Illustrated History of Women in Film & A Women’s Film Festival in Denver

Hollywood: Her Story Book Cover

Hollywood: Her Story, An Illustrated History of Women and the Movies sets out to document that women have been in the film business since the flickering early days of its existence.

Starting with Alice Guy-Blaché, a French filmmaker who made her first film in 1896, the lavishly illustrated book provides information on approximately 1200 women who have added their skills and creativity in the many areas of expertise needed to make a movie.

The book is divided into chapters that examine what was happening for women in the film industry in each decade from its beginning to the present. Co-authors Jill S. Tietjen, P.E. and Barbara Bridges have included many photos of the women filmmakers which give a strong visual sense of each of the decades.

Some of the women in this book are movie icons, but many did work that was invisible, marginalized, or minimized. In addition to well-known actresses, the book covers women who were directors, stuntwomen, screenwriters, composers, animators, editors, producers, cinematographers and more.

Alice Guy-Blaché
Alice Guy-Blaché made her first film in 1896

The book is a wonderful tribute to all of the women who have contributed so much to the film industry over the decades, and it is inspiring to see the pictures of so many trailblazers. It can be ordered from Amazon and other local and online bookstores.

Also, if you need to look up information about which women have won Oscars, the Hollywood Her Story website has two handy lists of female nominees and winners by year and by category. You can also sign up for their free monthly newsletters, which share information from the book and other sources about women in film.

Denver’s Women + Film Festival Runs from April 13 – 18

Rita Moreno
Rita Moreno, Trailblazing Puerto Rican Performer

The 12th Annual Women+Film Festival, a six-day online festival of films by and about women, will run from Tuesday, April 13 through Sunday, April 18, 2021. The festival was founded in 2010 by Barbara Bridges, the co-author of the book, Hollywood Her Story, described above. It will include nine documentaries, four fictional narratives, and an evening of shorts. The films will be accessible to audiences in Colorado only through Denver Film’s Virtual Cinema platform at or by downloading the Denver Film app for Roku TV or Apple TV.

The festival will kick off with a special presentation of Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It, a film about the remarkable life and 70-year career of singer, actress and dancer Rita Moreno. The other documentary films will be Amy Tan: Unintended Memoir, about the novelist Amy Tan; End of the Line: The Women of Standing Rock, about the Indigenous women fighting the Dakota Access oil pipeline; Luchadoras, about 3 female wrestlers in Mexico; Playing with Sharks: The Valerie Taylor Story, about a female shark hunter; Landfall, about post-Hurricane life in Puerto Rico, Through the Night about 24-hour daycare centers; Unapologetic, about Movement for Black Lives organizers in Chicago; and Truth to Power: Barbara Lee Speaks For Me, about California Congresswoman Barbara Lee.

Valerie Taylor, Shark Hunter
Valerie Taylor, Shark Hunter

The fictional films include two films about adolescent girls – Schoolgirls, set in Spain in 1992, and Slalom, set in a French ski resort. Kiss Me Kosher is a comedy about a cross-cultural lesbian wedding, and the festival wraps up on April 18 with Holler, a film about a woman who joins a dangerous scrap metal crew in order to pay for her college education.

Please note: The festival can only be viewed online by people in Colorado, but some of the films are available from other online sources. Festival passes are $90 for Denver Film Members; $110 for Non-Members. Individual film tickets are $12 for Denver Film Members and $15 for Non-Members. The opening night and closing night films are not included in the festival pass and must be purchased separately.

Click to see the full schedule and purchase tickets and passes