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How a Film Salon Celebrated Women Directors on Wikipedia

How a Film Salon Celebrated Women Directors on Wikipedia

To celebrate Women’s History Month, I bring your attention to a monthly Women in Film Salon run by Seed&Spark producer and founder Emily Best. Rather than belly-ache about the sad state of women in Hollywood, cinematographer Elle Schneider and director Jen McGowan (“Kelly & Cal”) pulled together 13 women for an edit-a-thon to create new Wikipedia pages. They whipped out their laptops and wrote  21 entries for women directors or women filmmaker organizations that did not have pages before.

They were inspired by Wikipedia edit-a-thons for women artists as well as black women in history to create or strengthen Wikipedia entries about women who are notable but rarely written about. “Wikipedia is one of the most trafficked sites on the internet and a huge resource for people searching for women filmmakers, even though very few are listed,” wrote Schneider in an email. 

“It’s the Encyclopedia Brittanica of the digital age,” Khali Muhammad, director of the Schomberg Center for Research, told The Huffington Post.

“Personally – even though it seems silly – it felt incredibly good to participate in writing history,” Best  wrote in an email. “More impressive, perhaps, is the list of women who contributed, and the regular contributions they make to efforts to advance women and diversity in film…Altogether, this only took a few days. Think of the possibilities if groups around the country did this 2-3 times a year!”
Below is the list of the Salon’s Wikipedia pages, some of which were deleted by Wikipedia because they didn’t match their “notability” requirements. That can be a self-perpetuating circle. It seems that you often have to build “consensus” rules for “relevance.” Such women’s organizations as the Alliance of Women Directors that don’t get enough press coverage, said Best, “have an additional burden of research for the time being.” 

The contributors were: Erica Anderson (director of crowdfunding, Seed&Spark, @wingsofapig), Emily Best (producer and founder, Seed&Spark , @emilybest), Diane Bell (director, “Obselidia,” @dianebell1), Eve Cohen (director of photography and chief creative officer, Seed&Spark, @EveCohenDP), Eleonore Dailly (producer, @edailly), Kimberly Dilts (producer, “Angel’s Perch,” @kmdilts), Jessica Graham (actor/producer, @deconstructjg), Heidi Honeycutt (writer & founder, Etheria Film Night, @EtheriaFN), Jen McGowan (director, “Kelly & Cal,” @IAmJenMcG), Roberta Munroe (producer, consultant and author, @robertamunroe), Thuc Doan Nguyen (writer and founder, Bitch Pack, @biatchpack), Calliope Porter (actor, @calliopeporter), Elle Scheider (director of photography and founder, Digital Bolex, @elleschneider) and Amanda Lovejoy Street (actor/director).

I checked out my own woeful Wikipedia entry and made some updates–including my book. While it’s often hard for women, if you don’t toot your own horn, it may be that nobody else will. We should all be inspired to make sure our own favorite women in the film industry are properly represented, as well.

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