Woman 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.
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
- 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
- The Devil Wears Prada (2003) – screenplay by Aline Brosh McKenna
- Lost in Translation (2003) – written/directed by Sofia Coppola
- Mean Girls (2004) – screenplay by Tina Fey
- 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
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 slam 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 – also served as a call for prison reform. The film won an Oscar for Sound Recording.
Sleepless in Seattle took part in Nora Ephron’s directorial debut in the romantic comedies of the 1990s. Ephron charms her audience with a recently widowed man’s son that calls a radio talk-show in an attempt to find his father a partner. Not only is the plot eventful, but it also carries within it themes of life and love. This film is considered to be a classic in the long list of romantic comedies as it was nominated for two Oscars for Best Writing – Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen and for Best Music – Original Song in 1994. Sleepless in Seattle marks Meg Ryan’s and Tom Hanks’ second on-screen collaboration – out of four in total.
Boys Don’t Cry is based on the short Boys Don’t Cry, also written and directed by Kimberly Peirce. The feature debuted Peirce’s directing career and it was highly appraised by different audiences from all around the world. With its main theme being about finding the courage to be who you truly are, the story is about female born Teena Brandon who adopts his male identity of Brandon Teena, and attempts to find himself and love in Nebraska. The film has outstanding performances from the cast. Indeed, it won an Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role for Hilary Swank as it also received a nomination for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for Chloë Sevigny in 2000. 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.
What Women Want is a fully hands-on film by Nancy Meyers as she wore the hats of producing and directing for the first time during this feature. Meyers is known for her entertaining plots in the romantic comedy world. This story is about a chauvinistic executive that gains the ability to hear what women are really thinking. Although the film is a humorous fiction, it raises matters regarding what it takes to be a woman in the working world at the higher end of society. It is consistent in looking for women in transition. The film is one of those amusing yet significant-concept stories to keep in mind – all of Meyer’s ingenious writing. She was nominated for an Oscar under the Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen category for “Private Benjamin” in 1981.
The Devil Wears Prada is based on the best-selling book written by Lauren Weisberger. Adapted by Aline Brosh McKenna, it brings the characters to life on the big screen and ties them into the story of a young woman that gets hired as a personal assistant to one of the most powerful fashion magazine editors in New York City. Intertwined between complex and comic situations, the story is an accurate portrayal of the fashion industry’s image on its high end. McKenna emerges in the romantic comedy era as one of the leading screenwriters in the early 2000s. 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.
Lost in Translation is a heart-aching story between a faded movie star and a neglected young woman that form an unlikely bond after crossing paths in Tokyo. The film questions the meanings of life and tempts longing for a connection. It was beautifully shot in the Japanese capital, capturing the refined tone of the place and complementing the moods of the story. Written and directed by the amazingly talented and young Sofia Coppola, the film won her an Oscar for Best Writing – Original Screenplay in 2004 as well as it got her two nominations for Best Picture and Best Director. Since the beginning of the Academy Awards until now, there have only been four women to get nominated as Best Director – making Coppola one of them. The film broke the U.S. boundaries as it is highly recognized on an international scale.
Mean Girls is considered to be the most accurate portrayal of teenage life during the high school era. It is not only an entertaining story but also a thoughtful reflection on female social cliques and the damaging effects they can have on young girls. The film is Tina Fey’s first feature screenplay based on the book by Rosalind Wiseman. Adding to the story’s events, Fey’s writing marks the Millenial generation with memorable lines. The film has a great ensemble cast of young rising actresses including Rachel McAdams, Amanda Seyfried, and Lacy Chabert. This teen comedy will forever be an audience favorite.
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. Although it has a strong narrative structure supported by several interviews with government men, the film gets away with revealing the filmmaker’s deeply personal insights on the issue. She emphasizes the “accepting the closest thing to reality” struggle that her family had to endure as well as questions the government’s intentions in the last couple of minutes of the film. It is considered to be highly valuable amongst historical documented films as it has screened in March 2015 by the DC Public Library in honor of Women’s History Month.
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’s 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.
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.