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A collection of landmark American films directed by women, digitally restored from archive film elements, loaded with bonus content.
A collection of landmark American films directed by women, digitally restored from archive film elements, loaded with bonus content.
604 backers pledged $49,857 to help bring this project to life.

About

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In early 2015, Kino Lorber mounted a successful crowd-funding campaign for Pioneers of African-American Cinema. The overwhelming support of its Kickstarter supporters allowed the project to expand from from a modest collection of films into a monumental five-disc collection, fully loaded with extras and accompanied by an 80-page booklet. Because of the groundswell of interest and enthusiasm of its supporters, Pioneers became a film history phenomenon: spawning theatrical retrospectives, garnering praise in mainstream media outlets (National Public Radio, The New York Times, The Guardian, Turner Classic Movies, and others), and earning a video release in the United Kingdom.

Now, Kino Lorber continues the legacy begun by Pioneers of African-American Cinema with a new project, equally ambitious in scale, and every bit as historically significant: Pioneers: First Women Filmmakers.

Presented in association with the Library of Congress (and drawing from the collections of other world-renowned film archives), Pioneers will be the largest commercially-released video collection of films by women directors, and will focus on American films made between 1910 and 1929—a crucial chapter of our cultural history.

By showcasing the ambitious, inventive films from the golden age of women directors, we can get a sense of what was lost by the marginalization of women to “support roles" within the film industry.

The collection will be comprised of new HD restorations of both the most important films of the era, but also the lesser-known (but no less historically important) works: short films, fragments, isolated chapters of incomplete serials. The five-Blu-ray box set will include approximately twenty hours of material—showcasing the work of these under-appreciated filmmakers, while illuminating the gradual changes in how women directors were perceived (and treated) by the Hollywood establishment.

The full list of films is to be determined, but collection will likely include works by:

  • Ruth Ann Baldwin: 49-’17
  • Alice Guy Blaché: Canned Harmony, A House Divided, The Ocean Waif
  • Grace Cunard: The Purple Mask serial (misc. episodes)
  • Dorothy Davenport Reid: The Red Kimona
  • Gene Gauntier: A Girl Spy Before Vicksburg, Further Adventures of the Girl Spy
  • Helen Holmes: The Hazards of Helen serial (misc. episodes)
  • Cleo Madison: Her Defiance, Eleanor’s Catch
  • Frances Marion: Just Around the Corner
  • Mabel Normand: Caught in a Cabaret, Mabel’s Blunder
  • Ida May Park: Bread
  • Nell Shipman: Something New 
  • Lois Weber: Fine Feathers, From Death to Life, The Rosary, Suspense, Hypocrites, Where Are My Children?
  • Elsie Jane Wilson: The Dream Lady

The collection is presented in association with the Library of Congress, and in collaboration with Women’s Film Preservation Fund, George Eastman Museum, UCLA Film & Television Archive, Lobster Films / Film Preservation Associates, the British Film Institute, Archives Canada, and the Academy Film Library.

 

THE NEED FOR FUNDING

Like Pioneers of African-American Cinema, this new collection is so ambitious in scale that it is not economically viable as a traditional commercial release. A crowd-funding campaign is crucial in raising the funds necessary to produce such an elaborate edition, and just as important is the campaign’s effectiveness in raising awareness of the project, which will enable us to

Archival Access - In exchange for access to the original film elements, Kino Lorber will make donations to the preservation funds of the archives at which the films are stored. These donations range from $1,000 to $5,000 per film. The more money we raise, the more films we can include in the collection. Since we plan to release at least ten features and a selection of shorts, the archival donations alone will total an estimated $30,000. Typically, these costs are counted as donations to the archives’ film preservation funds—so your contribution to this project indirectly support the future preservation of other films as well.

Mastering Costs - Each film will be newly transferred in HD or 2K from the original 35mm and 16mm elements. Once the films are all digitized, they each undergo a thorough mastering process, including scene-by-scene color correction (to balance the brightness and contrast), digital dirt/debris removal, image stabilization, and, in the case of silent films, conversion to a historically accurate projection speed.

Musical Scores - One of the most costly stages of production is the creation of new musical scores for the silent films. Since First Women Filmmakers is comprised almost entirely of silent films, the scoring budget will be more than double than that of our previous Pioneers collection. We intend to commission scores in a range of musical styles, some traditional scores will approximate the original movie-going experience, while more contemporary scores will encourage today’s viewers to rethink these films by surrounding them in a unique musical context.

Booklet - The specially packaged five-disc set will include an 80-page booklet with a lengthy essay by series curator Shelley Stamp, supplemental essays by other historians, detailed credits and archival notes, and a bibliography for further reading.

ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTORS

Illeana Douglas (Executive Producer) is an acclaimed actress, writer, director, and host of "Trailblazing Women" for Turner Classic Movies. Entertainment Weekly named her memoir, I Blame Dennis Hopper, “Top10 books of 2015.” Film credits include Cape Fear (1991), To Die For (1995), Grace of My Heart (1996), Picture Perfect (1997), Ghost World (2001), Max Rose (2016), and  The Late Bloomer (2016). TV credits includes Six Feet Under, Entourage, Welcome to Sweden, and Modern Family. Illeana created the multi award winning web series Easy to Assemble for IKEA. She is the Executive producer and costar of the web series The Skinny (2016). She is the writer and director of Love Is Funny which will start shooting this Spring.

