This collaboration between Northeast Historic Film, the Chicago Film Archives, and the Lesbian Home Movie Project aims to bring to life home movies and amateur film and video made by women in the 20th century, and to make this material accessible online and to researchers.

The Woman Behind the Camera project was made possible by a generous grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR).  It includes 58 collections of film and video shot by women filmmakers, and represents over 300 hours of unique footage. Over the the project’s two year period we were able to digitize and describe the material, make digital copies available for viewing online, and provide finding aids for those interested in learning more about the films and the filmmakers who made them. The digital copies are available on this website and on the original institution’s webpages.

The project is an important effort to highlight these women-made films, and to challenge the notion that women were simply the subjects of home movies and amateur film, rather than filmmakers themselves.  The films nominated for digitization, each created by a female amateur filmmaker active in the twentieth century, are diverse in subject matter and provenance. They document families and friends and include the travels, home lives, interests, and some significant moments in each woman’s history.