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By Carey Graeber and Mona Kanin


We all know the story of Dorothy, the innocent child swept away by a cyclone to the wondrous, sometimes scary utopia, where women prevail and men are works in progress.   Few characters play such a vivid, reoccurring role in the American collective imagination.   What makes us keep coming back to her?

Our documentary begins with the classic MGM movie and heads back from 1939 to tell Dorothy's surprising back story.   We search for her roots and explore the ways she embodies uniquely American characteristics by looking at the man who imagined her-the author L. Frank Baum, and the woman who influenced him, his friend and mother-in-law, Matilda Joslyn Gage.

We'll connect Dorothy to the suffrage movement, western expansion, American spiritualism (freethinkers and theosophists) and American materialism.  We'll trace Dorothy's lineage back to the Haundenosaunee (Iroquois) peoples, and to Gage.   Gage was an important, prophetic suffragist, highly respected in her own times, but forgotten in ours.   Through Dorothy, we'll retrieve Gage's contributions to early feminist theory, racial justice, and religious freedom and explain why she was written out of American history.

Join our search for Dorothy!


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NYWIFT programs, screenings and events are supported, in part, by grants from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York State Council on the Arts
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