresima takes viewers on an all-access tour to film locations, markets, and sit-downs with Nollywood professionals in the vibrant production hub of Lagos. Rounding out this insider’s primer to a dynamic $250 million industry, are several clips from the more than 1,500 direct-to-video, mostly low budget, culturally distinct, and immensely popular films Nollywood produces each year. Though some have yet to realize it, Africa’s film industry is the third largest film business on the globe (after Hollywood and Bollywood), the second largest employer in Nigeria (after oil), and a mighty enterprise uniquely captured in Nollywood Lady with humor, intelligence, and verve.
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Shooting Women

Featuring more than 50 camerawomen from around the world, 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.
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Sisters of the Screen

Beti Ellerson’s engaging debut explores the extraordinary contributions of women filmmakers from Africa and the diaspora.
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Suffragettes in the Silent Cinema

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. Taking advantage of the powerful new medium, early filmmakers on both sides of the contentious issue of suffrage used film to create powerful propaganda and images about women. Suffragettes in the Silent Cinema contains clips from many films from the era, including: A Lively Affair (1912); A Busy Day (1914), which stars a young Charlie Chaplin in drag portraying a suffragist; and the pro-suffragist film, What 80 Million Women Want (1913), which includes an eloquent speech from president of the Women’s Political Union, Harriet Stanton Blatch. Silent films may have passed into history, and their representations of feminists abandoning babies or stealing bicycles to attend suffragette meetings may now seem outrageous, but the struggle for gender equality and the issues surrounding representations of women in the media remain as fascinating, engaging, and relevant as ever.
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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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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 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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Suzy Lake: Playing with Time

Photographer Suzy Lake is one of the formative feminist artists to evolve out of the heyday of the 1960’s and the Second Wave. A master of the art of self-portraiture, Lake influenced Cindy Sherman as well as a host of other female artists. Lake makes art that address politics, gender, youth, beauty and aging while reflecting on her own journey through time. SUZY LAKE: PLAYING WITH TIME tells the story of how much has changed in the worlds of feminism and art, and yet how much things remain the same. Filming for almost 4 years, filmmaker Annette Mangaard weaves a powerful portrait of the complex artist by juxtaposing powerful archival footage, still photography and interviews with Lucy Lippard, Mary Beth Edelson and Martha Wilson among others. SUZY LAKE: PLAYING WITH TIME delves into Lake’s legacy as she continues to explore the politics of gender with work that deals with the aging woman, countering notions of consumer beauty with a different and real image, celebrating stamina, maturity and experience. An essential companion piece to any discussion on the Second Wave, feminism and art.
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