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Women’s film festivals

I’m currently working on a chapter about the first women’s film festivals that took place in the 1970s. I previously wrote about the very first one, The First International Festival of Women’s Films, for my MA. At the time, I interviewed its director, Kristina Nordstrom, in LA, as well as the filmmaker Amalie Rothschild, who was on one of the festival’s screening committees and had some of her films screened at the festival.


This is an ad from the Village Voice for the First International Festival of Women’s Films (1972).


It’s nice to retread old ground in many ways; my MA dissertation was not that well written, but it was pretty well researched, and being able to pull this in to my PhD research is pretty satisfying. And now that I’ve been writing about this period for so long, some of this old material has new resonances – the magazine and the festival are like two nodal points, drawing in and connecting the many names that float about the texts and interviews I’ve been looking at for some time now. In fact, I’ve played around with one of those app which let’s you map these connections in a visual way in order to try and get a handle of all these linkages. It’s one of those helpful but distracting tasks that I like to procrastinate with. Maybe at some point I’ll finish it, and include it in my research or share it online.

I’ve been building timelines for this project too, since the very beginning in fact. I have this massive one that covers everything but I’ve also created one for publications, and I’m now working on another for festivals. I’m also trying to build pages with everything I’ve collected about these different festivals to link off to, but this is a bit of a bigger task. I’m having to concentrate on just Nordstrom’s New York festival from 1972, but hopefully over time I can add information to the other ones. Each one opens up so many fascinating stories, I think they should all have documentaries made and theses written about them. I’m also hoping that people who attended one of these festivals back in the day might get in touch. I’ve spoken to a few people over the course of my research about a few of them, but wouldn’t it be great to have a kind of video gallery with people recounting their experiences? I think it would be brilliant, obviously.


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