NYWIFT at the 56th New York Film Festival Talks: Early Women Film Pioneers: Alice Guy-Blaché

In honor of Pamela B. Green’s Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché, screening at the festival Sunday, October 7th,  the New York Film Festival and New York Women in Film & Television present a conversation with Alice Guy-Blaché and film preservation experts about her contributions to cinema.



Jane Gaines is Professor of Film at Columbia University. In 2018, she was awarded the Society for Cinema and Media Studies Distinguished Career Award. Her first two books — Contested Culture: The Image, the Voice, and the Law and Fire and Desire: Mixed Race Movies in the Silent Era — both received the Katherine Singer Kovacs prize for Best Book in Film and Media Studies. A Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study Fellowship and an Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Scholarly Award supported her recent Pink-Slipped: What Happened to Women in the Silent Film Industries? (2018) as well as the Women Film Pioneers Project digital archive published by Columbia University Libraries (2013). Professor Emerita of Literature and English at Duke University where she founded the program now titled Moving Image Arts, Gaines was also Luce Distinguished Professor at Vassar College as well as Kersten Hesselgren Honorary Chair at the University of Stockholm.


Susan Lazarus (Producer, Post-production Supervisor) works in feature films and documentaries with filmmakers such as Spike Lee on BlacKkKlansman, Inside Man; Jim Jarmusch: Paterson, Only Lovers Left Alive; and Maggie Greenwald: Sophie and the Rising Son. Documentaries include HBO’s The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst, as well as the feature docs Naqoyqatsi, Image Before My Eyes, The War at Home, Apache 8, Phyllis & Harold and Andre Gregory: Before and After Dinner. She is a former Board Member of NYWIFT and is on the steering committee of The Women’s Film Preservation Fund.


Joan Simon is a writer, curator, editor, and arts administrator who, since 1986, has worked independently for museums, foundations, publishers and media organizations in the United States and in Europe. A number of her projects have been devoted to artists who made important work in both France and the United States which includes, during Simon’s five years as curator-at-large for New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art, Alice Guy-Blaché: Cinema Pioneer and Alexander Calder : The Paris Years, 1926-1933 (in partnership with the Centre Pompidou, and curator Brigitte Leal). Sheila Hicks: Fifty Years, co-curated with Susan Faxon for the Addison Gallery of American Art, was the first retrospective in either country for this American artist who has lived in Paris for the past five decades. Simon’s Lorna Simpson show was the first museum retrospective in Europe devoted to this influential African-American artist (Jeu de Paume in collaboration with the Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography). A former managing editor of Art in America (1974–83), Simon served as general editor of the Bruce Nauman catalogue raisonné, and has written books (Ann Hamilton, Joan Jonas, Susan Rothenberg, William Wegman, among them), contributed to journals and exhibition catalogues as well as to films about art and artists (including Robert Ryman, Eva Hesse, Bruce Nauman, Susan Rothenberg, Joan Jonas, Jason Moran, Alexander Calder). Most recently, with director Pamela B. Green Simon co-wrote the script and was one of the executive producers of the feature documentary Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché.


Duana C. Butler is NYWIFT’s Program Director. She manages over 50 NYWIFT panel discussions and workshops each year. She is also an independent producer/director. She is a producer of the short film Hold On (Dir: Christine Turner) which premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. Butler is the Series Director of the public television series Afropop: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange (Exec. Producer: Black Public Media). She co-produced the documentary Miss Navajo (Dir: Billy Luther) which premiered at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival and was broadcast on PBS’ Independent Lens. Other credits include Curator/Producer of WNET/Thirteen’s independent film series Reel New York.

Special Thanks to Eugene Hernandez, Brian Brooks and the Film Society of Lincoln Center.

Free and Open to the Public

October 9 @ 7:00pm
7:00 pm — 8:00 pm (1h)


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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 Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature.