Madame Guy-Blaché & The Unkindness of Memory

Alice Guy Be Natural ©riginalParis, 1895. The Lumière brothers host a private screening of the Cinématographe, the world’s first projector of moving images. Amongst the small select group of friends, watching in awe at the birth of cinema, sits a young Alice Guy, secretary to studio owner, Leon Gaumont. She envisions the future of filmmaking and little she knows, she is about to craft it.

By 1896 Alice Guy, better known as Alice Guy-Blaché, had directed one of cinema’s earliest narrative films, La Fee aux Choux (The Cabbage Fairy). Pioneering in the use of close-ups, interracial casting, color timing and synchronized sound as early as 1905, Alice wrote, produced or directed more than 1,000 films over a 20-year career. She ran the Gaumont Film Company (now the world’s oldest film studio) with great success for over a decade and later became the first woman to own a motion picture studio called The Solax Company. Continue reading

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Lois Weber: Filmmaking Pioneer and Revolutionary Storyteller

WIFTV’s 2015 Martini Madness honours creative women working in the silent movie era. Today: meet revolutionary storyteller Lois Weber (1879-1939).

Lois Weber with megaphone (seated behind DP)

Lois Weber with megaphone (seated next to DP)

Director. Screenwriter. Actress. Often referred to as “America’s first female filmmaker,” Lois Weber was a true pioneer in the early days of Hollywood. Besides being the first woman to direct an American feature film, The Merchant of Venice, in 1914, she was also the first woman elected to the Motion Pictures Directors Association. Back in the day her name was recognized alongside DW Griffith and Cecil B. De Mille as one of the top talents in the industry. Continue reading