Outline for NS / WMM presentation page 3
10 Apart from our teaching, Sheila and Icontinued to work on our own films. This is thecrew for my film Sweet Bananas. Cabell Smith, inthe middle, shortly after this became the firstsound woman at NBC. On the far left is MarionHunter who has become a highly respected filmeditor.A group of us under the umbrella of WMMtried during the Spring and Summer of 1971 to getthe Women’s Silver Screen Roadshow rolling.But we could never get any support.11
In 1972 Sheila and I applied to the New York StateCouncil on the Arts. That March we incorporationWMM as a 501(c) 3. We were awarded $9000 to starta workshop – specifically to give community women,everyday women the opportunity to create their ownstories on film.In large part this award came because of Sheila’sand my track record with YFF. And because I hadexperience conducting a number of start up projectsand reporting on their activities.
While Sheila and I scouted several differentneighborhoods in Manhattan for the workshop, weselected Chelsea—in the 1970s a very differentcommunity than it is today. It was a socio-economically diverse community. And I lived there.For a while we called the workshop ChelseaPicture Station with the hope of one day becoming ahead end community TV channel. High Hopes!! inthose first days of cable and community access
We set up our workshop in a church basement, aspace we shared with AA meetings and other community groups. It was St Columba on West 25
Stin the middle of all the ILWGU buildings.Flyers were pasted up in supermarkets andlaundromats.And women came. We figured for about every 3who came, one stayed to actually make a film
Five shorts were finished that first year. Thefilmmakers attended an international women’s filmfestival in Toronto in June 1973 and talked about themaking of their films. Sheila and I encouraged thatspeaking with the films was as important as makingthem.This image of Jean Shaw at the tripod, directingher actors in her short,
, was published in Der Speigel. In fall 1973 I flew into Berlin with fifteenhours of US made women’s films including all theworkshop movies. The photo encapsulates the essenceof WMM. It made it into German MSM media, butnever into US MSM.