I teach several classes for the Stephens College Low-Residency MFA in Screenwriting, including History of Screenwriting. In fact, I created the curriculum for that course from scratch and customized it to this particular MFA in that it covers ‘Screenwriting’ (not directors) and even more specifically, the class has a female-centric focus. As part History of Screenwriting I, the first course in the four-class series, we focus on the early women screenwriters of the silent film era who male historians have, for the most part, quietly forgotten in their books. In this series, I share with you some of the screenwriters and films that should be part of any screenwriters education. I believe that in order to become a great screenwriter, you need to understand the deep history of screenwriting and the amazing people who created the career. — Dr. Rosanne Welch
Making An American Citizen (1912) – Alice Guy Blaché
Making an American Citizen is a 1912 silent comedy short film by the pioneering French woman filmmaker Alice Guy-Blaché, produced at Solax Studios. Originally advertised as “educational drama” or “educational subject,” it grapples with the theme of immigration, assimilation, and of becoming a “good American.” The film carries an explicit feminist message: the lopsided power dynamics in an immigrant couple becomes increasingly equalized, as the couple spends more time in America. The wife learns to stand up to her husband’s abuses, while the husband is repeatedly coerced by other American citizens into treating his wife as his equal, until he is able to internalize the ethos of the Progressive Era. The film works to allay anxieties over Eastern European immigrant men bringing “Old World” patriarchal values and practices to the “New World.” — Wikipedia
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