The Women’s Film Preservation Fund of New York Women in Film & Television presents Trailblazers of Early Cinema:
A silent film program of pioneer filmmakers
Angela Murray Gibson, Grace Cunard, Lois Weber and Alice Guy-Blaché
The filmmakers in this silent program represent some of the first women to make films in the early days of cinema (1910s-1920s). They wore multiple hats on their productions – from writer, director and producer to sometimes actor. Many of these filmmakers’ works have been forgotten. It is Women’s Film Preservation Fund’s mission to preserve these engaging, cinematic treasures and share them with a new audience.
Screening Available: January 28 – February 1, 2021 (Links sent from Cinesend)
View Q&A: February 1 at 4 pm (EST)
Cost: $2 for NYWIFT Members; $3 for Non-Members
Mixed Pets (1911, 9 min.) || Director & Writer: Alice Guy-Blaché
A cute comedy about misunderstandings that arise when a new husband refuses to buy his new wife a dog and the couples’ domestic help conceal the fact they are married with a baby. Puppies and babies become mixed up in cabinets as everyone tries to hide their adored ‘pets.’
Tramp Strategy (1911, 12 min.) || Director: Alice Guy-Blaché
A mischievous vagabond infiltrates a bourgeois household in this newly discovered one-reel comedy by the pioneering female director Alice Guy.
How Men Propose (1913, 5 min.) || Director & Writer: Lois Weber & Phillips Smalley
Three friends, without knowing it, successively propose to a woman named Grace Darling
Unmasked (1917, 11 min.) Actor, Writer, Director & Producer: Grace Cunard
A heist caper about two jewel thieves competing for the same necklace and co-starred Grace Cunard’s long-time acting partner Francis Ford (John Ford’s brother).
That Ice Ticket (1923, 10 min.) Producer, Director, Writer & Actress: Angela Murray Gibson
To entice potential suitors, a woman posts a sign offering “Free Ice”. Her young brother, in order to weed out unsuitable potential suitors, replaces it with a “SMALLPOX” sign.
Program Running Time: Approximately 56 minutes
Screening Available: January 28th – February 1st 2021 (Links sent from Cinesend)
View Q&A: February 1st at 4 pm (EST)
Cost: $2 for NYWIFT Members; $3 for Non-Members
Moderated by WFPF Founder Barbara Moss with guest panelists Kim Tomadjoglou and Buckey Grimm
Grace Cunard (1893 – 1967), born Harriet Mildred Jeffries, was an American actress, screenwriter and film director. She made her motion picture debut in 1910 in an uncredited role in a D.W. Griffith production for Biograph Studios. After making a number of westerns, she continued to work with actor-director Francis Ford at Universal Studios in a variety of dramas, and soon became Universal’s serial queen. In addition to acting, she wrote close to one hundred screenplays. From 1914 to 1921, she directed 11 films and produced two others. With the advent of sound in films, her star faded and by the late 1920’s her career had shifted to leads in B-movies and secondary roles in others.
Over the course of her long life, Alice Guy-Blaché (1873-1968) is credited with having produced, directed or supervised over 600 silent and approximately 150 sound films. She was the first woman to direct a film. From 1896 to 1906, she was probably the only female filmmaker in the world.
Angela Murray Gibson (1878-1953) was one of the early “camerawomen” during the silent era. She provided film for Kinograms, and then launched her own Gibson Studios in Casselton, North Dakota. Her studio produced educational, industrial and entertainment films in which she was featured as an actress, in addition to serving as writer, director, producer and camerawoman. Her films were mostly shot in the North Dakota area, and she recruited local townspeople to act in her films.
Lois Weber (1879 – 1939) In 1917, Weber set up her own studio, where she continued turning out films distinguished by provocative themes, revolutionary camera angles, naturalistic acting, and cleverly written and designed subtitles. At the beginning of the 1920s, Weber was signed for a series of films by Famous Players-Lasky (aka Paramount); among these was her best-known work, The Blot (1921). Her output became more sporadic as the 1920s rolled on. By the time talkies arrived, she directed only one sound film, the Poverty Row “east meets west” melodrama White Heat (1934), then spent the rest of the 1930s working as a “script doctor” at Universal.
Barbara Moss, (Moderator) Founder of Women’s Film Preservation Fund. As Producer, she has worked on Film/TV/Web content and with branded content and live events. As Michael Moore’s creative executive she developed books, TV and filmprojects, launching his web presence. She enjoyed a ten-year collaboration with actor/activist Woody Harrelson, guiding his environmental mission Voiceyourself. In 1995, as a Board member of NY Women in Film & Television, she helped found The Women’s Film Preservation Fund to support women-made films. This role was recently honored by the Museum of Modern Art with a screening of her award-winning documentary, A Crime to Fit the Punishment. She belongs to the Producers Guild of America Women’s Impact Network.
Charles “Buckey” Grimm is an independent film researcher with over 35 years experience examining various facets of the motion picture industry, specializing in the silent era. His current effort is to document the lives and careers of cinematographers active during the silent era.
Kim Tomadjoglou is an audio-visual curator-archivist specializing in copyright, preservation and collections management. She has curated museum and festival programming honoring women film pioneers Elvira Notari and Alice Guy. In 2019 she was awarded a Kluge Fellowship from the Library of Congress to complete a book length study on Mexican-American Itinerant Filmmakers Felix and Edmundo Padilla of el Paso, Texas.
Programmed by WFPF Steering Committee Members Erika Yeomans, Kirsten Larvick and Amy Aquilino
Showreel edited by Kimberly Brown
Additional original music composed and recorded by Shari Cummings
George Eastman Museum, UCLA, Library of Congress, State Historical Society of North Dakota, Eye Filmmuseum, Dan Streible
A private link to view the film will be made available to all who register in advance. You will also be invited to the Zoom Q&A.
The film will be available all weekend leading up to the Zoom Q&A.
$5 NYWIFT Members
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.