TCM Celebrates Women's Contributions to The Film Industry With "Trailblazing Women" Initiative


TCM Announces Trailblazing Women Initiative Celebrating Women's Contribution To The Film Industry

Month-Long Programming Event Hosted by Illeana Douglas Begins Oct. 1 and Airs Every Tuesday & Thursday in October

Initiative Launches A Multi-Year Partnership with Women In Film, Los Angeles

Trailblazing WomenTurner Classic Movies (TCM) today announced Trailblazing Women, a multi-year initiative created to raise awareness about the historical contributions of women working behind the camera. The programming event, hosted by actress, producer and director Illeana Douglas, premieres October 1 and airs every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the entire month, and will shine a spotlight on cinema's greatest female filmmakers and women who challenged gender stereotypes while carving out successful careers in an industry where men hold the bulk of the power. 

The Trailblazing Women initiative marks a multi-year partnership between TCM and Women In Film (WIF), Los Angeles that will showcase the current gender gap in the film industry as statistics prove a lack of parity in positions behind the camera such as:

Men outnumbered women 23-to-1 as directors of the 1,300 top-grossing films since 2002

A 5–to-1 ratio of men working on films to women

15 percent of writers working in film are women

20 percent of editors are women

Only 2 percent of cinematographers are female

"The Trailblazing Women initiative allows us to take a deeper look at the role of women in our industry, shine a light on this timely and important topic and provide insight and resources to inspire more women filmmakers," said Jennifer Dorian, general manager of TCM. "We’re thrilled to be able to bring our audience this extensive programming event and provide tremendous insight about the contributions of female filmmakers."

"There are tremendous growth opportunities for women working behind the camera and by shining a spotlight on these talented Trailblazing Women, we hope to inspire change," said Kirsten Schaffer, WIF Executive Director. "We commend TCM for their leadership in supporting gender parity for female filmmakers and we are proud to partner with them."

The theme of the 2015 programming slate, Trailblazing Women: Behind the Camera, Ahead of Their Time, focuses on female directors and will showcase a variety of filmmakers from the early days of cinema through modern times with more than 50 films being shown. Joining Douglas as co-hosts will be:

Director Allison Anders will discuss "Independent Classics" including Claudia Weill’s Girlfriends (1978) and Martha Coolidge’s Valley Girl (1983).

Director Julie Dash will focus on "African-American Independents," including her own film, Daughters of The Dust (1991).

Director Connie Field will discuss "Essential Documentaries," including her own documentary, The Life And Times Of Rosie The Riveter (1980).

Director Amy Heckerling will co-host two nights discussing "The 1980s: A Step Forward," including her own film, Look Who’s Talking (1989) and "The 1990s: Mainstream Hits," including A League of Their Own (1992) and The Prince of Tides (1991).

President of Women in Film Los Angeles Cathy Schulman will take a look at "A New Generation," including Sarah Polley’s Away From Her (2006), Sofia Coppola’s Virgin Suicides (1999) and Kathryn Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker (2008).

Film expert Cari Beauchamp will co-host three nights highlighting "Early Pioneers," including showing Alice Guy-Blach shorts, "The Studio Era" through the 1970s including Dorothy Arzner’s Dance, Girl Dance (1940) and "International Breakthroughs," including Agns Varda’s Cleo From 5 To 7 (1962) and Lina Wertmller's Love and Anarchy (1973).

"Trailblazing Women will showcase a variety of women and their work behind the camera, and run the gamut of film history from its beginnings through to the modern day," said Charles Tabesh, senior vice president of programming for TCM. "We are excited to be able to bring audiences this comprehensive programming initiative that will highlight the impact of female filmmakers throughout history and encourage future female filmmakers."

For a complete programming schedule and to learn more about Trailblazing Women please visit:

