About Women Make Movies
Established in 1972 to address the under representation and misrepresentation of women in the media industry, Women Make Movies is a multicultural, multiracial, non-profit media arts organization which facilitates the production, promotion, distribution and exhibition of independent films and videotapes by and about women. The organization provides services to both users and makers of film and video programs, with a special emphasis on supporting work by women of color. Women Make Movies facilitates the development of feminist media through an internationally recognized Distribution Service and a Production Assistance Program.
The Women Make Movies' Distribution Service is our primary program. As the leading distributor of women's films and videotapes in North America, Women Make Movies works with organizations and institutions that utilize non-commercial, educational media in their programs. This includes media arts centers, museums, galleries, colleges and universities, as well as other non-profit organizations and agencies, ranging from hospitals to prisons to labor unions to the U.S. Army. Our collection of more than 500 titles includes documentary, experimental, animation, dramatic and mixed-genre work. The films and videotapes represent a diversity of styles, subjects and perspectives in women's lives. More than half of the works in the collection were produced by women of diverse cultures, and the collection includes a variety of works by and about lesbians, older women and women with disabilities. In the last three years, WMM has returned more than $1.5 million to women producers in royalty payments.
Production Assistance Program
Women Make Movies also offers a unique Production Assistance Program which provides fiscal sponsorship, low-cost media workshops and information services to independent media artists. The services included in this program reflect Women Make Movies' commitment to outreach and development of both emerging and established women film and video makers.
Women Make Movies was established in 1972 with the specific mission of training women to become film and video makers. Through the 1970s and early 1980s, hundreds of women participated in Women Make Movies' training programs, collectively producing 70 films and videotapes. During the late 1970's, in response to the lack of distribution and exhibition opportunities for women's films, Women Make Movies initiated its distribution service, began presenting on‑going screenings in New York, and sponsored two international women's film festivals.
In 1984, Women Make Movies exhibited a ground-breaking program of media by Latin American women, Punto de Vista: Latina, and the next year co‑sponsored the conference Viewpoints: Women, Culture and Public Media with Hunter College, which was attended by more than 700 artists, practitioners, theorists, and community activists. In 1988, a new production assistance program was initiated, which included artist‑in‑residencies, a technical assistance program and workshops. The following year, Women Make Movies launched two international touring programs, Changing the Subject: An International Exhibition of Films by Women of Color and The Feminist I, a survey of contemporary women's video.
In celebration of our 20th anniversary in 1992, Women Make Movies launched a touring theatrical exhibition program of new releases from the Women Make Movies collection. The tour was presented in twenty cities throughout the United States. In addition, an international touring program from the Women Make Movies' collection was launched at the Finnish Film Archives in Helsinki, Finland and traveled to a number of cities in Europe, Asia and Latin America.
In 1997, to honor Women Make Movies first quarter century, the Museum of Modern Art in New York City organized a special tribute and twenty-five program retrospective of Women Make Movies titles. Exhibitions commemorating the organization's 25th Anniversary were also held in Austin, Salt Lake City, Boston, Atlanta, Washington DC, as well as internationally in Brazil, Mexico, Korea, Taiwan and the former Soviet Union.
Women Make Movies launched its 30th anniversary year at the Sundance Film Festival with a record breaking ten films, including the Special Jury Prize winner, Lourdes Portillo's Señorita Extraviada in January of 2002. This film, along with other highly acclaimed films from the WMM collection, were featured at exhibitions around the globe as part of our 30th Anniversary celebration. Highlights include exhibitions at some of the leading contemporary arts centers in Asia, South America and Europe, the Independent Vision Award from the Halfway to Hollywood Festival in Kansas City and collaborations with a diverse group of NYC based media arts organizations.
Over the past decade, Women Make Movies distribution service has rapidly grown into an internationally recognized resource. WMM now distributes more than 500 documentary, dramatic and experimental films representing more than 400 emerging and established women artists from nearly 30 countries around the globe. Our films are shown in media arts centers, museums, television, theaters, libraries, universities and used by thousands of educational customers and community groups throughout the United States and the world.
We are proud to have films in our collection by renowned filmmakers such as Jane Campion, Julie Dash, Sally Potter, Trinh T. Minh-ha, Lourdes Portillo, Tracey Moffatt, Valie Export, Kim Longinotto, Pratibha Parmar, Ngozi Onwurah and Ulrike Ottinger, among others, as well as films that have garnered top prizes at prestigious film festivals such as Cannes and Sundance. Our Production Assistance program continues to support the production and development of film and video projects. In the past four years over 200 projects were completed with the assistance of the Fiscal Sponsorship Program. Projects that WMM has supported and distributed have won all of the most prestigious media awards including the Academy Award, Emmy Award and the Peabody Award, among others.
WMM has also worked with dozens of local women's organizations in Asia, Latin America and in the Middle East to support new International Women's Film Festivals. In the coming years, Women Make Movies looks forward to continuing to increase the visibility of women both in front of and behind the camera.
Women Make Movies is a non-profit organization as determined by the IRS code 501(c)(3). While earned income from the WMM distribution service has continued to increase steadily since 1983 and currently provides 85% of our overall operational budget, we are deeply grateful to the wonderful government, corporate and private foundations which support us. We thank them for their continuing commitment to women's independent media.
The Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences
Manhattan Neighborhood Network
National Endowment for the Arts
New York City Department of Cultural Affairs
New York State Council on the Arts
Norman and Rosita Winston Foundation
The Friends of Women Make Movies
We are especially grateful for the Electronic Media and Film Program of the New York State Council on the Arts which funded the development of this website and has supported the work of Women Make Movies for almost 30 years.