Think early cinema and you are likely to be familiar with names such as the Lumiere brothers, Eadweard Muybridge, Georges Melies, Thomas Edison and others. But women also played a significant role in the early years of cinema. Yet their contributions to cinema are largely ignored.
Enjoying remarkable creative freedom, these fearless female filmmakers addressed a wide range of topics, working in every genre. But as the industry matured, men took the helm and largely replaced women from behind the camera.
Starting Sunday, November 11, the independent movie theater Cinema Detroit in Midtown Detroit will attempt to change that by celebrating these little-known trailblazers of early cinema who’ve been forgotten far too longwith a fascinating series called “Pioneers: First Women Filmmakers.”
Focusing on better known early female directors like Alice Guy-Blaché and Lois Weber and director/star Mabel Normand, though obscure, and others like Grace Cunard, Ida May Park, and Marion E. Wong, who are completely anonymous, the Pioneers: First Women Filmmakers series at Cinema Detroit aims to restore their centrality to the creation of cinema itself by spotlighting these women, and others like them.
This series is as follows:
First Among Women: Alice Guy-Blaché
Sunday, Nov. 11 at 5:00 p.m.
Thursday, Nov. 15 at 7:00
Funny Lady: Mabel Normand
Sunday, Nov. 18 at 5:00
Friday, November 23 at 5:00
The Auteur: Lois Weber
Sunday, Nov. 25 at 5:00
Thursday, Nov. 29 at 7:00
Sunday, Dec. 02 at 5:00
Thursday, Dec. 06 at 7:00
Each short film is a new 4K restoration of the work of trailblazing female directors, producers, and writers, and is presented with either live accompaniment or all new recorded musical scores, most by women composers.
Tickets are $12; students/seniors/veterans $11; Cinema Detroit members $10.50. No passes, discounts, coupons, or any other offers apply.
The Pioneers: First Women Filmmakers series is made possible by the Detroit Shetown Film Festival, Final Girls, and the Cinema Studies program at Oakland University.