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Early Women Filmmakers: An International Anthology

Early Women Filmmakers: An International Anthology

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More women worked in film during its first two decades than at any time since. Unfortunately, many early women filmmakers have been largely written out of film history, their contributions undervalued. This necessary and timely collection highlights the work of 14 of early cinema’s most innovative and influential women directors, re-writing and celebrating their rightful place in film history.

International in scope, this groundbreaking collection features over 10 hours of material, comprised of 25 films spanning 1902-1943, including many rare titles not widely available until now, from shorts to feature films, live-action to animation, commercial narratives to experimental works. Directors include Alice Guy Blaché, Lois Weber, Mabel Normand, Madeline Brandeis, Germaine Dulac, Olga Preobrazhenskaia, Marie-Louise Iribe, Lotte Reiniger, Claire Parker, Mrs. Wallace Reid (Dorothy Davenport), Leni Riefenstahl, Mary Ellen Bute, Dorothy Arzner, and Maya Deren.

These women were technically and stylistically innovative, pushing the boundaries of narrative, aesthetics, and genre. Going back to the beginning of cinema, this collection makes visible the tremendous directorial contributions women made all around the world. Beautifully restored in high definition, Early Women Filmmakers features new scores by Sergei Dreznin, Frederick Hodges, Tamar Muskal, Judith Rosenberg, and Rodney Sauer and the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra.

This anthology is dedicated to the memory of David Shepard (1940-2017), without whom these films – along with countless others – would simply not have been made available in such beautifully-restored editions. The collection represents one of David’s final produced works, completed in collaboration with several film archives, including the French National Center for Cinematography and the Moving Image (CNC), the Film Studies Center at the University of Chicago, and the Library of Congress.


  • A Booklet Essay - Featuring an essay by film scholar and Women Film Pioneers Project Manager Kate Saccone.
  • Audio Commentary - For Lois Weber’s The Blot by author, professor and expert on women and early film culture Shelley Stamp, courtesy of Milestone Film and Video.

Click here to view the complete list of films included in Early Women Filmmakers: An International Anthology.

Release Date: May 26, 2017
Format: Blu-ray / DVD
Region: REGION A/1
Director: Various
Year: 1902-1943
Language: English
Length: 652 mins.
UPC: 6-17311-68529-3
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