Women’s Stories Matter – and Earn Awards

Women’s Stories Matter – and Earn Awards

Sian Heder reminded us how hard it is to be both a writer/artist AND a Mom – but we do it anyway — So do it anyway.

AND she won 2 major awards for a film about a young woman chasing a dream. That has happened only 3 other times in Oscar history (for Gigi, West Side Story, My Fair Lady – all musicals). Don’t let them tell you female stories aren’t powerful enough to earn awards – or audiences.

Women’s Stories Matter – and Earn Awards

Dr. Rosanne Welch Guests on Women in Film & Video DC Oscar Panel Podcast [Audio]

60854458c4d1acdf4e1c2f79c4137142d85d78e379bdafbd69bd34c85f5819adAs a warm-up to the upcoming Oscar ceremony, the Women in Film DC podcast invited me in my position as Executive Director of the Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting to a panel discussion about the women who have won Oscars from the beginning of the famed award ceremony. Having watched most of the ceremonies from the time I sat in front of the TV in my grandparents’ house cross-legged and begged to stay up past 11pm on a Sunday/school night, I had plenty of information.  Then, as editor of When Women Wrote Hollywood I had the chance to talk about the many female screenwriters whose names aren’t well known, but who wrote or otherwise contributed to films from Queen Christina (Salka Viertel) to It’s a Wonderful Life (Frances Hackett) to The Piano (Jane Campion).

Listen to this podcast

Women in Film & Video DC

From Media & Monuments

Topics that come up include women’s writers penchant for using their art for social justice, how the rise of the studio-as-factory system affected female employment, and how will streaming services change what films can be made – and can be nominated. I hope you enjoy the listen:

Ahead of the 94th Academy Awards on March 27, 2022, board member Sandra Abrams sits down with two amazing women to discuss Oscar’s history on nominations of women in non-actor categories. Our guests are Dr. Rosanne Welch, Executive Director of the MFA in TV and Screenwriting Program at Stephens College, and Leslie Combemale, a syndicated film critic known as Cinema Siren, and the creator and host of WomenRockingHollywood – an annual panel at Comic Con in San Diego which highlights female filmmakers. The women reflect on female representation throughout Hollywood’s and the awards show’s history, how it has changed, and what they see for the future.

For more Oscar information

Dr. Rosanne Welch

Leslie Combemale: https://cinemasiren.com/ and https://lesliecombemale.com/ and https://womenrockinghollywood.com/

A Woman Wrote That – 29 in a series – You’ve Got Mail (1998), Writer: Nora Ephron

This new “A Woman Wrote That” post is an echo of the Writers Guild campaign of a few years ago (“A Writer Wrote That”) where they noted famous movie quotes and credited the screenwriter rather than the director.  The difference here being that we will be posting lines from films written by female screenwriters.  Feel free to share! — Rosanne

A Woman Wrote That - 29 in a series - You've Got Mail (1998), Writer: Nora Ephron

JOE

 

Don’t you love New York in the fall? It makes me wanna buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address.

A Woman Wrote That – 22 in a series – Bring It On! (2000), Writer, Jessica Bendinger

This new “A Woman Wrote That” post is an echo of the Writers Guild campaign of a few years ago (“A Writer Wrote That”) where they noted famous movie quotes and credited the screenwriter rather than the director.  The difference here being that we will be posting lines from films written by female screenwriters.  Feel free to share! — Rosanne

A Woman Wrote That - 22 in a series - Bring It On! (2000), Writer, Jessica Bendinger

TORRANCE

You’re a great cheerleader, Aaron, and you’re cute as hell, but maybe you’re just not ‘boyfriend’ material.

Where’s Her Movie? Sculptor, Selma Burke – 15 in a series

“Where’s HER Movie” posts will highlight interesting and accomplished women from a variety of professional backgrounds who deserve to have movies written about them as much as all the male scientists, authors, performers, and geniuses have had written about them across the over 100 years of film.  This is our attempt to help write these women back into mainstream history.  — Rosanne

Where's Her Movie? Sculptor, Selma Burke - 14 in a series

Selma Hortense Burke (December 31, 1900 – August 29, 1995) was an American sculptor and a member of the Harlem Renaissance movement.[1] Burke is best known for a bas relief portrait of President Franklin D. Roosevelt that inspired the profile found on the obverse of the dime.[2] She described herself as “a people’s sculptor” and created many pieces of public art, often portraits of prominent African-American figures like Duke EllingtonMary McLeod Bethune and Booker T. Washington.[3][4] In 1979, she was awarded the Women’s Caucus for Art Lifetime Achievement Award[5]

Wikipedia

Where’s Her Movie? US Supreme Court Justice, Sonia Maria Sotomayor – 14 in a series

“Where’s HER Movie” posts will highlight interesting and accomplished women from a variety of professional backgrounds who deserve to have movies written about them as much as all the male scientists, authors, performers, and geniuses have had written about them across the over 100 years of film.  This is our attempt to help write these women back into mainstream history.  — Rosanne

Where's Her Movie? Us Supreme Court Justice, Sonia Maria Sotomayor - 14 in a series

Sonia Maria Sotomayor (Spanish: [ˈsonja sotomaˈʝoɾ];[1] born June 25, 1954)[2] is an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. She was nominated by President Barack Obama on May 26, 2009 and has served since August 8, 2009. Sotomayor is the first Hispanic and Latina member of the Court.[3][a]

 Wikipedia

Where’s Her Movie? Educator, Salomé Ureña – 13 in a series

“Where’s HER Movie” posts will highlight interesting and accomplished women from a variety of professional backgrounds who deserve to have movies written about them as much as all the male scientists, authors, performers, and geniuses have had written about them across the over 100 years of film.  This is our attempt to help write these women back into mainstream history.  — Rosanne

Where's Her Movie? Educator, Salomé Ureña - 13 in a series

Salomé Ureña (October 21, 1850 – March 6, 1898) was a Dominican poet and an early proponent of women’s higher education in the Dominican Republic.

Around 1881, Salomé with the help of her husband opened one of the first centers of higher education for young women in the Dominican Republic, which she named “Instituto de Señoritas”. Within five years, the first six female teachers had graduated from the Institute, something uncommon at the time. Wikipedia

A Woman Wrote That – 19 in a series – You’ve Got Mail (1998), Writer: Nora Ephron

This new “A Woman Wrote That” post is an echo of the Writers Guild campaign of a few years ago (“A Writer Wrote That”) where they noted famous movie quotes and credited the screenwriter rather than the director.  The difference here being that we will be posting lines from films written by female screenwriters.  Feel free to share! — Rosanne

A Woman Wrote That - 19 in a series - You've Got Mail (1998), Writer: Nora Ephron

KATHLEEN

When you read a book as a child, it becomes a part of your identity in a way that no other reading in your whole life does.

Where’s Her Movie? Actress, Maria Montez – 12 in a series

“Where’s HER Movie” posts will highlight interesting and accomplished women from a variety of professional backgrounds who deserve to have movies written about them as much as all the male scientists, authors, performers, and geniuses have had written about them across the over 100 years of film.  This is our attempt to help write these women back into mainstream history.  — Rosanne

Where's Her Movie? Actress, Maria Montez - 12 in a series

María África Gracia Vidal (6 June 1912 – 7 September 1951),(known as the “Queen Of The Technicolor” and “Maria Montez”) was a Dominican motion picture actress who gained fame and popularity in the 1940s as an exotic beauty starring in a series of filmed-in-Technicolor costume adventure films. Her screen image was that of a seductress, dressed in fanciful costumes and sparkling jewels. She became so identified with these adventure epics that she became known as “The Queen of Technicolor”. Over her career, Montez appeared in 26 films, 21 of which were made in North America and the last five were made in Europe. Wikipedia

Celebrating the Female Screenwriters Who Came Before Us by Dr. Rosanne Welch — Script Magazine, March 2021

It seems quite appropriate that in March, the month we set aside to commemorate all the many marvelous contributions women have made in the arts, I’ve begun a monthly column for Script Magazine celebrating famous female screenwriters of the past.  The first column posted today. Come along and learn the names of the many wonderful women who wrote Hollywood. 

RMW Rosanne Signature for Web

Script magazine logo Rmw script 001

I’m pleased to begin this new column in March, the month we set aside to commemorate all the contributions women have made – and will continue to make – as writers in media forms ranging from silent films to talkies to television to video games.

People often ask me why I created a series of History of Screenwriting courses and not courses on the History Film. I tell them that the History of Film most often becomes the History of Directors which in turn becomes the History of Great Men and I am done with that version of history. I’m also done with the auteur theory that came from French film critics deciding directors were the ‘authors’ of the movies – a theory that has been disproven over and over again but still refuses to die. The word writer comes before director in the job title writer-director because when people talk about the film and TV shows they love they rarely recollect a director’s camera angles but they always quote the writer’s dialogue.

I spent my childhood in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio, an only child who watched TV and read books so I could spend my summer days with newfound friends. I read every book about Hollywood I could find in my tiny local library. Most of them written by men but some, some precious few, were the memoirs of women who had written movies before and during the Golden Age: Anita Loos, Adela Rogers St. Johns, Dorothy Parker (who I only knew as a poet), Ruth Gordon (who I only knew as an actress), and many more who became my mentors. Yet when I went to college and studied film history (there wasn’t any TV history) I never found their names in the textbooks my professors assigned me. In fact, many of my (mostly male) professors had never heard these women’s names.=

I won’t let that happen to you. I firmly believe we need to know the names – and the bodies of work – of the women on whose shoulders we stand as we build our writing careers. Novelists study those who came before them. Screenwriters need to do the same. Women especially need to know the names of the women who founded filmmaking — and those who founded the Writers Guild to protect their interests — so that whenever some modern studio executive wonders whether they can risk big budgets when women writers aren’t usually given such power, the women can list off the names of all the women who came before them whose films made millions – and won Oscars – long before these (mostly male) studio executives were born.

Word matter. Writers matter. Women writers matter. Follow this column to learn not only their names but the themes of their work. Each month I’ll introduce you to women who took the lemons of love and loss in their lives and turned them into art that lasts across decades. Follow me and soon women like Anita Loos (Gentlemen Prefer Blondes), Jeanie Macpherson (Ten Commandments), Elinor Gwyn (It), Frances Goodrich (The Thin Man), and Dorothy Parker (A Star is Born) will be your friends and mentors, too.

Read Celebrating the Female Screenwriters Who Came Before Us on the Script web site

(L-R) Dorothy Parker, Jeanie Macpherson and Anita Loos