The New York Women in Film and Television's Women's Film Preservation Fund has been offering terrific screenings this fall, from Will at the Walter Reade, to MoMA's To Save and Project where two programs of films preserved by grants from WFPF were shown to a full house. It's not over yet either. Don't miss out on tomorrow's screening at The Paley Center for Media.
Earlier this fall Jessie Maple honored a Film Society of Lincoln Center's Walter Reade audience with her presence at the post Q&A of Will and both Liane Brandon and Lisa Crafts joined a Q&A for To Save and Project, Women's Film Preservation Fund, Program 1, "Pretty Women". They represented their films Betty Tells Her Story and Desire Pie, which I admit were my favorites of the group, but all were wonderful. I was captivated by Ms. Brandon's Betty Tells Her Story and she talked about her process of creating the film. Betty Tells Her Story is of a woman, Betty, who tells of a shopping experience in an interview style and then tells it again awhile later. The differences in her two accounts of what happened and her emotional reactions are very compelling. It leaves you with much to consider, such as female identity, how emotion is attached to objects and consumerism, and more. Listening to both Ms. Brandon and Ms. Crafts, I was left with thinking how interesting these groups of films and similar line-ups would be at film festivals, especially during Women's History Month coming this March. Crafts' film, Desire Pie, she says was a response to seeing traditional pornography where a woman's sexuality is portrayed from a male point of view. She also shared a great story of how Desire Pie came to be preserved, as the original print had been missing for years after her distributor went out of business. It showed up years later after another company purchased that distributor’s stock. Luckily for Ms. Crafts (and us!) she eventually received a random phone call from the purchaser.
The stories behind preserved and/or restored films are sometimes almost as interesting as the films themselves. They are often mysterious treasure hunts that take years to solve and find. Unfortunately in too many cases, it's too late because of the amount of deterioration that takes place, but in many cases, important films can be saved and although it's a race against time, it's so worth it.
I have to say with this particular screening Program 1 screening though, the discussion that followed with Ms. Brandon, Ms. Crafts and a very engaged audience was one of the best I've been to.
Although I wasn't able to stay for MoMA's To Save and Project, Women's Film Preservation Fund, Program 2: "By Hand and Heart" (DOCNYC was going on at the same time, after all!), it had two films I would have loved to have caught. I haven't seen either but have heard good things. Program 2 was made up of one short by Elizabeth Barret, entitled Quilting Women and one Academy Award nominated feature directed by Lourdes Portillo, Susana Muñoz, Las Madres: The Mothers of Plaza de Mayo.
Tomorrow's Women's Film Preservation Fund screening of Playing for Time (1980) will take place at the Paley Center for Media. The panel discussion which takes place at 3pm will include clips from the film, and will offer discussion from it's main characters Vanessa Redgrave and Jane Alexander as well as Producer Linda Yellen. A full screening of the film will be shown at 12:15pm tomorrow. Click here to reserve your tickets!