Women in Film Washington DC’s List of Recommended Films for the National Film Registry
Women in Film & Video Washington DC continues its multi-year initiative to have more women-made films included in the National Film Registry housed at the Library of Congress. Although women have been involved with movies since the movie camera was invented, their work is severely underrepresented in this national collection.
The Library of Congress maintains the National Film Registry to honor “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant films” that are at least 10 years old at the time of their inclusion in the Registry. The selected films are “works of enduring significance to American Culture.”
Learn more about the National Film Registry.
WIFV DC has shared with us their list of recommended films. Each film below is eligible to be nominated for inclusion in the National Film Registry. The deadline for nomination a film is August 15th.
A Woman’s Error (1922) written and directed by Tressie Souders, acknowledged as the first film directed by a female African-American filmmaker. No print of the film has been found.
The Women’s Happy Time Commune (1972) directed by Sheila Page. The Old West becomes the stomping ground for a motley crew of young and middle-aged women who are considering banding together to form a commune. The film offers a lively immersion into the feminist ferment of the early 1970’s.
Betty Tells her Story (1972) directed by Liane Brandon and recently preserved by the NYWIFT Women’s Film Preservation Fund. This film is considered groundbreaking in the documentary genre- in two continuous takes, a woman sitting in a chair tells a story about the purchase of a dress — twice. The way Betty tells the story the first and second time, reveals her true feelings about herself and her place in the world. Watch on Kanopy.
He’s Only Missing (1978) directed by Robin Smith. It documents a daughter’s feelings of uncertainty as a family waits to learn if the man of the house is dead or “just missing” during the Vietnam War. Throughout the film, the subjects reveal their insecurities and find their voices to get the answers they need about their men while raising the country’s awareness of the missing. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for a link.
Yentl (1983) directed, produced and co-written by Barbra Streisand. She is the first woman to receive a Best Director Golden Globe for this film, her directorial debut. Available on Tubi, Hulu, and Amazon Prime.
Fast Food Women (1992) directed by Anne Lewis. The film documents the low wage, no benefits jobs in America’s service economy. Despite the lack of employment benefits and low wage, these women are working in heavily-controlled environments to support their families in communities ravaged by a failing economy. Watch on Appalshop.
Just Another Girl on the IRT (1992) written and directed by Leslie Harris. The film is a drama that follows an ambitious young Black teen in Brooklyn, as she juggles her social life, her education, and an unexpected pregnancy. The film, now 20 years old, documents the complexity of the Black, female experience, while also authentically depicting teen pregnancy at a time when it was rarely discussed publicly. Watch on Amazon Prime.
Sleepless in Seattle (1993) co-written and directed by Nora Ephron, and her directorial debut. The film was nominated for two Oscars: Best Writing- Screenplay Written Directly for Screen, and Best Music- Original Song 1994. The film captures Ephron’s distinctive voice and style, making it the quintessential Ephron romantic comedy. Watch on Amazon Prime.
Freedom on my Mind (1994) produced and directed by Connie Field and Marilyn Mulford. The film tells the story of the Mississippi voter registration movement of 1961 to 1964. Watch on HBO Max.
Clueless (1995) written and directed by Amy Heckerling. Clueless is a 90s classic that follows a rich, popular and intelligent Beverly Hills teen and her journey of self-discovery. Watch on Amazon Prime.
Love and Basketball (2000) written and directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood, and her directorial debut. The film explores the multi-decade relationship between two highly competitive basketball players. This drama shines a different light on gender norms, particularly in athletics, showing the difference in support a female athlete receives compared to male athletes. Watch on HBO Max.
The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg (2000) directed by Aviva Kempner. As America’s first Jewish baseball star, Greenberg helped break down the barriers of discrimination in American sports and society.
Under the Same Moon / La Misma Luna (2007) written by Ligiah Villalobos and directed by Patricia Riggen. The film follows a young Mexican boy on a mission to LA to reunite with his mother after his grandmother passes away, and puts a human face to the dilemmas of illegal immigration and unaccompanied minors. Watch on Amazon Prime.
Frozen River (2008), written and directed by Courtney Hunt and feature debut of cinematographer Reed Morano. The film follows two mothers who turn to smuggling immigrants from Canada into the US through Indigenous land and covers the complexities of illegal immigration and abject poverty by showcasing two strong women taking control of their unfortunate situations, despite the consequences. Watch on HBO Max.