About

Poster for WSS III held in Montreal in 2004

Poster for WSS III held in Montreal in 2004

The WSS conference was first held in Utrecht in 1999, and later iterations have convened in Santa Cruz (2001), Montréal (2004), Guadalajara (2006), Stockholm (2008), Bologna (2010), and Melbourne (2013). WSS conferences have produced a number of important scholarly publications, including a special issue of the journal Film History and two important anthologies: Not So Silent: Women in Cinema Before Sound (Stockholm University 2010) and Researching Women in Silent Cinema: New Findings and Perspectives (University of Bologna 2013). The WSS conferences are also closely aligned with a series of monographs on women and early cinema published by University of Illinois Press, a series that takes its name, Women and Film History International, from the executive organization that coordinates the WSS conferences. These conferences have been deeply connected to the production of a massive and evolving on-line resource on women working in the international film industry before the standardization of synchronized sound, The Women Film Pioneers Project at Columbia University. Despite over two decades of published scholarship, it is astonishing that so few people (including many film historians) have yet to realize the sheer number and importance of women producers, directors, screenwriters, cinematographers, editors, and art directors who worked in the international film industries prior to the mid-1930s. The scholars who research in these areas remain dedicated to transforming standard and received versions of various local, national, and international production histories in which women mainly figure as stars, actresses, and below-the-line credits in costuming and continuity.