Light and shadow. Imagine night camp 50,000 years ago. The fire sparks and pulses as a storyteller rises to begin speaking the night's tale to the circle gathered. Perhaps the story tonight is the celebration of a birth. Or glorious victory in battle. A promised union happily joined; a quest begun this very day, the outcome unknown, inexperienced youth alone against a hostile world.
Your eyes widen, conjuring the marching legs of heroes in the smoldering logs, you hear the joyous cry of a new mother, see the triumphant arm of a youth raised to the sky as the sparks explode upward, touch the heat of passion with the palm of your hand outstretched.
Humans love story. Storytelling is how we identify ourselves, how we align ourselves with the cosmos, and the way we know what we know of human experience. For millennia the stories were mist and shadow; impermanent imagery except for the devoted storytellers who passed on oral tradition. Artist/storytellers drew scenes on rock cliffs and cave walls-early days of visual media.
Aristotle spoke of the camera obscura- sunlight through a tiny hole projected an inverted image on a surface in a dark room. Fast forward to 1545 when a drawing of camera obscura was published. 1558, Magia Naturalis is published describing a camera obscura with lenses and concave mirrors. 1816. Metal plates coated with chemical emulsion became Aristotle's darkened room.
1902-1906 Alice Guy Blaché directs over 100 phonoscènes, films made for Gaumont's chronophone, and the intriguing history of women peering through lenses to satisfy our intense ongoing hunger for drama, laughter, intrigue, pathos, chills and story, story, story through moving pictures begins with this remarkable pioneering woman's achievement.
The woman in the director's chair coordinates the collaborative forces that would animate the logs we saw in our prehistoric vision. She hires the youth with the raised arm, chooses and supervises the sound engineer who brings us the new mother's cry, guides the set designer for just the right number of stars in the sky and the correct angle of smoke, wrangles the producer, assigns the 1st and 2nd assists, all while seeing the screenplay's story and keeping her own vision true through to post production.
2015. We humans who love story will this year celebrate madly, wildly, lovingly that woman in the director's chair with the Directed by Women Global Viewing Party.
From September 1 through September 15, 2015 there is a party going on, and the world is invited! For those 15 days we will be celebrating women filmmakers around the globe by watching films, discussing filmmaking, and contributing to the knowledge base of women's roles in media historically and today. As of today there are 7,127 women directors listed on the Directed by Women website.
Engaging in this celebration can be as personal as watching a woman-directed film at home, hosting a viewing party with friends, texting afterward; posting photos on tumblr, instagram, Pinterest, facebook, tweeting films watched or film wish lists. Interviewing a woman director for your blog. On a community scale, coordinating events with your local library, school, college, film groups, cinemas. Talk about films directed by women, do some internet research, check out books from the library, encourage group discussions about the wonderful discoveries you make. Worldwide, you can find a viewing partner in a country you're interested in knowing more about and create an international film lovers' festival without leaving your house.
Directed by Women Global Viewing Party is a magnificent chance to awaken to and appreciate the voluminous contribution of women to film, visual media in all its storytelling glory. Let's make this year the beginning of the revelry, and rejoice in the synergy that brings together creative women filmmakers and their devoted global viewers.