The Mother Of All Narrative Cinema; Alice Guy-Blache Finally Gets Her Due

Have you ever heard of Alice Guy-Blache? My friend Julie emailed me about this kickstarter for a documentary about Alice, and I was kind of shocked that I had no idea who she was, to be honest.

I mean, not that I know about all the things, but I went to NYU film school where they are very serious about the history of cinema. I was the president of the Women in Film association while I was there — we worked with groups of professional female filmmakers to share the history and forge relationships to encourage each other to keep up the good fight as women making movies. We celebrated Frances Marion and Mary Pickford. We shared the stories of the Mothers of American Cinema like it was our gospel, and yet we’d never once stumbled across the incredible story of the world’s first EVER narrative filmmaker, one who just happened to be female — a wife, a mother, a studio head, and a director — a women quite literally having it all way back in 1906, when her entire gender still wasn’t even allowed to cast a vote for president in the US: Alice Guy-Blache.

[Just so we’re clear, narrative filmmaking is filmmaking that tells a story, so y’know — she started a trend that affected basically EVERY THEATRICAL RELEASE MADE TODAY.]

What filmmakers Pamela Green and Jarik van Sluijs have set out to do here makes my heart sing. As a woman, as a director pushing my movie up hill, and most of all, as a citizen of the internet, where we get to be a part of making amazing projects like this happen when they otherwise would not. Making a movie is expensive and takes the creativity and man-hours of hundreds if not thousands of people. Although Pamela and Jarik have built amazing careers for themselves in the world of blockbuster visual effects (which also means I can’t wait to see what they’ll do visually with this project) they still have to fight the same battles as everyone else when it comes to funding their independent film. So if you’re wondering why a project with so many famous faces in it would need your help with funding? Here’s the oh-too-true answer in the filmmakers own words —

It’s simple. We cannot get funding in Hollywood for a film of this nature.

Sadly, this is not the type of project that easily gets traditional Hollywood funding, nor is it the type of film that qualifies for most of the typical educational grants. Hollywood funding doesn’t usually go into beautifully made documentaries; educational grants don’t allow for this kind of ambition and entertainment value. This is a passion project for all of us involved, and it is through passion that we’ve been able to pull the favors from those in the industry so far.

WE NEED YOUR HELP TO GET THIS STORY TOLD!

We have built a reputation in our field, and through it have built friendships and followers that are helping us tell Alice’s story. We have the best in the business giving us their time, helping us, guiding us, and rooting for us – rooting for Alice. Understandably, we have maxed out our favors, and now we’re asking you, and your families, and all your friends to get us over the finish line!

While I drafted this, Be Natural has gone from being $22k under its $200k Kickstarter goal to surpassing it by 6k and counting, now working towards an extended goal of $240k. As with all Kickstarters, the $200k is the minimum amount the Be Natural team needed to bring the documentary to the point of a rough-cut. Each and every donation above and beyond this point brings Alice’s story closer to a completed film we’ll all be able to watch and share for generations to come. Let’s help save Alice from being written out of history again. Plus how awesome is this Save Alice T-Shirt? You know I want that for my collection.

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Visit the Be Natural kickstarter and become a backer HERE!

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