The Cabbage Fairy

Alice Guy-Blaché (1873-1968), the first female director and a pioneer of early French cinema. This GIF seems to capture the insouciance that I imagine helped her earn that title.

Alice Guy-Blaché (1873-1968), the first female director and a pioneer of early French cinema. This GIF seems to capture the insouciance that I imagine helped her earn that title.

As it goes with the passing of time, March has rolled around again. One look at social media will tell you that it's #WomensHistoryMonth and I'm happy to see the energy that accounts like @tribeca are putting into adding content on female filmmakers into the dialogue.

It seems there is no better time to launch Viewfinder. Supporting women in film is at the core of Fiercely Independent, which I formed as a New York benefit corporation dedicated to this purpose. The timing seems doubly fortuitous given the energy injected into the independent film scene by Moonlight's historic Best Picture win and the upcoming International Women's Strike on March 8th. 

A number of good articles surfaced after the Women's Marches in January. These articles endeavored to answer the question everyone was thinking: "How do we keep this going?" A personal favorite is Elizabeth Gore's cheat sheet for Inc.How to Turn Ideas From the Women's Marches Into Action. It's a quick read and highly recommended if you're itching to take action to support women's rights this year.

Taking it back to the rather insular world of independent film, I want to get started by asking a simple question:

What are 3 things you (yes, you) can do to support women in film?

Share your answers in the comments, on social (tag @fiercelyindieco and use hashtag #independentwomen) or shoot me an email at sarah [at] fiercelyindependent.co. I'll review answers and together we can create a cheat sheet of our own, one with simple steps to support women in film from the ground up. In the meantime, keep checking back as I spend this month exploring the work of women in film.

With that, my daughter is waking up from her nap. I'll leave you with The Cabbage Fairy, Alice Guy-Blaché's first film and likely the first narrative ever captured on camera. It's a one-minute short involving a fairy pulling wailing infants out from behind rather precariously-placed prop cabbages and placing them gingerly at the bottom of the frame. It is glorious and gives the mother in me anxiety. I watch it and feel the chord of recognition striking.

I was given an unused terrace with an asphalt floor (making it impossible to fix a real set). It was covered with a shaky glass roof and overlooked an empty lot. In this place, I made my debut as a director. A sheet painted by a neighbourhood painter who specialised primarily in scarecrows and the like; a vague set – rows of cabbages constructed by a carpenter; costumes rented around the Porte St Martin. The cast: my friends, a crying baby, a worried mother. My first film thus saw the light.
— The Memoirs of Alice Guy-Blaché