Shelley Stamp (Curator): A leading expert on women and early movie culture, Shelley Stamp is the author of two award-winning books, Lois Weber in Early Hollywood and Movie-Struck Girls: Women and Motion Picture Culture after the Nickelodeon. She is currently at work on a comprehensive history of Women and the Silent Screen in America, co-authored with Anne Morey. Stamp has served as a consultant for organizations including the National Film Preservation Foundation, EYE Film Institute Netherlands, Turner Classic Movies, and Feminist Frequency. She is Professor of Film & Digital Media at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Bret Wood (Producer) supervised the creation of Kino Lorber’s Pioneers of African-American Cinema. Prior to that, he has designed and produced award-winning editions of silent and classic films for Kino Lorber, including the films of Buster Keaton, Thomas Edison, D.W. Griffith, Erich von Stroheim, Fritz Lang, Mario Bava, and many others. His films as director include The Unwanted and the documentary Hell's Highway: The True Story of Highway Safety Films.

Risks and challenges

Kino Lorber has been a leading distributor of classic and contemporary films for more than 30 years, and if we raise our target goal of $44,000, donors to Pioneers: First Women Filmmakers can be confident that the collection will be completed and released—and reward copies mailed to contributors in a timely manner.

The packaging may not be identical to the demo art featured on the Kickstarter page, some films featured in the promo video may not actually be included in the set (this is at the discretion of the series curators and the archives from whom film elements are being accessed). Our production timeline is an estimate based on previous projects of this nature.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    VOTE OF CONFIDENCE

    Voices your support for this ambitious new project, and allows you to follow along on our journey as the project develops and grows.

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    CASUAL VIEWER

    In addition to following the progress of this campaign, you will receive a passcode allowing you to download or stream one feature film from the Kino Classics streaming platform. Choose from among ten films (titles to be announced).

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    CONTRIBUTOR

    In addition to the above, your name will be printed in the paper booklet as a Contributor.

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    SUPPORTER

    In addition to the Contributor rewards, you will receive (upon successful completion of the Kickstarter campaign) a DVD or Blu-ray copy of a woman-directed film previously released by Kino Lorber. Choose from among ten titles, including Old Joy, Variety, The Hitch-Hiker and A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night among others.

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    PROMOTER

    In addition to the Contributor rewards, you will receive a collectible PIONEERS: FIRST WOMEN FILMMAKERS T-shirt featuring the iconic logo from a woman-driven production company. Choose from Lois Weber Productions and the Solax Studios (Alice Guy-Blaché). Available in men's and women's sizes.

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    I LOVE ILLEANA!

    In addition to the Contributor Rewards, you will receive an autographed copy of Illeana Douglas' memoir I BLAME DENNIS HOPPER AND OTHER STORIES FROM A LIFE LIVED IN AND OUT OF THE MOVIES.

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    TRUE BELIEVER DVD

    In addition to the Contributor rewards, you will receive a DVD copy of PIONEERS: FIRST WOMEN FILMMAKERS upon its completion, mailed to you at no additional cost (a shipping surcharge will be added to supporters outside North America).

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    TRUE BELIEVER BLU-RAY

    In addition to the Contributor rewards, you will receive a Blu-ray copy of PIONEERS: FIRST WOMEN FILMMAKERS upon its completion, mailed to you at no additional cost (a shipping surcharge will be added to supporters outside North America).

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    LEGACY CONTRIBUTOR

    In addition to the True Believer rewards, you will receive a DVD or Blu-ray copy of the first set in this ongoing series PIONEERS OF AFRICAN-AMERICAN CINEMA.

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    THE BUNDLE

    In addition to the True Believer rewards, you will receive one "Promoter" T-Shirt, an autographed copy of Illeana Douglas' memoir I BLAME DENNIS HOPPER and an assortment of five women-directed DVDs or Blu-rays from the Kino Lorber library: Ana Lily Amirpour's A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT, Kelly Reichardt's OLD JOY, Bette Gordon's VARIETY (DVD only), Lina Wertmüller's LOVE AND ANARCHY, and Ida Lupino's THE HITCH-HIKER (alternate titles are available upon request).

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    HISTORY LOVER

    In addition to the True Believer rewards, you will receive autographed copies of Illeana Douglas' memoir I BLAME DENNIS HOPPER and Shelley Stamp's book LOIS WEBER IN EARLY HOLLYWOOD, plus the five-film bundle of women-directed DVDs and Blu-rays.

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    HISTORY + LEGACY SPECIAL

    In addition to the True Believer rewards, you will receive autographed copies of Illeana Douglas' memoir I BLAME DENNIS HOPPER and Shelley Stamp's book LOIS WEBER IN EARLY HOLLYWOOD, plus a DVD or Blu-ray copy of the first set in this ongoing series PIONEERS OF AFRICAN-AMERICAN CINEMA, plus the five-film bundle of women-directed DVDs and Blu-rays.

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    FILM FANATIC

    In addition to all the benefits of True Believer, you will receive a gift pack of 25 Kino Classics releases. You will choose from a list of 150 DVDs and Blu-rays, and these will be shipped to you upon completion of the Kickstarter campaign. Your copy of PIONEERS: FIRST WOMEN FILMMAKERS will follow in November 2017.

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    MOVIE MOGUL

    Identical to the benefits of Film Fanatic, but instead of choosing 25 DVDs and Blu-rays, you will choose 60 from a list of 150! These will be shipped to you upon completion of the Kickstarter campaign. Your copy of PIONEERS: FIRST WOMEN FILMMAKERS will follow in November 2017.

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    FUNDER

    In addition to the True Believer rewards benefits above, your name will appear before the opening titles of one short film or fragment, as follows: “This digital restoration was made possible through the generous support of (donor).” The credit can also appear in memory of a loved one.

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    MAJOR FUNDER

    In addition to the True Believer rewards benefits above, your name will appear before the opening titles of one feature film, as follows: “This digital restoration was made possible through the generous support of (donor).” The credit can also appear in memory of a loved one.

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Funding period

- (31 days)