Animated April: Spotlight on Bianca Majolie

Upon doing research for ITOL's Animated April, a month dedicated to women in animation and female representation in animated films, I came across a name that I had never heard before: Bianca Majolie. As a fellow Bianca, I decided to research into this woman whose work with Walt Disney in the 1930s has pretty much been forgotten about by the history books. At a time where many women were working in the Ink and Paint Department, Majolie was the first woman hired for the Walt Disney story department and helped developed story ideas for some of Disney's most beloved classic animated films such as "Peter Pan", "Bambi" and "Cinderella".

Women’s History Month: Dolores Del Rio

The first Mexican actress to work in Hollywood during the silent era was Dolores Del Rio. Born on August 3, 1904, in Durango, Durango, Mexico, Dolores was born into an elite family raised surrounded by expensive gifts, grand haciendas, where she was treated like a princess. At a very young age, she would be nicknamed "Lolita" by close family and friends.

Women’s History Month: Gloria Swanson

Gloria Swanson literally created the concept of a “movie star.” She lived as large and dramatically as the heroines she portrayed. In her career, she saw the birth of film, the introduction of sound and the invention of television. She fearlessly embraced them all, and inspired women around the world with her style and ambition. Gloria grew up as an Army brat traveling the country with her parents but fell into acting as a teenager when she tried out for work as an extra. She moved to California after her parents divorced and found herself working for Mack Sennett along with the likes of Charlie Chaplin and Mabel Normand. Gloria didn’t care for comedy and moved on to work for Cecil B. DeMille at Paramount Pictures. This was the beginning of her transformation into a fashionable trendsetter that captured the imagination of silent film audiences.

Disney+: Making the Most Magical Screens on Earth

Many people around the world are currently staying at home practising social-distancing to help stop the spread of COVID-19. It's scary and stressful at times and most people have to adjust to working from home and surviving without their favourite extracurricular activities (like going to the movies…) Fortunately, there’s a streaming service whose sole purpose is to make everyone feel better- Disney+! Be it through waves of warm and fuzzy nostalgia or countless hours of family-friendly entertainment to keep the stir-crazy kids occupied, Disney’s vast collection of movies and TV shows could not have come at a better time.

Exclusive Interview with Gavin Michael Booth, Director of “Last Call”

Here at In Their Own League, we like to support Indie Filmmakers and we were so impressed by Gavin Michael Booth's latest film "Last Call" (you can read Caz's 5 Star review here), so we jumped at the chance to talk to Gavin about how he managed to pull off such a marvellous film. Bee Garner spoke to Gavin about the inception of the film, what single-take films that inspired him and which female filmmakers he admire. Please make sure to check out the links below, especially the making of feature which helps gives a unique insight into the process of the production of this wonderfully moving and impactful film which we hope more people seek out.

Women’s History Month: Frances Marion

In this day and age female screenwriters still face barriers within the film industry. In fact, a study conducted in 2017 found that women represented just 11 per cent of the writers on the United States’ top 250 films. They fared a little better in the world of Television, where they made up 33 per cent of television writers during the States’ 2016-17 season. One has to wonder what the great screenwriter Frances Marion would have to say about these figures.

There's a high chance that you haven't heard of Marion, but her screenwriting attributes have had a long-lasting impact on cinema and helped shaped the language of storytelling on the big screen. She wrote the stories and scenarios for over three hundred films in a career that spans from early days of cinema and into the sound era. Her work earned her two Academy Awards for screenwriting.

Spotlights & Spirits – A retrospective on Joan Crawford

Lucille Fay LeSueur started as a dancer for a variety of travelling shows, elevating her way to chorus girl, and would go by LeSueur until her time with MGM, where Joan Crawford would emerge as a prominent force on the Hollywood scene. One of the ‘symbols’ of the studio gals, with the likes of Judy Garland or Claudette Colbert, Crawford would make her first ‘debut’ in ‘Lady of The Night’ (1925) as a body double, her breakout alongside Horror legend Lon Chaney in the 1927 horror film ‘The Unknown’ and her film final appearance in a British sci-fi film entitled ‘Trog’ (1970), a bizarre climax to a turbulent career. 

Women’s History Month Interview With Editor Katie Bryer

We all know parts of filmmaking such as the acting, directing, or writing.  But a piece of filmmaking that culminates the entire vision is the editing. I was able to ask editor Katie Bryer a million questions and she unveiled just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to film editing.  

Bryer edited the documentary film, “Maiden” (2019), about Tracy Edwards and her all-female crew who entered the Whitbread Round the World Race in 1989.  “Maiden” made my top 5 films of 2019 and it is in an elite, rare group of films that made me cry. Bryer edited a truly harrowing story about female empowerment and perseverance, and helped craft a remarkable film. In the interview, Bryer talks about “Maiden,” the process of film editing, what we can be doing to get more women in the editing room, as well as answer some Women’s History Month questions.

The Illustrious Life and Mysterious Death of Olive Thomas

Olive Thomas died at twenty-five years of age, thanks to the accidental ingestion of mercury bichloride. She had acted in approximately twenty films over four years, but sadly, her career ended as quickly as it had begun. While Thomas’ death essentially created the first Hollywood scandal ever, I feel that she should be remembered for her expressiveness and liveliness that she brought to her acting.

Olive Thomas won the “Most Beautiful Girl in New York City” contest in 1914, launching her modelling career. She joined the Ziegfeld Follies shortly thereafter and remained with the Follies until 1916. That year, she signed with the International Film Company, and her acting debut was in an episode of “Beatrice Fairfax,” called “Playball.”

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