Coffee and croissant in hand at sunrise, pearls, a beehive up-do topped-off with a sparkling tiara, over-sized sunglasses—the reflection of a woman in the glass of a jewelry store. A young girl sprawled out on a tree branch over-looking a party she’s not privy to, an off-duty princess taking a rogue scooter disruptively through a town. All of these simple moments are from films that star the iconic Audrey Hepburn. The percentage and likelihood that you have seen her image next to a cheesy inspirational quote or her face on a poster of a college age woman’s dorm room wall is absolutely certain, whether you have seen any film she is in or not. Maybe the quote was an actual quote she coined, maybe not. It is undebatable that Hepburn’s image, stardom, and influence has far outlived her life. Continue reading Women’s History Month: Audrey Hepburn- Still the Classiest
Time can permit legends to eclipse the reality of someone’s life, particularly in Hollywood. Some are unjustly lionized and some greatly disparaged but in the history of film few have been as mischaracterized as Marion Davies. She was a success on stage and screen but her long term relationship with a wealthy, married man and her portrayal in a film loosely based on his life is all that is remembered now.
Born into a wealthy Brooklyn family, Marion started out as a model and then a chorus girl on Broadway. She was then featured in the “Ziegfeld Follies’ which was a hugely popular musical revue that launched many careers at the beginning of the nineteenth century. As she rose in fame as a stage comedienne, the new medium of the “flickers,” or silent film, beckoned. Continue reading Women’s History Month: Marion Davies
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. Continue reading Women’s History Month: Frances Marion
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. Continue reading Spotlights & Spirits – A retrospective on Joan Crawford
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. Continue reading Women’s History Month Interview With Editor Katie Bryer
This historical drama directed by Marjane Satrapi follows Marie Curie from her discovery of radium and polonium to her death in 1934. It merges a range of historical time periods in a blended visual style which leans on its graphic novel roots. It may not work for some but is certainly bold.
We meet Marie as Maria Skłodowska (Rosamund Pike), a Polish immigrant living in Paris and “taking up too much space” in a shared laboratory. She is informed by a roomful of men that she is being kicked out and she must find another if she wants to continue her scientific endeavours. Continue reading GFF Exclusive Review: Radioactive
There are many forgotten faces in Hollywood who once captivated audiences. Few were more groundbreaking than Mabel Normand who starred, directed and produced silent films when the medium was still experimenting with what it could do. So much of what she and her professional, sometime private, partner Mack Sennett accomplished has now become standard, even cliché in film comedy. That she did so much in so few years is as dizzying as the breakneck chase scenes they would become recognized for in one of their more successful film series. Continue reading Women’s History Month: Marvelous Mabel Normand
Greta Garbo started her career in Swedish cinema (her first notable role being the 1924 film “The Saga of Gösta Berling”), which brought her to the attention of the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) studio, leading her to her first Hollywood role in “Torrent” (1926). From here on followed a suite of successful silent films and Garbo’s conquest of international acclaim began. Continue reading Women’s History Month: Greta Garbo
There are few actresses who give full-on, metaphorical balls-to-the-wall performances. Betty Gilpin is one of those people. She gives immensely high-caliber performances every time she is on screen. So, with the release of “The Hunt” (2020) fast approaching it is time we take a moment to appreciate the underappreciated Betty Gilpin.
Gilpin has been working long before her turn as actress-turned-wrestler on Netflix’s “GLOW.” But it has been her Emmy-nominated performance as Debbie Eagan and wrestling alter-ego Liberty Belle that has shone a light on her innate talent. Continue reading Spotlight: Betty Gilpin
Happy International Women’s Day everyone! In order to celebrate the day why not grab one of these books and curl up on the sofa with a nice glass of wine, or a beverage of your choice. We hope you’ll find these books to be a fascinating read and will lead you to discover work by female filmmakers from the present and the past. Continue reading 5 Must Read Books About Female Filmmakers