TCM to Highlight Female Filmmakers Past and Present

Women make films. That's a fact, a statement, and now, a new TV series. 

After creating the addictive and important documentary The Story of Film, Mark Cousins is back with Women Make Filma 12-week series of hourlong examinations of female filmmakers from the earliest silents to our present decade. Every episode will run on Tuesdays on TCM, accompanied by a festival of films directed by women from many countries and six continents. 

It will also be available on the Criterion Channel and HBO Max. 

As narrator Tilda Swinton says, "Most films have been directed by men. Most of the recognized so-called movie classics were directed by men. But for 13 decades and on all six filmmaking continents, thousands of women have been directing films, too—some of the best films."

“This is a film school of sorts in which all the teachers are women, an academy of Venus,” explains producer Tilda Swinton, the first of seven different narrators to be heard.

It's exciting to get this topic covered in such an in-depth way. The series is divided into 40 chapters, which ask rhetorical questions from “What’s an inventive way of introducing a character?” to “How does a director film thought?”

These questions do not have clear answers, but they allow us to study the essentials—framing a scene, establishing tone, creating suspense, and editing. There are no right or wrong answers, just examples from the extensive catalog of women-made films and offers them up as potential solutions. 

NPR's critic David Bianculli says, "Women Make Film doesn't exclude the blockbusters or prominent successes. Wonder Woman by Patty Jenkins is here, as are The Hurt Locker by Kathryn Bigelow and Big by Penny Marshall. But the primary joy of this documentary is seeing one small unfamiliar scene that makes you passionate about seeking out the entire film. I walked away with a long list, including not only The Last Stage but Blackboards, Evolution, Tomboy, and others. None of those, it turns out, will be shown by TCM during its Tuesday night showcases this fall, but I'll find them anyway."

Along with the airing of Women Make Film, TCM will show 100 movies mentioned in the doc, many of which will be getting their most significant U.S. exposure yet. You can check out the schedule here!

It covers six continents, 44 countries, and 12 decades worth of female filmmakers. 

TCM launches Women Make Film on Tuesdays 8 p.m. EST. You can find it on HBO Max and the Criterion Channel as well.      

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September 6, 2020 at 12:46AM

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Pavel Tsvetkov
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