Women in Film & Video continues its multi-year initiative to have more women-made films included in the National Film Registry housed at the Library of Congress. Although women have been involved with movies since the movie camera was invented, their work is severely underrepresented in this national collection.
The Library of Congress maintains the National Film Registry to honor “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant films” that are at least 10 years old at the time of their inclusion in the Registry. The selected films are “works of enduring significance to American Culture.” More information about the National Film Registry can be found here.
The Library of Congress has changed how they are accepting nominations this year. Click here to submit your nomination. You may nominate each film once, but you may nominate several films.
WiFV is nominating the following films for consideration by the National Film Registry in 2016:
- The Big House (1930) – written by Frances Marion, edited by Blanche Sewell
- He’s Only Missing (1978) – written/directed by Robin Smith
- Paris is Burning (1990) – written/directed by Jennie Livingston
- Fast Food Women (1992) – written/directed by Anne Lewis
- Sleepless in Seattle (1993) – screenplay/directed by Nora Ephron
- Boys Don’t Cry (1999) – written/directed by Kimberly Peirce
- What Women Want (2000) – directed by Nancy Meyers
- Lost in Translation (2003) – written/directed by Sofia Coppola
- Mean Girls (2004) – screenplay by Tina Fey
- The Devil Wears Prada (2006) – screenplay by Aline Brosh McKenna
THE BIG HOUSE, directed by George W. Hill and starring Wallace Berry, Robert Montgomery, and Chester Morris, gave audiences their first experience of hearing prison doors slamming shut, tin cups clanking on mess-hall tables, and prisoners’ feet shuffling down corridors. Writer Frances Marion became the first female to win an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for this film. It was edited by Blanche Sewell (WIZARD OF OZ, QUEEN CHRISTINA). Widely recognized as the “parent of the prison film genre”, THE BIG HOUSE presents a realistic view of imprisonment, heightened by filming at San Quentin and served as a call for prison reform. The film also won an Oscar for Sound Recording.
HE’S ONLY MISSING is a short documentary that looks into the issue that families had to deal with during the Vietnam War regarding their “missing” soldiers. The strong narrative structure is supported by several interviews with government officials, yet the film is centered on revealing the filmmaker’s deeply personal insights on the issue. Smith emphasizes the “accepting the closest thing to reality” struggle that her family had to endure as well as questioning the government’s intentions in the closing minutes of the film. This film brings a highly personal perspective to the Vietnam War era and would be the first such examination in the National Film Registry.
PARIS IS BURNING, a documentary by Jennie Livingston, explores New York’s gay and transgender community in the mid to late 1980s. Prominent members of the drag scene including Pepper LaBeija, Dorian Corey, Anji Xtravaganza, and Willi Ninja are interviewed. Even as they hide behind wigs, fake eyelashes, glitter, and make up, most of them are searching for community and a sense of family in their lives to counter discrimination and rejection from their birth families. Livingston gave her subjects the honor of allowing them to lead their daily lives, and shows their struggles to survive. PARIS IS BURNING won numerous awards including the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Film, the Grand Jury Prize at the 1991 Sundance Film Festival, and the Cinema Eye Honors Legacy Award in January. It was included in the Sundance Collection screening for 2015.
FAST FOOD WOMEN documents the lives of women working in four fast food restaurants in Eastern Kentucky, with low wages and no benefits. Management is concerned with speedy production and good service, and subjects the workers to a fast-paced and inconsistent scheduling that makes it hard to earn a living – much less support a family after their husbands lose their jobs in the coal mines. This documentary manages to capture the good-natured humor of these women through their long hours and financial concerns. Even with today’s advances through computerizing and standardizations, FAST FOOD WOMEN reminds us that nothing much has changed in the fast food industry.
SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE is Nora Ephron’s directorial debut. Ephron charms her audience when a recently widowed man’s son calls a radio show in an attempt to find his father a partner. This film is considered to be a classic in romantic comedy and it was nominated for two Oscars: Best Writing – Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen and Best Music – Original Song in 1994. SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE marks Meg Ryan’s and Tom Hanks’ second on-screen collaboration – out of four total.
BOYS DON’T CRY, based on the short BOYS DON’T CRY, was written and directed by Kimberly Peirce. With its main theme about finding the courage to be who you truly are, the story is about female born Teena Brandon who adopts the male identity of Brandon Teena, and attempts to find himself and love in Nebraska. The film has outstanding performances from the cast. Hilary Swank won the Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role and Chloë Sevigny received a nomination for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. At the Golden Globes, in the same year, Swank won for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama and Sevigny was nominated for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture. This picture is a groundbreaking film addressing the issue of female masculinity.
WHAT WOMEN WANT marks Nancy Meyers’ producing and directing debut. Meyers is known for her entertaining plots in the romantic comedy genre. This story is about a chauvinistic executive who gains the ability to hear what women are actually thinking. Although the film is humorous, it raises serious matters about being a woman in the executive working world. The films’ body of work is highly regarded for its representation of the nature of women in transition.
