Women actively participated in shaping the nascent film industry of the early twentieth century, both as screen stars and behind the camera. But why is this history missing from our understanding of early Hollywood? A comprehensive catalog from the American Film Institute and their “Women They Talk About” project offers an opportunity to discover these forgotten stories and the powerful women who shaped the industry.
Some of the things they highlight include female writers during the “Silent Film” era. From 1910-1930, women were credited as writers or co-writers in 27.5% of feature film productions. This number dropped to 12.2% in the release years 1931-1993, even though the average number of writing credits per movie increased by 13%. Gender parity was not achieved in the silent era, but there were over twice as many women writers at that time than in the following years.
“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. Read more about women who paved the way in film here.