Questions And Issues For Workshop 2

Columbia University Seminar & Women’s Film History Network – UK/Ireland:Women and Film History Weekend 11 – 13 March 2010

Workshop 2: Transnationalising Women’s Film History

Friday 12 March Identifying Problems & Issues

9.00 – 10.30 Session 1: Traveling Women: Confronting Problems & Issues

How does the internationalism of the film industry and border-crossing of personnel impact practically on researching, constructing and interpreting women’s film history? What problems have women’s film history researchers encountered?

What do the examples of particular women’s filmmaking careers tell us?

Does gender pose specific problems when researching women filmmakers who cross national boundaries or work in an international scene? E.g. Florence Turner, Mary Murillo, Margaret Turnbull or more recently Sally Potter.

How far do institutional sources block or facilitate identification of trans-national women workers?

How does gender operate in national archives and collections? How far do archival practices & collection management impact on the construction of women’s film history? How might they be changed?

How might gender point to sources – often non-filmic - otherwise considered insignificant?

How far can the category ‘women’ be used as a search tool? Where does feminism figure in researching women’s film history? How far is gender a research tool for feminism?

10.45 – 12.00 Session 2: Gender and Nation: Trans-nationalising Women’s Film Histories

What are the conceptual/interpretative implications of national cinema histories and the existence of national archives for the construction of women’s film history? Does nation exceed gender? What is the connection between gender, nation and women as filmmakers? How far does the national box repress the cross-national relation between filmmakers, film forms and trans-national influences?

How is nationality attributed to a film? Ditto gender? How far is there a tension between nationality and gender as a means of categorizing films? How far does “women” point to a trans-national affiliation and what’s its relation to “national identity”?

Does the construction of film histories in terms of national identities and cinematic movements obscure the role of women as filmmakers or the nature of their work?

Does nation override gender? E.g the importance of nation in the construction of the ‘canon;’ the role of subtitling; barrier of language.

Are the cultural policies and archival practices in different parts of the world gendered differently?

How far does the traveling history of film prints and their reconstruction for different national historical contexts impede the search for women’s authorship?

How far does national protectionism in the writing of histories obscure the role of immigrant or transient filmmakers?

What assumptions are we making about the relation between a woman’s nationality, her gender and the films she makes or contributes to?

Is our aim to insert women filmmakers into national histories? If not does this require changing the concept of national cinemas and categories such as “national identity”?

How far is national-cultural origin/context necessary to understand how a woman operates as a filmmaker – or does the experience of gender make women’s film history a trans-national construction?

What are the implications of cross-national/cross-cultural research and critical ‘outsideness.’ How do we tell ‘others’ stories?

How should nationality figure in the construction of catalogues, archives and resources developed to aid the writing of women’s film history? How might we reconceive “nation” in order to study the cross-national products?

1.00 – 3.00 Session 3: Historising the Recent Past: Digitisation. Transnational Practices & Future Histories

How do questions about women’s filmmaking practice get reframed after Second Wave feminism and in the context of postfeminism? How far do new modes of digital production and distribution and global circulation impact on women’s filmmaking, their gendered position in film industries and their national affiliations? Do we research and write the histories of post 2nd wave women’s movement filmmakers differently?

What impact do changing conditions of film production, distribution and exhibition have on women’s filmmaking?

How far do digital media change women’s access to filmmaking and the circulation of their works to audiences across national borders?

How are the works – on celluloid, VHS, DVD, tape-slide, etc. - made by post-1970s women’s collectives and workshops, feminist groups, independent filmmakers to be collected, preserved, archived and made accessible for construction of future histories?

Does the impact of nationality and the nature of women’s cross-border filmmaking change?

Does the national disaggregate? How do we understand the current shift from the concept of the international to the transnational and what impact might this have on our understanding of women’s filmmaking/media practices?

What impact does the global arena of film finance and production have on the way we organize information? E.g. are cross-national co-productions a special category or an illustration of the conditions of cinema?

Is the relationship between national archives and national, transnational and diasporic cinemas changing?

3.15 – 5.00 Sesssion 4: Resources for Women’s Film History: Current Progress and Future Development

What is the future of Women Film Pioneer’s Resource Books/Databanks/Websites? How can different national projects relate to each other? How inevitable or desirable is the sound/silent divide currently in place? What strategies might be developed for extending research activity around post-sound and post-70s women’s filmmaking?

Saturday 13 March Solutions and Implementation

9.00 – 10.45 Session 5: Policies and Practices 1: Internationalising Research Resources & Knowledge Sharing

How to promote the category of women as a search tool, and preservation focus?

How are archives positioned to facilitate international research and histories of women’s filmmaking?

Restoration and access policies, cataloguing practices and issue of repatriation.

Problems and solutions re cross-national links between national archives, cultural centres, databases and websites.

Copyright questions.

11.00 – 12.45 Session 6: Policies and Practices 2: Distribution, Exhibition & Education

Changing film history, challenging the canon, changing the curriculum.

Innovating through public exhibition and events.

Problems and Strategies for impacting on DVD and digital circulation.

Strategies for impacting on television programming, media coverage, website construction and internet interactions.

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