From the Vault: Women’s Advocacy on Film – Betty Tells Her Story, All Women Are Equal and The Woman’s Film

In celebration of NYWIFT’s 40th Anniversary, theWomen’s Film Preservation Fund (WFPF) and UnionDocs present the film series From the Vault: Women’s Advocacy on Film which features nonfiction films that have shaped movements and provided perspectives on political, environmental, and human rights issues; and ideas around gender identity and roles, sexuality, health and family, all from a woman’s perspective. All films in the series were preserved by the WFPF.


PROGRAM 7: Sunday, April 22nd, 2018, 7:30pm


Betty Tells Her Story
Liane Brandon (Director)
1972, 20 min.

Betty Tells Her Story is considered ground-breaking in the documentary genre and has gained iconic status. In two continuous takes, a woman sitting in a chair tells a story about the purchase of a dress. First, Betty describes how she needed “the perfect dress” for a very special occasion and humorously explains in detail how she found just the right one, spent more than she could afford for it, modeled it for admiring friends, felt absolutely transformed and then…never got to wear it. Then Betty is asked to tell her story again, but this time the story is strikingly different. While the facts remain the same, Betty reveals her anxiety over buying the dress, her discomfort at being praised for beauty she feels she doesn’t have, and her disappointment at losing the rare opportunity to be “beautiful.” The contrast between the two stories reveals her deeper feeling about herself and her place in the world.

Special Guest: Director Liane Brandon

All Women Are Equal (pictured above)

Marguerite Paris (Producer/Director/DP/Editor)
1972, 15 min.

A black and white portrait of a trans woman named Paula, made by veteran lesbian filmmaker Marguerite Paris. This very early, non-exploitative representation of an ordinary well-adjusted transgender person is historically significant for its treatment of the subject. Paris produced, directed, shot, and edited this film, which, unlike other versions, allowed the individual to tell a personal story, without resorting to spectacle or focusing on performativity. Through Paris’s lens, we are given real insight into both the era and Paula’s sense of self.

Special Guest: Jim Hubbard, Filmmaker/Programmer


The Woman’s Film
Louise Alaimo, Judith Smith, Ellen Sorrin (Filmmakers)
1970, 40 min.
A valuable historical document of the origins of the modern women’s movement in the U.S. The film delves into the lives of ordinary women from different races, educational levels and social class backgrounds. Filmed mostly in small consciousness-raising groups, from which the women’s movement grew, the women talk about the daily realities of their lives as wives, home-makers, and workers. They speak, sometimes with hesitancy, often with passion, about the oppression of women as they see it. The Woman’s Film, originally produced by San Francisco Newsreel, is part of the Third World Newsreel film collection.

Special Guests: Filmmakers Judith Smith and Louise Alaimo


Note: Siona Wilson, Writer & Art Historian will moderate the post-screening conversation with Liane Brandon, Jim Hubbard, Louise Alaimo and Judith Smith.

VENUE: UnionDocs, 322 Union Ave Brooklyn



This series is curated by
WFPF Co-Chair Kirsten Larvick,
with programming assistance from
Co-Chair Ann Deborah Levy and Raquel Salazar-Foster

Special Thanks
Christopher Allen and Jenny Miller


The Women’s Film Preservation Fund (WFPF) is the only program in the world dedicated to preserving the cultural legacy of women in the industry through preserving films made by women. Founded in 1995 by NYWIFT in conjunction with the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), WFPF has preserved more than 130 American films, across all genres, in which women have played key creative roles. The WFPF is rewriting the film history books, by saving one moving picture at a time.

UnionDocs (UNDO) is a non-profit Center for Documentary Art that presents and produces pioneering records of reality. The organization brings together a diverse community of activist artists, experimental media-makers, dedicated journalists, big thinkers, and local partners. UnionDocs is on a search for urgent expressions of the human experience, practical perspectives on the world today, and compelling visions for the future.

April 22 @ 7:30pm
7:30 pm — 9:30 pm (2h)

UnionDocs 322 Union Ave Brooklyn NY

Join the conversation on social media:
#nywift | @nywift

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 Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature.