TCM Announces Trailblazing Women Initiative Celebrating Women’s Contribution To The Film Industry


Turner Classic Movies (TCM) today announced Trailblazing Women, a multi-year initiative created to raise awareness about the historical contributions of women working behind the camera. The programming event, hosted by actress, producer and director Illeana Douglas, premieres October 1 and airs every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the entire month, and will shine a spotlight on cinema's greatest female filmmakers and women who challenged gender stereotypes while carving out successful careers in an industry where men hold the bulk of the power. 

The Trailblazing Women initiative marks a multi-year partnership between TCM and Women In Film (WIF), Los Angeles that will showcase the current gender gap in the film industry as statistics prove a lack of parity in positions behind the camera such as:

  • Men outnumbered women 23-to-1 as directors of the 1,300 top-grossing films since 2002
  • A 5–to-1 ratio of men working on films to women
  • 15 percent of writers working in film are women
  • 20 percent of editors are women
  • Only 2 percent of cinematographers are female

"The Trailblazing Women initiative allows us to take a deeper look at the role of women in our industry, shine a light on this timely and important topic and provide insight and resources to inspire more women filmmakers," said Jennifer Dorian, general manager of TCM. "We’re thrilled to be able to bring our audience this extensive programming event and provide tremendous insight about the contributions of female filmmakers."

"There are tremendous growth opportunities for women working behind the camera and by shining a spotlight on these talented Trailblazing Women, we hope to inspire change," said Kirsten Schaffer, WIF Executive Director. "We commend TCM for their leadership in supporting gender parity for female filmmakers and we are proud to partner with them."

The theme of the 2015 programming slate, Trailblazing Women: Behind the Camera, Ahead of Their Time, focuses on female directors and will showcase a variety of filmmakers from the early days of cinema through modern times with more than 50 films being shown. Joining Douglas as co-hosts will be:

Director Allison Anders will discuss "Independent Classics" including Claudia Weill’s Girlfriends (1978) and Martha Coolidge’s Valley Girl (1983).

Director Julie Dash will focus on "African-American Independents," including her own film, Daughters of The Dust (1991).

Director Connie Field will discuss "Essential Documentaries," including her own documentary, The Life And Times Of Rosie The Riveter (1980).

Director Amy Heckerling will co-host two nights discussing "The 1980s: A Step Forward," including her own film, Look Who’s Talking (1989) and "The 1990s: Mainstream Hits," including A League of Their Own (1992) and The Prince of Tides (1991).

President of Women in Film Los Angeles Cathy Schulman will take a look at "A New Generation," including Sarah Polley’s Away From Her (2006), Sofia Coppola’s Virgin Suicides (1999) and Kathryn Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker (2008).

Film expert Cari Beauchamp will co-host three nights highlighting "Early Pioneers," including showing Alice Guy-Blaché shorts, "The Studio Era" through the 1970s including Dorothy Arzner’s Dance, Girl Dance (1940) and "International Breakthroughs," including Agnès Varda’s Cleo From 5 To 7 (1962) and Lina Wertmüller's Love and Anarchy (1973).

"Trailblazing Women will showcase a variety of women and their work behind the camera, and run the gamut of film history from its beginnings through to the modern day," said Charles Tabesh, senior vice president of programming for TCM. "We are excited to be able to bring audiences this comprehensive programming initiative that will highlight the impact of female filmmakers throughout history and encourage future female filmmakers."

For a complete programming schedule and to learn more about Trailblazing Women please visit:

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