Independent Female Filmmakers collects original and previously published essays, interviews, and manifestos from some of the most defining and groundbreaking independent female filmmakers of the last 40 years. Featuring material from the seminal magazine The Independent Film and Video Monthly—a leading publication for independent filmmakers for several decades—as well as new interviews conducted with the filmmakers, this book, edited by Michele Meek, presents a unique perspective into the ethnically and culturally diverse voices of women filmmakers whose films span narrative, documentary, and experimental genres and whose work remains integral to independent film history from the 1970s to the present.
Independent Female Filmmakers also includes a biographical profile of each filmmaker, as well as an online resource with links to additonal interviews and a sample course syllabus.
The filmmakers in this book include:
• Lisa Cholodenko (High Art, The Kids Are All Right)
• Martha Coolidge (Valley Girl, Real Genius, Introducing Dorothy Dandridge)
• Cheryl Dunye (The Watermelon Woman, Stranger Inside)
• Miranda July (The Future, Me And You And Everyone We Know)
• Barbara Kopple (Harlan County USA, Wild Man Blues)
• Maria Maggenti (The Incredibly True Adventures of Two Girls in Love)
• Deepa Mehta (Fire, Earth, Water)
• Trinh T. Minh-ha (Surname Viet, Given Name Nam, Night Passage)
. . . and more!
Table of Contents
About the Contributors
Preface: Feminist Independents – By Patricia White
Introduction – By Michele Meek
An Independent Revolution: A History of the Association of Independent Video & Filmmakers (AIVF) and The Independent Film & Video Monthly – By Erin Trahan
Ericka Beckman (1951–) – By Emily Watlington
Lizzie Borden (1958–) – By Cynthia Felando
Lisa Cholodenko (1964–) – By Holly Willis
Martha Coolidge (1946–) – By Michele Meek
Julie Dash (1952–) – By Christina N. Baker
Cheryl Dunye (1966–) – By Sarah E. S. Sinwell
Jennifer Fox (1959–) – By Michele Meek
Su Friedrich (1954–) – By Erin Trahan
Miranda July (1974–) – By Erin Trahan
Barbara Kopple (1946–) – By Lisa Dombrowski
Maria Maggenti (1962–) – By Amy Guth
Deepa Mehta (1950–) – By Anna Sarkissian
Trinh T. Minh-ha (1952–) – By Benjamin Schultz-Figueroa and Patricia Alvarez Astacio
Yvonne Rainer (1934–) – By Aviva Dove-Viebahn
Annie Sprinkle (1954–) and Beth Stephens (1960–) – By Linda Williams
Michele Meek is an Assistant Professor of Communication Studies at Bridgewater State University. She co-founded Independent Media Publications, which now publishes The Independent, and, throughout her career has worked in film distribution, festivals, media journalism, and as an award-winning writer/director. Her recent essays have been published in Literature/Film Quarterly and Girlhood Studies. For more information about her, visit www.michelemeek.com.
Featured Author Profiles
"Michele Meek’s book is a welcome and important addition to the growing list of anthologies about women filmmakers…but what makes it special is that it is about the true pioneers of independent American women’s film, written and edited by those who were part of it."
—Debra Zimmerman, Executive Director of Women Make Movies
"This is a rich and exciting volume that draws attention to the indispensable contributions that women filmmakers have made to American independent cinema. Featuring profiles of and interviews with many groundbreaking directors, it gives voice to female artists whose experiences will inform and inspire the next generation of image-makers."
—Michele Schreiber, Author of American Postfeminist Cinema: Women, Romance and Contemporary Culture; Co-editor of Indie Reframed: Women’s Filmmaking and Contemporary American Independent Cinema
Included below are the interviews and profiles from The Independent Film & Video Monthly that needed to be cut due to length and other constraints from Independent Female Filmmakers. We’ve included them here for your additional reference.
- 1980/1981 “Journeys From Berlin / 1971: A Film by Yvonne Rainer (1980)” by Abby Turner
- 1991 “Why a Fish Pond? An Interview with Trinh T. Minh-ha” by Laleen Jamayane and Anne Rutherford
- 1992 “Calling the Shots: Black Women Directors Take the Helm” (includes Director Cheryl Dunye and Director Julie Dash)
- 1992 “Rambling Martha Coolidge” by Ellen Levy
- 1996 “Faux Pas De Deux: The Watermelon Woman is the newest NEA whipping boy” Edited by Dana Harris (includes an interview with Director Cheryl Dunye)
- 1998 “Can This Marriage Be Saved? Reflections on a Farmer’s Wife and American Love Story” by Cara Mertes (includes an interview with Director Jennifer Fox)
- 1998 “Love & Country: An Interview with Trinh T. Minh-ha” by Margaret Kelly