Amanda Pendolino
August 14, 2013

‘Be Natural,’ Story of First Female Director, Seeks Funds on Kickstarter

Alice Guy-Blaché is one of the most influential directors in the history of cinema — but nobody’s heard of her.

Why not?

The new documentary Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blache is hoping to find out more about the film icon. Inspired by the Lumière Brothers’ invention of the Cinématographe, the first reliable system to project moving images, Alice made her first film in 1896.

Check out the video from the Be Natural Kickstarter campaign:

She made one of the first films ever with a close-up, created synchronized sound films as early as 1902, was in good part responsible for the birth and growth of the Gaumont film studio in Paris, France, which she ran for almost a decade (1897-1907), and in 1910, she founded, built, and ran her own studio, Solax, first in Flushing, New York, then in Fort Lee, New Jersey (not far from where Edison and D.W. Griffith worked). She was a wife and a mother. She wrote, directed, or produced more than a 1,000 films over her 20-year-long career.

Filmmakers Pamela Green and Jarik van Sluijs have already undertaken two years of research to find out what happened to Alice. A number of Hollywood heavyweights are also supporting the film, including executive producer Robert Redford and narrator Jodie Foster.

The filmmakers have already anticipated your skeptical question: if so many powerful Hollywood people are involved, can’t they get the money through traditional Hollywood channels? Here’s their answer:

Sadly, this is not the type of project that easily gets traditional Hollywood funding, nor is it the type of film that qualifies for most of the typical educational grants. Hollywood funding doesn’t usually go into beautifully made documentaries; educational grants don’t allow for this kind of ambition and entertainment value. This is a passion project for all of us involved, and it is through passion that we’ve been able to pull the favors from those in the industry so far.

As of this writing, Be Natural has made $37,238 of its $200,000 goal, with 13 days to go. Let’s help them get over the hump and educate the world about this influential female director! Maybe it can help to inspire more young female directors — since the film industry is in desperate need of them.