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Meet the First Woman Filmmaker Most People Have Never Even Heard Of — Watch

Alice Guy-Blaché was a cinematic trailblazer, and it's about time everyone knows her name.

Screenshot/Fandor

If you ask most people familiar with the history of film to name some of the early trailblazers, you’re bound to hear Georges Méliès and the Lumière Brothers quite a few times. As for Alice Guy-Blaché? Well, even if she is mentioned, her name will reoccur far less than her male contemporaries, despite the fact that she is just as influential, if not more so.

READ MORE: 18 Films Made by Women, Starring Women, That We Absolutely Love

An informative new video essay from Catherine Stratton has been released via Fandor to celebrate Women’s History Month, and it walks viewers through the history of Alice Guy-Blaché’s essential contributions to film. Her 1896 film “The Cabbage Fairy” is largely credited as one of the first narrative features ever made, produced and shot at a time when filmmakers like the Lumière Brothers were simply capturing scenes of every day life.

Between 1896 and 1920, Guy-Blaché wrote, directed and produced over 1,000 movies in France and America, of which only 350 still survive. She pioneered special effects alongside Méliès, using the double exposure and masking techniques that he is praised for. She also experimented with the hand coloring process in 1990’s “Pierette’s Escapades” by soaking black-and-white film in dye and staining the emulsion.

By 1910, Guy-Blaché co-owned her very own movie studio with her husband, Herbert Blaché. To say this female filmmaker deserves to be recognized on the same stature of Georges Méliès and the Lumière Brothers is an understatement. If you’ve never heard of Alice Guy-Blaché, start learning about her in the video below.

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Comments

Some creepy guy.

http://www.stuffmomnevertoldyou.com/podcasts/hollywoods-first-female-directors.htm

Stuff Mom Never Told You did an audio podcast episode on some of the first women filmmakers which they released last year. Give it a listen.

Kelly Tatham

I am SO glad Alice is finally getting her due, but let’s address her properly, shall we? The headline should read “Meet the Founder of Cinema Most People Have Never Even Heard Of — because She’s a Woman”. Calling her the “First Woman Filmmaker” other-izes her. As if being a woman is something separate from being a filmmaker.
I mean, I get it. But let’s call a spade, a spade, shall we? She is not the “first woman filmmaker”, Alice Guy-Blaché was a pivotal founder of narrative cinema and her memory and legacy has been brutally marred by misogyny. If we want things to get better, we need to be precise with our language — and be wary of propagating exclusion/oppression when we’re sincerely trying to move things forward.

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