Filmmak-Her, an exhibition about women in film, combining the seventh art with the art of illustration

Parma, Italy,

Exhibition, Design,

16 October saw the opening of Filmmak-Her, an exhibition paying tribute to women filmmakers through illustration. The association 24FPS asked nine Italian women illustrators to portray twenty-four female filmmakers – from Alice Guy-Blaché to Laura Samani – painting not only their faces, but their poetics, their careers, and the political and social transformations that affected those women and their works, both of which played a key role in "two of the greatest revolutions of the twentieth century, the revolution in images and the revolution of women".

Filmmak-Her, an exhibition about women in film, combining the seventh art with the art of illustration

"You can’t just do this job because you are a man, or because you are a woman. You do it because you have talent," said Lina Wertmüller, who died less than a year ago, aware of her position: in 1977 she became the first female candidate for an Oscar as best director. And despite the enormous contribution women have made to the history of film, only seven more women have been nominated for the award since then.

This is the context of the exhibition entitled Filmmak-Her, inaugurated by the association 24FPS in the CUBO – Contenitore Creativo exhibition space in Parma, Italy. Curators Vanessa Mangiavacca, Maria Giorgia Pinotti and Michele Belmessieri talk about the goals of the project, which combines film with illustration in a process of expressive signification of contemporary reality. Filmmak-Her was held to "express the contribution women have made and continue to make to the seventh art over the course of the hundred-and-twenty-five-year history of film, drawing attention to and encouraging future study and research in an area that has not been widely studied and encouraging multidisciplinary women’s studies". The curators appointed illustrators with very different styles and stories with the task of telling the public about "the poetics of the women directors and their careers in a century of political and social transformation, beginning with two of the greatest revolutions of the twentieth century, the revolution of images and the women’s revolution".

The exhibition, open every day, will be hosting a series of events and meetings – workshops, conferences, screenings – to investigate the issues addressed, such as the filmmakers’ lives and work. Sofia Coppola, Alice Rohrwacher, Elvira Notari, Greta Gerwig, Vera Chytilova and Julia Ducournau are only a few of the twenty-four selected names that will be on exhibit until 16 November. The graphic representations of the filmmakers capture the atmosphere of their films, their personalities, and the particular interpretation that each of the nine illustrators brought to the project. The illustrations are completed with inspired quotes, biographies and a variety of content enriching and deepening the vision offered by the exhibition. Not just graphics, but words, like those of Barbara Hammer, illustrated for 24FPS and Filmmak-her by Maria Giulia Chistolini: "Trust yourself, your intuition, your desires and your pursuits. Don't question yourself too much. Place one foot ahead of the other and go forward steadily. No one will understand as you do the work, the art, you are making - so no need to look for audience approval or ratings".

Talking to the illustrators, it appears clear that they share a common sentiment of gratitude to the women they portrayed and the organisers of the exhibition, because the experience allowed them to explore and discover cultural dimensions that have so far been little investigated, expressing their synthesis in contemporary reality. Laura Fusco, for example, says that before this project, she had never reflected on women’s participation in the world of filmmaking: "I would actually have had trouble coming up with the name of more than one woman filmmaker. Opening up to a new kind of view, realising how many and which women there are out there, working in a field that is almost exclusively male, has filled me with pride and restored a little bit of hope".

In the hopes that the exhibition will attract the international attention it deserves, we thank the association 24FPS, which protects this project focusing on the role of strong women in film. Enjoy the show!

Francesco Cibati

All images courtesy of 24FPS

Illustrations by: Elenia Beretta, Isabella Bersellini, ALESSIA E BRUNO (Alessia Bevilacqua), Mara Cerri, Maria Giulia Chistolini, Laura Fusco, Daniela Goffredo, Andy McFly (Simona Iamonte) and Monica Lasagni
Curated by Michele Belmessieri, Vanessa Mangiavacca, M. Giorgia Pinotti
With the collaboration of
Casa delle donne Parma, Women in Film, Television & Media Italia, Scintille Bookclub, Centro Cinema Lino Ventura, Parma 360° - Circuito Off, Fondazione Matteo Bagnaresi Onlus.



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