Cover image for Women filmmakers & their films
Women filmmakers & their films
Foster, Gwendolyn Audrey.
Publication Information:
Detroit : St. James Press, [1998]

Physical Description:
xxxiii, 573 pages : illustrations ; 29 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PN1998.2 .W66 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize Non-Circ

On Order



This resource offers comprehensive coverage of women directors and their films, and aims to fill a gap in women's studies by featuring essays on directors, producers, writers and prduction artists.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Unlike other reference sources on people involved in the fine arts, drama, and cinema published by St. James (Contemporary Artists, Contemporary Dramatists, etc.), Women Filmmakers and Their Films consists of entries not only on women working in "behind-the-camera" cinematic jobs but also on films these women have helped make or direct. The scope is broad, encompassing women filmmakers from 34 countries, from the beginning of the cinema to the present. Each of the 190 biographical entries consists of very brief biographical data, a complete filmography (with bolded cross-references for films that are treated in a separate entry), a short bibliography of published material by and about the entrant, and a one to three-page bio-critical essay on the filmmaker. The selection of entrants represents a strong cross-section of women who have made significant contributions to the cinema, from early pioneers such as Alice Guy (1873^-1968) and Lois Weber (1882^-1939) to Jane Campion, Jodie Foster, and Penny Marshall. The 60 entries on particular films include production information, names of cast and crew, a short bibliography of works on the film, awards won, and a one to two-page critical essay written by a film expert. The films selected for separate entries are generally movies that have been critically acclaimed, but there are some questionable inclusions and some serious omissions. Nora Ephron's feel-good film Sleepless in Seattle is included but not Barbra Streisand's Yentl. Penny Marshall's lightweight comedy Big has a separate entry but not her much more dramatic film Awakenings. Two of Leni Riefenstahl's films (Triumph of the Will and Olympia) are covered in separate entries, but there are no separate entries for films by Elaine May and Jodie Foster (although they are both covered in biographical entries). Many large, clear black-and-white stills accompany both the film entries and the biographical entries. Prefacing the book's main body of entries are a short chronology about the historical and contemporary contributions of women in the cinema and two informative introductory essays on the history and current status of women filmmakers. Indexes include listings by nationality and occupation of the entrant, an award index, a film title index (with films in bold indicating separate film entries), and a selected list of distributors of women-made films. This volume succeeds in highlighting the influence of women filmmakers and providing useful, accurate information on important moviemakers often excluded from other reference sources. It is recommended for academic libraries, large public libraries, and specialized film collections. In addition, high-school libraries supporting courses in filmmaking and film history should consider this informative reference source. Reference Books in brief The following is a list of additional recent and recommended reference sources.

Library Journal Review

This book is remarkable for its scope alone‘international directors, animators, producers, writers, costume designers, and editors from the earliest days of film to the present. Each of the 175 signed, scholarly 800- to 1000-word entries offers a critical analysis of the artist, along with a complete filmography and significant secondary resources. Indexes listing nationalities and awards are welcome, as are the "Chronology of Women Filmmakers" and the fascinating 75 significant films by women filmmakers, which range from Jaws (Academy Award for best editing) and Bonnie and Clyde (costume design) to Salaam Bombay, Near Dark, and Vivre Sa Vie. Although the authors rarely analyze particular relationships between artists and their work, and entries on such major films as The Women (1939) and Chantilly Lace (1993) are missing, this is important for all women's studies and film studies collections, complementing Gwendolyn Audrey Foster's Women Film Directors: An International Bio-Critical Dictionary (Greenwood, 1995) and Ally Acker's Reel Women (LJ 4/15/91).‘Anthony J. Adam, Prairie View A&M Univ. Lib., Houston (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

A welcome addition to the growing number of reference works on women in the film industry, this book is more general in scope than works confined to cinematic contributions by women during a particular era (e.g., Anthony Slide's The Silent Feminists: America's First Women Directors, CH, Jan'97) or their occupations in the industry (e.g., Women Writers: From Page to Screen, by Jill Rubinson Fenton et al., CH, Feb'91). Its breadth of scope and inclusion of essays about outstanding women filmmakers complement Ally Acker's Reel Women: Pioneers of the Cinema from 1896 to the Present (CH, Nov'91) and Gwendolyn Audrey Foster's Women Film Directors: An International Bio-critical Dictionary (CH, Apr'96). Entries include filmographies and literature by (and sometimes about) the women profiled. A list of films in which women filmmakers have had a major role has several entries and gives credits and references for further reading. Illustrations enliven the text. A chronology of women filmmakers and indexes by nationality, occupation, awards, distributors, and film titles add greatly to the value of the work. General and academic libraries. C. Hendershott; New School for Social Research