At the Half Century Mark: Celebrate Early Productions from Women Make Movies

Event Date: 
March 26, 2022
Event Time: 
7:00pm to 8:00pm
Screening Room - Michigan Theater
Event Tags: 

Curated by Ariel Dougherty

The world’s largest distributor of women’s films, Women Make Movies, Inc. turns 50 in 2022. This program celebrates its first decade, when WMM was also a producing outlet. In its first decade, from 1970 to 1980, production of feminist media, both narrative and documentary, was the heart of its work. During this decade, 39 productions emerged, exploring women’s hopes and dreams on celluloid and half-inch videotape. Initially, as an offshoot of the Women’s Liberation Movement, WMM was the umbrella under which filmmaker-teachers Sheila Paige and Ariel Dougherty produced four films, influenced by the youth that they taught and the works of Andy Warhol. 

Their incorporation as an organization in 1972 established a community-based teaching and production center for women of all ages in the ethnically and economically mixed Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan. Simultaneously, they created a distribution service to dispel the educational film marketers’ myth that “women were not an audience.” More essentially, distribution provided a necessary long-term revenue stream. Little is known today about the early community production roots of the organization. Few of these early works have been in active distribution for decades. Enjoy and engage and see how relevant these films are for today.  

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