Alice Guy Blaché Wins Director’s Guild of America Award for Lifetime Achievement

“The Directors Guild of America is proud to bestow a Special Directorial Award for Lifetime Achievement upon pioneering filmmaker Alice Guy Blaché in recognition of her groundbreaking career as the first female filmmaker and the first filmmaker to develop narrative filmmaking.

Alice Guy Blaché (1873-1968) was an innovative and groundbreaking director who until recently has been recognized only by film buffs and film historians as the first female director and the first woman to own and run her own film studio.  Guy Blaché began her career in France at the Gaumont Company, where as office manager, she persuaded the owner of the company to let her use a 60-mm motion picture camera he was developing to direct a one-minute film in 1896.  Later, Guy Blaché became head of film production for the Gaumont Company and moved to the United States in 1907, where she and her husband founded Solax, eventually building a film studio in Fort Lee, New Jersey.  Over the course of her career, Guy Blaché directed, wrote, supervised and/or produced more than 1,000 films of all lengths and genres.

Among her most impressive accomplishments, Guy Blaché was one of the first filmmakers to pioneer the idea of using film as a narrative device.  She also made more than 100 films using a synchronized sound system between 1902 and 1906 – decades before sound became de rigeur in motion pictures.

Although Guy Blaché was recognized in her home country of France in 1955 with the Legion d’honneur, her work has remained largely unseen.  In fact, only about 130 of the more than 1,000 films she made have been found, including just a handful of her feature-length films, leaving this pioneer of cinema regretfully unknown.  It is the hope and intention of the DGA that this award will both honor her work and help raise awareness of her impressive accomplishments.” from DGA

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