UPWIFT Presents A Festival of the First Woman Filmmaker, Alice Guy-Blaché

UPWIFT Presents A Festival of the First Woman Filmmaker, Alice Guy-Blaché

Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

7:15 pm  |  $7/$5 members

The Rosendale Theater and Upstate Women in Film and Television (UPWIFT) present an inaugural screening at the Rosendale Theater of the “UPWIFT Presents” series of films directed by women.

alice-guy-blache-lower-resThree short, silent films representative of Alice Guy-Blaché’s work will be presented, with a live, improvised accompaniment by Marta Waterman:

Matrimony’s Speed Limit
Greater Love Hath no Man
La Fée aux Choux

Alice Guy-Blaché was the first female film director and the first film studio owner. She made her first film, by her own account, in 1896 at age 23. She went on to write, direct, or produce more than 1,000 films.  Alice Guy-Blaché was not only the first female director, but the first director to implement cinematic techniques during the dawn of the art form, such as the use of the close-up  and directing actors to play non-theatrically . She had signs in her studio that  reminded actors to “Be Natural” She can be considered the first director (male or female), because she was the first to give direction to actors and to separate her role from the cameraman. Surprisingly, this pioneer of cinema was largely forgotten for decades.

alice-guy-directing-lower-resUPWIFT will present a selection of films by Alice Guy-Blaché. The films run around 15 minutes each and enough material is available to present a different selection of films at different participating theaters. A unique part of the presentations will be a Q&A with  producer and director Pamela Green, who  is currently making a feature full-length documentary film about Alice Guy-Blaché for which she  has been conducting extensive research for the past five years with an amazing team of detectives .  (The Q&A will be Skyped in live from L.A.) Ms. Green’s efforts have made many new discoveries that change the way early cinema is known. She has secured support for the restoration of films by Alice Guy-Blaché, as well as the creation of an archive. Audience members will have the opportunity to view never-before-seen sneak-peeks from Ms. Green’s documentary.

This presentation will fulfill the mission of UPWIFT to advocate and promote women directors, in this case, presenting the innovative work not only of a woman who more than 100 years ago shaped cinema as we know it today– a medium she knew could tell stories and for which she developed a visual film language to present them– but  of a  woman director and entrepreneur. A director-writer-producer-studio owner who is part of the lost “herstory” of cinema and, moreover,  a game-changer and important force, now taking her rightful place  in a  newly written, comprehensive view of film history’s pioneers. Films will be introduced and Q&As moderated by UPWIFT President, film director and cinema educator Hanna Sawka.