Our focus is on telling a largely unknown story, that of the role and significance of women in film history. Film history as we know it is dominated by men. In the early days of film there was a relatively high proportion of women working in the industry. They disappeared with the rise of the talkies – and did not reappear until the 1970s, even though there were pioneers and individuals active during most decades. Quite simply, it is time to showcase these women, to accord the stories and professional competencies of women in Swedish film history their rightful place, and to take a closer look at films and contributions that have been forgotten, neglected – or perhaps written off by a male corps of critics.
Our ambition is to try to set the record straight by re-writing the history of moving pictures in the Nordic region from a feminist point of view, beginning in Sweden. We want to enrich film history, fill in gaps and allow more people to take part in creating that history in the future.
Who do you think should take their place in film history? Who has inspired you as a filmmaker? Get in touch and tell us: firstname.lastname@example.org
The illustrations (where no portrait images are available to us) are by Siri Hagerfors.
The History of Nordic Women’s Literature, a collected work in five volumes about Nordic women writers, provided the original inspiration for Nordic Women in Film. Tove Torbiörnsson, a documentary filmmaker, film commissioner and, at the time of her death in 2015, head of department at the Swedish Film Institute, was the initiator of the website. The initiative is part of the Film Institute’s work to promote equality.
Which women in film have name entries on the website?
Actors are not included, since we have focused on creative contributions behind the camera – primarily directors, producers, screenwriters, editors and cinematographers. We have also chosen individuals with a certain continuity and range in their activities, people who have worked on at least three films, whether shorts or features. Eventually we aim to include all professional categories, currently there are approx. 800 entries. We also aim to include all television productions, that now feature here by way of exception.
Up until now, the material on the site nordicwomeninfilm.com has been predominantly about the creative contributions of women in Swedish film. However, with our partners National Library of Norway and University of Copenhagen we are in the process (fall 2017) of starting to publish material about Norwegian and Danish women’s contributions to their respective film industries and film history. November 30 marks the debut of the new, truly Nordic site nordicwomeninfilm.com. The texts will be published in Norwegian and Danish, but a good number of key texts, biographical name entries and articles will also be published in English.
How do I search for information about a specific person?
There are currently around 700 women presented via name entries. In the search function you can specify a name, profession or specific year.
“Active” specifies a year for the first film. In certain cases this can be misleading, e.g. if a career might perhaps have begun earlier within television, which is not yet included.
Can I contribute?
Of course, and please do…! Both with tips about women you think ought to have a name entry, or if you wish to contribute more information about those who are already there. We are also happy to receive tips about any other material you would like to see on