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Scene from Will
Scene from Will
Women's Film Preservation Fund Screening: Will

Monday, November 1, 2010 at 6:30 p.m. screening of Will (1981) directed by Jessie Maple at the Film Society of Lincoln Center - Walter Reade Theater. Discussion with Jessie Maple and reception follows the screening.

A true pioneer, Jessie Maple was the first African-American woman to enter New York's IATSE union and the first to produce an independent feature. In 1982, she founded 20 West, Home of Black Cinema in Harlem, as a showplace for independent black films. Maples' work in the genre of urban cinema is a precursor to such films as Lee Daniel's Precious (2009).

Women's Film Preservation Fund

The Women's Film Preservation Fund (WFPF) is the only program in the world that works to preserve the cultural legacy of women in the industry. It was founded in 1995 by NYWIFT in conjunction with the Museum of Modern Art.

Our mission:
  • To identify and preserve American films in which women have played a significant creative role
  • To present these restored films publicly as a way to increase awareness of women's contribution  to the medium and the importance of film preservation
  • To contribute to enhanced knowledge of the important role of women in film history
  • To work with organizations with similar goals, sharing resources and information
Since its inception, the WFPF has provided financial support for presentation of over 80 short and feature films.

WFPF awards cash grants, as well as in-kind post-production services generously provided by Cineric, Inc., to preserve or restore films in which women have played a significant creative role.

We are committed to restoring and preserving films and footage that represent diverse voices, visions and techniques regardless of vintage. Genres include silent and early color films, experimental and independent films, and political and social documentaries.

WFPF also preserves "orphan films" — forgotten or neglected films that have no clear copyright holder — obscuring the responsibility for preservation.

Individuals and not-for-profit organizations (film archives, educational institutions, media arts centers) are eligible to apply for grants of up to $10,000.

Grants are awarded annually. Application submissions are due in the fall. (See MYT Works Presents: Industry Networking & Demo Event)

A panel of professional filmmakers, film historians, preservationists, curators, and educators reviews all applications and their selections are announced the following spring.

Be a Part of This Important Work:

Thanks to our successes, the Women's Film Preservation Fund is growing in both scope and ambition. We need active members who want to continue this important work. We welcome all areas of expertise and enthusiasm. If you are interested in being a member of our committee, please contact Drake Stutesman at greenly@earthlink.net. Read an interview with Drake.

The Legacy of Women Filmmakers:

Women were part of the film industry from its inception, working on both coasts as directors, producers, and studio heads, as well as actors. It's a little know fact that Alice Guy-Blaché is considered one of the first people — male or female — to direct a narrative film.   

WFPF helped to preserve two of her shorts, Matrimony's Speed Limit and A House Divided (1913) as part of its inaugural project. Throughout her prolific career, she directed and produced more than 1000 films, some of which were made at her studio, Solax, in Fort Lee, New Jersey. Mixed Pets (1911), Guy Blaché’s earliest extant film from Solax, was preserved through a WFPF grant in 2009, and was screened, along with three other WFPF films, at the Alice Guy Blaché retrospective at the Whitney Museum in 2009.

Our other inaugural project was the preservation of two films by Lois Weber, the 1913 short How Men Propose and the 1921 feature Too Wise Wives.

There isn't enough money to save all the films that are in danger of being lost. Film archives, museums and educational educations have to make difficult decisions about which films will and will not be saved.

WFPF exists to make sure that films by women are included in those that are preserved for posterity.

The WFPF is funded, in part, by:

Reception sponsored by

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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