24 Feb Truthdig to publish series on successes and struggles of women behind the camera by film critic Carrie Rickey
— Reveals Women Directors were Cinema’s Founding Mothers but Shut Out of Hollywood’s Old Boys Club today
LOS ANGELES, February 24, 2017 — Another Oscar weekend and no female filmmakers are nominated for director and none of the ten nominated screenplays have a female writer, points out film critic Carrie Rickey writing today in the independent online news website Truthdig about the struggles facing women directors. In addition, she notes the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is investigating the Hollywood gender gap behind the camera in which 93 percent of directors are men and only 7 percent women.
In a five-part series, Truthdig contributor Rickey tells the history of cinema’s founding mothers such as Alice Guy, who directed the first film feature; of the first female members of the Directors Guild of America, Dorothy Arzner and Ida Lupino; and of filmmakers from Elaine May to Ava DuVernay who show what the world is like when a woman is behind the camera.
“Contrary to today, when movies were born in 1896, women filmmakers were central to the art form,” says Rickey. She points out that they entered the industry in great numbers, both in front of the camera and behind it.
Guy wrote, produced and/or directed more than 1,000 films in every genre and introduced such cinematic innovations as double-exposure and running the film in reverse. She also made the earliest existing narrative film with an all-black cast, A Fool and His Money.
A second founding mother, Lois Weber, “was considered as significant in her generation as D.W. Griffith and Cecil B. DeMille,” writes Rickey. “She directed groundbreaking films that featured hot button social issues such as sexual harassment in the workplace, rape and birth control advocacy.
“Astonishingly these films came before American women gained the right to vote in 1920,” Rickey says. “These talented women were erased from movie history until the 1970s when scholars wrote them back in,” she concludes.
Zuade Kaufman, publisher of Truthdig, notes, “This is an especially timely series as we enter Oscar weekend and also because of the much-needed attention that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s investigation has drawn to the issue of gender-based discrimination in Hollywood.” Partnering with Truthdig on the series that will run each Friday through March 24 is Women and Hollywood.
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