Illeana Douglas Bio
Award winning actress Illeana Douglas is a hit with critics and moviegoers alike. Current films include Peter Bogdanovich’s She’s Funny That Way (2015), All Stars (2014) Sisters (2014) with Barbara Hershey, Max Rose (2013) with Jerry Lewis, and Chez Upshaw with Kevin Pollak (2012), for which Douglas won the LA IFS Best Actress Award, and The Green (2012) for which Douglas won best supporting actress at the San Diego Gay and Lesbian Film Festival. Illeana first came to prominence as Matt Dillon’s suspicious sister in Gus Van Sant’s To Die For (1995), for which she was a New York Film Critics award nominee. Other memorable performances are Goodfellas (1991) Cape Fear (1993) Alive (1993) Search and Destroy (1995) Grief (1995) Grace of My Heart (1996)) Picture Perfect (1997), Message in a Bottle (1999) Happy, Texas (1999), Stir of Echoes (1999), The Next Best Thing (2000), Ghost World (2001) Dummy (2003), Factory Girl (2006), Pittsburgh (2006) Notable television movies are Rough Riders, Bella Mafia, Weapons of Mass Distraction (1998-1999) Lansky, (2000) Point of Origin (2001). Illeana has a recurring role on the hit NBC show Welcome to Sweden now in it’s second season. (2014-2015) Welcome to Sweden is a Swedish/American comedy shot in Sweden and produced by Amy Poehler. She guest starred on Maron for IFC (2013) Grey’s Anatomy (2013) and Lifetimes Drop Dead Diva. (2012-2013), Entourage and Six Feet Under, which earned her an Emmy nomination for her portrayal of Angela. Illeana starred as Wendy Ward in Action (1999-2000) Additionally, she has been featured in recurring and guest-star roles in Law & Order: SVU, Law & Order, Ugly Betty, The Drew Carey Show, Frazier, Seinfeld, and The Larry Sanders Show.  Illeana’s hit web series Easy To Assemble has been downloaded over 40 million times and has been called, “The most successful branded show of all time” by Ad-Week. Easy to Assemble features Jeff Goldblum, Kevin Pollak, Jane Lynch, Cheri Oteri, Patricia Heaton, Tim Meadows, Daryl Sabara, Tom Arnold, Fred Willard, Roger Bart, Justine Bateman and spawned a spin-off Sparhusen which starred Keanu Reeves.  Easy To Assemble has won six Webby Awards (2010-2013) for Best Performance, Best Writing, and Best Branded Series. Sparhusen won a Webby Award for Best Short Comedy.  Easy to Assemble won two Streamy Awards for Best Ensemble Cast in a Web Series and Best Product Integration. The 2010 BANFF Outstanding Online Performance Award, the 2010 NAPTE Digital Luminary Award and the Innovator Award at the 2010 Independent Television Festival. Illeana began her career as a stand up comedian and sketch performer at Stand Up New York and The Manhattan Punchline. While working for a New York film publicist, Douglas was asked to dub screams and provide additional dialogue for Martin Scorsese’s The Last Temptation of Christ (1988). This led to a long association with Scorsese, acting in New York Stories (1989), Goodfellas (1990) and Cape Fear (1991) and developing and co-producing for Cappa Productions Search and Destroy (1995) and Grace of My Heart (1996) While working for Martin Scorsese’s company Cappa she developed Bedlam, and The Lost Army. With his encouragement she also began writing and directing. Her first effort, The Perfect Woman (1993), won Best Short at Aspen Shorts Fest and was a nominee for a Cable Ace Award. It was later sold to Miramax. Everybody Just Stay Calm (1994), was a documentary made for IFC about the comedic trials of independent filmmaking which starred Scorsese, Ang Lee, David O.Russel, Kevin Smith, and many other filmmakers.  Boy Crazy, Girl Crazier (1996) and the television pilot Confessions of a Movie Lover were also made for Bravo and IFC. She wrote, directed, produced, and starred in Devil Talk, Supermarket, and Illeanarama, which have played, in numerous festivals and on the Sundance Channel. Supermarket was nominated for a regional Emmy and later developed into Illeanarama for the Oxygen Network. She developed and produced and starred in Celebrity Garage Sale (2009) for A&E. She was executive producer on the film Life Without Dick (2002) starring Sarah Jessica Parker and wrote and produced the short Soulmates (2011), which aired on Lifetime.  She Co-produced the documentary Kingdom Come (2013) and is a producer on Chez Upshaw (2012) as well as the web-series The Skinny (2015)

Her first book I Blame Dennis Hopper- published by Flatiron is out Nov 3 and is available for pre order at

Allison Anders Bio
Allison Anders is an award-winning film and television writer and director.  She attended UCLA film school and in 1984 had her first professional break working for her film mentor Wim Wenders on his movie Paris, Texas (1984). After graduation, Anders had her first film debut, Border Radio (1987), which she co-wrote and co-directed with Kurt Voss. The influential indie film examined the Los Angeles punk scene in the 1980s and went on to be nominated by the Independent Feature Project for Best First Feature, and it recently had its TCM premiere. Anders and Voss would partner again on Sugar Town (1999), another film about the Los Angeles music industry, starring several of their friends, including the lead singer of X, John Doe. Sugar Town was also nominated for two Independent Spirit Awards.  

Julie Dash Bio
Twenty-four years ago, filmmaker Julie Dash broke through racial and gender boundaries with her Sundance award-winning film (Best Cinematography) Daughters of the Dust, and she became the first African American woman to have a wide theatrical release of her feature film. In 2004, The Library of Congress placed Daughters of the Dust in the National Film Registry where it joins a select group of American films preserved and protected as national treasures; Dash is the only African American woman with a feature film that has been inducted into the National Film Registry.

