Saturday, August 24, 2013

Missing from history

I had never heard of Alice Guy-Blache, until I saw this film, which was made to accompany a kickstarter fundraiser. Pamela Green and Jarik Van Sluijs want to raise money to tell the story of Alice Guy-Blache and to find and preserve her films before they are lost to posterity.

Alice Guy-Blache must have been quite something. She made one of the first narrative films, using the then new technology, and she was also a pioneer of synchronization of sound to film. She started her own studio in the US, where there were signs exhorting the actors to "be natural". She made the first film with an all African-American cast. She made over a thousand films, but believed at her death that only three survived.  So far, Green and Van Sluijs have rediscovered over a hundred.  There may be many more, decaying in film archives around the world.

She seems to have been amazing woman, but the most astonishing thing is that people have never heard of her - even those involved in film or who have studied film history. The kickstarter campaign only has a couple of days to go, but it is $20,000 short of its target. If you can support it, please do. If you can't, please share the link in the hope that people you know may be able to support it.

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