The first book to give overview of early women film-makers in the US, Europe and beyond. Essential reading for students of film studies, media, culture and gender/women's studies. With many black and white photos, this book will appeal to all lovers of the cinema and the early days of the movies.
Surprisingly, more women were working at every level in the early years of the film industry than at any point since. Early pioneers, such as Alice Guy Blaché, directed hundreds of films, invented techniques, ran businesses and set up distribution but with the rise of the studio system, their significant contribution to the dawn of the movies has long been forgotten. With chapters on the writers, directors, producers, stars, film editors, cinematographers, critics and fans of the silent era this book acknowledges and celebrates the many talented women who were significantly involved in the rise of the industry. Why did the coming of the talkies and big business lead to the inequality which exists today?
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‘…honors the women in cinema who actively paved the way for future women in this industry, and brought attention to the issue of gender bias in media, a problem we are still fighting today.’
– Madeline Di Nonno, CEO of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
‘This book is inspirational reading for any woman who dreams to express her vision through film in any direction this industry takes us. Only by understanding our past can we embrace our greatest future.’
-Gayle Nachlis, Senior Director of Education, Women In Film Los Angeles
This book is inspirational reading for any woman who dreams to express her vision through film in any direction this industry takes us. Only by understanding our past can we embrace our greatest future. --Gayle Nachlis, Women In Film Los Angeles
‘Inspirational and informative, Silent Women will challenge many people’s ideas about the beginnings of film history. This fascinating book roams widely across the era and the diverse achievements and voices of women in the film industry. These are the stories of pioneers, trailblazers and collaborators – hugely enjoyable to read and vitally important to publish.’ – Pamela Hutchinson, Silent London
‘A timely and urgently needed collection of essays by a definitive group of scholars on the subject, Silent Women: Pioneers of Cinema utilizes the time-honored feminist concept of the silence and voicelessness at the heart of female oppression as its central motivation. The essays in this collection demonstrate how the film industry kept women from certain opportunities in the early years, but also provided them a particular agency to make their marks outside more traditional boundaries. A must-read!’ – Lisa Stein Haven, author of Syd Chaplin: A Biography (2010)
‘This book shows how women’s voices were heard and helped create the golden age of silent cinema, how those voices were almost eradicated by the male-dominated film industry, and perhaps points the way to an all-inclusive future for global cinema.’ – Paul Duncan, Film Historian
MELODY BRIDGES studied English and Drama at Cambridge University and has written, acted and directed for theatre before working in TV where she developed, wrote, produced and directed two television series. In addition to contributing to Celluloid Ceiling, she writes a weekly page for a newspaper, and is artistic director of Worthing’s WOW Festival. In 2014, she was a Finalist as Influential Woman of the Year at the NatWest Venus Awards. She has recently given a TEDx talk. www.melodybridges.com
CHERYL ROBSON is a producer/director of several short independent films, most recently Rock n Roll Island which was nominated for best short film at Raindance, London. She worked at the BBC for several years and then taught filmmaking at the University of Westminster, before setting up a theatre company. She also created a publishing company, publishing over 150 international writers. As a writer, she has won the Croydon Warehouse International Playwriting Competition and as an editor, she worked with Gabrielle Kelly to produce Celluloid Ceiling: women film directors breaking through, the first global overview of women film directors. www.cherylrobson.net