Independent Female Filmmakers : A Chronicle through Interviews, Profiles, and Manifestos book cover
1st Edition

Independent Female Filmmakers
A Chronicle through Interviews, Profiles, and Manifestos

Edited By

Michele Meek

ISBN 9780815373049
Published January 11, 2019 by Routledge
316 Pages

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Book Description

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 decadesas 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


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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


"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