Connie Field Bio
Emmy Winning and Academy Award nominated director Connie Field has made a number of high profile documentaries that have been shown all over the world. She just finished "Al Helm: Martin Luther King in Palestine” which won the Justice Matters Award  at the DC Film Festival and the Emmy Winning series “Have You Heard From Johannesburg" on the global movement that ended Apartheid in South Africa.  And some of her previous work includes the Academy Award nominated "Freedom on My Mind" a history of the civil rights movement in Mississippi: the feminist classic “The Life and Times of Rosie the Riveter” which is in The Library of Congress in the National Film Registry where it joins a select group of American films preserved and protected as national treasures;  She has won numerous other awards including the Sundance Grand Jury Prize, British Academy Award Nominee, Best Series, and Best Feature Documentary from numerous festivals, as well as having her films listed as the Best Doc of the Year or One of the Ten Best Films of the Year by a number of film critics.  Her work has been broadcast in over 30 countries and  on PBS. She is the recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim grant, and is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture, Arts and Sciences.  Her films are avaialble at

Amy Heckerling Bio
Amy Heckerling was born in the Bronx, NY, in a hospital that was torn down, lived in an apartment building that was torn down, and went to a public school that was torn down. Amy divided her time between watching James Cagney movies on TV and watching The Three Stooges on TV. Her AFI short got her into Universal, where she directed "Fast Times at Ridgemont High", followed by Johnny Dangerously and European Vacation.

Her daughter Mollie was born weeks later and has just graduated from the Tisch School of the Arts.

After raising Mollie to almost two years old, Amy wrote and directed, "Look Who's Talking," "Look Who's Talking too," "Clueless," "I Could Never Be Your Woman," “Vamps,” and produced, "A Night at the Roxbury," Executive Produced, wrote, and directed episodes of the T.V. series of "Clueless" and "Fast Times," and directed episodes of "The Office,” “Gossip Girl,” “The Carrie Diaries,” and “Red Oaks.”

Cathy Schulman Bio
Academy Award® winner Cathy Schulman is a veteran producer and film executive. She is currently Head of Production at STX Entertainment, the recently founded studio known to be lean and innovative with deep relationships in China. Growing at breakneck speed, among STX’s first slate of films to be released are THE GIFT (August 2015), directed by Joel Edgerton and starting Edgerton, Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall, SECRET IN THEIR EYES (October 2015), directed by Billy Ray and starring Julia Roberts, Nicole Kidman and Chiwetel Ejiofor and FREE STATE OF JONES (March, 2016), directed by Gary Ross and starring Matthew McConaughey. Active in the industry, Schulman is the President of Women In Film, Los Angeles, a Board Member of Film Independent and has served as a Council Member of the Producers Guild of America.  She is also a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, a USC Stark Program producer's mentor and teaches graduate level film producing at UCLA and the Dodge College of Film Media and Arts at Chapman University, where she was recently awarded an Honorary Doctorate. 

Cari Beauchamp Bio
Cari Beauchamp is an award-winning writer and documentary filmmaker. She is the author of Without Lying Down: Frances Marion and the Powerful Women of Early Hollywood; Joseph P. Kennedy Presents: His Hollywood Years and other film history books. Her anthology, My First Time in Hollywood: Stories from the Pioneers, Dreamers and Misfits who Made the Movies, was published in the summer of 2015. Her books have been selected for “Best of the Year” lists byThe New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Booklist and Amazon.

About Women in Film (WIF)
Women In Film (WIF) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting equal opportunities for women, encouraging creative projects by women, and expanding and enhancing portrayals of women in all forms of global media. Given that women comprise fifty percent of the population, WIF’s ultimate goal is to see the same gender parity reflected on and off screen. Founded in 1973, WIF focuses on advocacy and education, provides scholarships, grants and film finishing funds and works to preserve the legacies of all women working in the entertainment community.

About Turner Classic Movies (TCM)
Turner Classic Movies (TCM) is a Peabody Award-winning network that presents great films, uncut and commercial-free, from the largest film libraries in the world. TCM, which is available in more than 85 million homes, features the insights of hosts Robert Osborne and Ben Mankiewicz, plus interviews with a wide range of special guests. Currently in its 21st year as a leading authority in classic film, TCM offers critically acclaimed original documentaries and specials; film series like The Essentials hosted by Robert Osborne and Sally Field, and Spotlight; and annual programming events like 31 Days of Oscar® in February, Summer Under the Stars in August and TCM Movie Camp during the summer. TCM also connects with movie fans through such events as the annual TCM Classic Film Festival in Hollywood and the TCM Classic Cruise, as well as through the TCM Classic Film Tour in New York City and Los Angeles. In addition, TCM produces a wide range of media about classic film, including books and DVDs, and hosts a wealth of material online at and through the Watch TCM mobile app.

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