LOST IN TRANSLATION is a heart-aching story between a faded movie star and a neglected young woman who form an unlikely bond after crossing paths in Tokyo. The film questions the meaning of life and apprehends longing for a connection. Filmed in Tokyo, it captures the refined tone of the place and compliments the moods of the story. Written and directed by Sofia Coppola, the film won an Oscar for Best Writing – Original Screenplay (2004) and received two nominations for Best Picture and Best Director. The film also broke the US territory and it received several awards for Best Foreign Film from the European Film Awards, German Film Awards, Guild of German Art House Cinemas, Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists, Toronto Film Critics Association Awards, Venice Film Festival, and many more.
MEAN GIRLS is considered to be an incredibly accurate portrayal of teenage life during high school. Not only is it an entertaining story, it also is a thoughtful reflection on female social cliques and the damaging effects they can have on young girls. The film is Tina Fey’s feature screenplay debut based on the book by Rosalind Wiseman. The film has a great ensemble cast of actors including Rachel McAdams, Amanda Seyfried, and Lacey Chabert. This teen comedy will forever be an audience favorite: many lines have entered the millennial lexicon, October 3 is celebrated as Mean Girls Day, and many women do wear pink on Wednesday!
THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA is based on the best-selling book written by Lauren Weisberger. Adapted for screen by Aline Brosh McKenna, it moves between complex and comic situations, and is an accurate portrayal of the high end fashion industry. In 2007, the film was nominated for two Oscars under the categories of Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role for Meryl Streep and Best Achievement in Costume Design. It also won a Golden Globe for Streep’s leading performance and got nominated for two Globes for Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical and for Emily Blunt’s Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture.
For more information about the filmmakers, click here.
2015 selections of the national film registry
In 2015, among chosen films with women involvement were Humoresque (1920), story by Fannie Hurst and written by Frances Marion, Our Daily Bread (1934) with scenario by Elizabeth Hill, The Story of Menstruation (1946) narrated by Gloria Blondell, Imitation of Life (1959) with story by Fannie Hurst and co-written by Eleanore Griffin, Portrait of Jason (1967) directed by Shirley Clarke, The Inner World of Aphasia (1968) written by Naomi Feil, Eadweard Muybridge, Zoopraxographer (1975) co-written and co-directed by Fay Andersen, and Sink or Swim (1990) written and directed by Su Friedrich.
2015 Nominations for the national film registry
Last year, WiFV nominated The Big House (1930), Fast Food Women (1992), He’s Only Missing (1978), Paris is Burning (1990), and Sleepless in Seattle (1993).
2014 SELECTIONS OF THE NATIONAL FILM REGISTRY
WIFV is delighted to announce that Moon Breath Beat (1980) directed by Lisze Bechtold, Shoes (1916) directed/produced by Lois Weber and written by Stella Wynne Herron, and Unmasked (1917) directed/written by Grace Cunard have been included in the 2014 selections by the Library of Congress.
Among other chosen films with women involvement were Down Argentine Way (1940) edited by Barbara McLean; The Dragon Painter (1919) co-written by Mary McNeil Fenollosa; Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986) co-produced by Jane Vickerilla; The Gang’s All Here (1943) co-written by Nancy Wintner; Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport (2000) produced by Cayce Callaway, Alicia Dwyer, and Deborah Oppenheimer; Little Big Man (1970) edited by Dede Allen; Rio Bravo (1959) co-written by Leigh Brackett; Rosemary’s Baby (1968) co-produced by Dona Holloway; Saving Private Ryan (1998) co-produced by Bonnie Curtis and Allison Lyon Segan; and State Fair (1945) adapted by Sonya Levien. Click here for a full list of films added to the registry in 2014.
2013 Selections of the national film registry
WIFV is pleased to announce that Martha Graham’s Dance Films have been included in the 2013 selections by the Library of Congress.
Among other chosen films with women involvement were Gilda (1946) produced by Virginia Van Upp; The Hole (1962) written by Faith Hubley and produced by Pat Byron; Pulp Fiction (1994) executive produced by Stacey Sher and edited by Sally Menke; The Right Stuff (1983) edited by Lisa Fruchtman; Roger & Me (1989) associate produced by Wendey Stanzler and edited by Jennifer Beman White; and A Virtuous Vamp (1919) co-written/co-produced by Anita Loos. Click here for a full list of films added to the registry in 2013.
2012 Selections of the National Film Registry
WIFV is honored to announce that A League of Their Own (1992) directed by Penny Marshall has been included in the 2012 selection by the Library of Congress.
Among other chosen films with women involvement we included Dirty Harry (1971) written by Rita M. Fink, The Matrix (1999) written/directed by Lana Wachowski and Andy Wachowski, One Survivor Remembers (1995) directed by Kary Antholis and written by Gerda Weissmann Klein, Samsara: Death and Rebirth in Cambodia (1990) directed by Ellen Bruno, and The Times of Harvey Milk (1984) written by Judith Coburn. Click here for a full list of films added to the registry in 2012.
2011 Selections of the National Film Registry
WIFV is delighted that Growing Up Female co-written and directed by Julia Reichert and Jim Klein has been included in the 2011 selections by the Library of Congress.
Other women-centric films added to the National Film Registry are Fake Fruit Factory (1986) by Chick Strand, Hester Street (1975) written and directed by Joan Micklin Silver and Norma Rae (1979). Click here for a full list of films added to the Registry in 2011.