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Women Who Revolutionized the History of Cinema

By: Gabriela Martínez @GabbMartivel

For these women, venturing into the film industry meant an important challenge that they managed to overcome. Their innovative vision allowed them to leave a legacy that has transcended over the years.

Learn about the work of these women who revolutionized the history of cinema, according to The Telegraph:

Alice Guy Blaché

Alice Guy Blaché
She worked from 1896 to 1922 and was the first female scriptwriter and film director in history. She is considered the most prolific director of all time with more than 1000 films, of which only 140 were signed with her name. During the first ten years of her career, she was the only female director and the only one to make narrative films. She started filming with the cameras of his boss, Léon Gaumont. She is credited with the cinematic style that inspired Alfred Hitchcock‘s filmography.

Leni Riefenstahl

Leni Riefenstahl

Riefenstahl began her career as an actress before becoming a film director. His work includes Olympia (1938), a documentary that portrays the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games, held at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin in Nazi Germany. This work divided into two parts became a reference for sports photography.
His talent as a cinematographer and director was overshadowed by his sympathy for Nazism. When he met Hitler, Riefenstahl offered him his talent and was in charge of filming the Nazi propaganda, with The Nuremberg Trilogy being his greatest contribution to political-propaganda documentaries.

Chantal Akerman

Chantal Akerman

This Belgian filmmaker is recognized for her film Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles, which mixes a look at ordinary activities (like peeling a potato) with prostitution. His contribution was to give the cinema a feminine perspective from the domesticity of different personal stories.

Directors like Michael Haneke, Gus Van Sant and Sally Potter, have cited her as an influence.

Mary Pickford

Mary Pickford

This silent film actress founded with Charlie Chaplin and her husband, Douglas Fairbanks, the United Artists production company in 1919, with which she managed to produce about 51 films a year, having total control over her participation as an actress and collaborating in the elaboration of the scripts and editing.

Lois Weber

Lois Weber

Weber directed at least 135 films. For the history of cinema, she was as important as D.W. Griffith because is considered a pioneer in the use of the split screen and the female frontal nude. She was the first female director to film a feature film and the first to use sound.

In addition, she directed the first adaptation of Tarzan in the cinema and promoted the careers of great stars of the silent cinema.

Dorothy Arzner

Dorothy Arzner

She was the only female director of cinema and the most prolific during the golden age of the study system in Hollywood (1930-1948). In 1943 she retired fromn cinema to make war training films and advertisements. She invented the boom microphone, which she used for her first sound production and is considered the most successful gay director in history.

She taught film at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), where she had students like Francis Ford Coppola.

June Mathis

June Mathis

Mathis wrote and collaborated on more than 100 scripts from 1915 to 1927. She established the script writing style used to this day; she was the first to include annotations.

Agnès Varda

Agnès Varda

Varda’s contributions to cinema and feminism has been the centerpiece of her work. Her 1958 short film L’opera-mouffe (also known as Diary of a pregnant woman) examines the life of the working class in Paris through the eyes of Varda, then pregnant. Considered for a long time as the best example of the New French Wave, thanks to the mix of documentary and narrative cinema.

Shirley Clarke

Shirley Clarke

The Oscar winner for her 1962 documentary, Robert Frost: A Lover’s Quarrel with the World, managed to mix her love for independent film and the possibilities of video to produce her own original films. Clarke was the first to adopt the video tape to film independently.

Sherry Lansing

 

In 1980 she was named President of Production at The 20th Century Fox, becoming the first woman to direct a Hollywood studio of that importance.

Her career began as an actress, then she started working as producer until she became CEO of Paramount. Lansing produced hits such as Clueless, Forrest Gump and co-produced Titanic.