Photo by Boby Dimitrov
As I throw another log on the fire (I’m cold) my thoughts turn to filmmaking and fiery stars in the industry. You know, those women filmmakers who blazed (right, my thoughts are on warm things) the way for the rest of us. I’m trying to remember who the first woman filmmaker was. Okay, I’d even settle for being able to name 5 important women directors. But as embarrassing as this is to admit, I don’t know much about earlier, or even modern, female filmmakers.
Alice Guy-Blaché (a-LEES ghee)
Imagine you’re a secretary at a still-photography studio in late 19th century France and your boss, Leon Gaumont, has his hands on a fancy dancy filmmaking apparatus. What do you do? Why, convince him to let you make a film of course! Alice’s film career was longer than a quarter of a century (I’m making you do math now) and she directed, wrote screenplays and produced for hundreds of films.
Currently, the Fort Lee Film Commission is at work trying to gain her posthumous admittance to the Director’s Guild of America.
And so the first woman director set the bar high. Pretty cool, huh?
Question: If Alice made hundreds of films, created her own studio and did innovative and creative films at the very beginning of cinema, why haven’t I heard of her?
Brightwell, Eric. “Alice Guy-Blache – First Female of Film Direction.” Amoeblog.
March 3 2009. 12-15-10. http://www.amoeba.com/blog/2009/03/eric-s- blog/alice-guy-blach-first-female-of-film-direction.html.
Productions, LLC and Alison McMahan. 12-15-10.
and Video Maker. Berkeley: Ten Speed Press, 2005.
Burgeoning Film Industry.” Suite101.com. Sept. 24, 2009. 12-15-10.