I was recently asked to cull a comprehensive list of sources that have served as inspiration, or enhanced my investigations. Here’s a condensed version of my final collection.
Reel Women: Pioneers of the Cinema, 1896 to the Present Ally Acker
Expansive guide of the women who pioneered the art and craft of filmmaking. The revised edition (published in 2001) extends where it left off showing that women are very much a part of today’s Hollywood. A more recent update (published in 2010) promises to continue introducing stellar female filmmakers. There’s also an accompanying documentary series available on DVD.
Blank City documentary
First time filmmaker Celine Danhier has helped create a really fantastic record of the No Wave Cinema. Balanced by archival footage and well conducted interviews, the film involves the audience in this moment in time while also inciting new threads to known stories. Thanks to Netflix streaming, I can revisit it often and seem to note something new each time.
Shooting to Kill Christine Vachon and David Edelstein
Birds-eye view to the production pipeline for an independent film. Part journal, part production booklet, it manages to entertain while showcasing the creative and business concerns of making a film. Reading through this felt as if I was actively going along each step of the process. Near ten years later Vachon followed with a more personal account A Killer Life: How an Independent Film Producer Survives Deals and Disasters in Hollywood and Beyond, which is equally engaging.
Brain Pickings website
Meticulously curated by Maria Popova, the site serves as a cornucopia of creative resources. Inspiring and informative, the myriad of books, profiles, sites and concepts cover a seemingly impossible gamut. I often reference BP when looking to expand my knowledge of art making (both examples and origins). Or spend a fun afternoon getting lost in a curiosity-feeding labyrinth. Quoting Maria herself: “Brain Pickings is a human-powered discovery engine for interestingness, culling and curating cross-disciplinary curiosity-quenchers”.