The American Film Institute has received a $350,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (to for an unprecedented study of gender parity in the history of American film.
Named for director Lloyd Bacon’s lost 1928 film, the Women They Talk About initiative will explore how gender parity nearly was achieved in the early decades of film — an era in which more women held positions of power than at any other time in the U.S. motion picture industry.
The project will be led by the research team at the AFI Catalog of Feature Films, the authoritative database of every American film released in the first 100 years of the art form. Women They Talk About will use technology to discuss gender roles in the AFI Catalog’s vast collection of more than 500,000 credits in the first century of the film industry, providing new empirical data to support women’s inclusion in the historical narrative.
“Women They Talk About is a game-changer for the story of women’s roles in film,” said Sarah Blankfort Clothier, Manager of AFI Catalog. “This essential project will bring forgotten female film pioneers into the cultural vernacular, and secure their contributions in the canon of American cinema.”
“Women They Talk About” is one of AFI’s pioneering efforts to empower female filmmakers, including the AFI Directing Workshop for Women, the AFI Cinematography Introductory Intensive for Women and the Young Women in Film Intensive.
Added NEH Chairman Jon Parrish Peede: “These new NEH-supported projects will help shore up the nation’s most valuable assets, NEH is proud to support the advancement of learning and sharing of knowledge nationwide.”
AFI’s efforts to empower female filmmakers also include the AFI Directing Workshop for Women, the AFI Cinematography Introductory Intensive for Women and the Young Women in Film Intensive.