Issues of power and race in film studies are generally discussed through the finished products (films) and the relation to their contexts. By contrast, this article explores such issues by concentrating on the process of production of the author’s film “Lili”, which focuses on so- called China girls. These are images of Caucasian women used in cinema history to calibrate the colours of the camera. Based on practice-based research, the author questions the construction of the white-centricity of the photographic media, which, as stated by film scholar Richard Dyer, already assume, privilege and construct whiteness. Firstly, the relation between skin complexion, cinematography and gender is problematized in the tradition of China girls. Next, this tradition is presented as an example of a chromophobic tendency in Western culture, which, as described by anthropologist Michael Taussig and artist David Batchelor, is rooted in the West’s uneasiness with colour, and its connotations with the so- called primitive. The author then unravels the process of production of “Lili”, which mixes fictional and documentary codes, constructing a fictional voice-over, which blends with archival images and re-enactment. The film thus offers to set in motion the normative powers of technological development resonating a critique on chromophobia in Western culture.
Keywords: China girls, chromophobia, white-centricity, practice-based research, documentary film
My film “Lili” is inspired by the cinematography lessons I followed in film school. The professor of lighting techniques once asked the female student with the lightest and softest complexion to serve side by side with a colour bar. Her skin complexion was used as a reference key to balance the colours on the wave-form monitor. Why it had to be a woman, and why the skin had to be Caucasian, was laughed away by the professor: “This is the best way to key the images”, was his only explanation. It appears to be a striking example of a common practice in film history, oddly named China girls. Cinema historian Brian Winston asserts that this tradition is an example that the research agenda for colour film (and colour television) was dominated by the need to reproduce Caucasian skin tones (Winston 1996). Yet this is implicitly denied by the rhetoric surrounding colour film ‘in favor of a stress on naturalness, realism and verisimilitude’ (p.42).
This article questions such white-centricity of the photographic media by discussing the practice-based research of my film “Lili”, which deals with the tradition of China girls. Firstly, the relation between skin complexion, cinematography and gender in the tradition of China girls is problematized (Monaghan 2014; Yue 2012 later published as Yue 2015). Next, this tradition is presented as an example of a chromophobic tendency in Western culture, which, as stated by anthropologist Michael Taussig and artist David Batchelor (Taussig 2009; Batchelor 2011(2000)), is rooted in the West’s uneasiness with (vivid) colour, and its connotations with the so-called primitive. Then the production process of my film “Lili” is examined to unravel how it sets in motion the (ideologically) normative powers of technological development and the way this resonates with a critique on chromophobia in Western culture.
The anecdote of my film school refers to the tradition of so-called China Girls. China Girls or leader ladies or Girl heads or Lilies have been used in cinema history since the 1920s to calibrate the colours of the camera and to control the quality of the print. The visual format is quite simple: a woman is filmed with colour-grading cards. This image is then edited within the reel leader of the film, addressing the technicians who use these colour-timing strips to create visual continuity between shots and scenes filmed in different lighting conditions or on different film stocks. Differences in film characteristics, camera exposure, printing exposure and processing must all be accommodated, and images of China Girls are used for this purpose. These images only take 3 to 5 frames and, therefore, given the standard speed of celluloid at 24 frames per second, these images pass by very quickly2.
There is little literature about this tradition, mainly because China Girls are part of the normally hidden conventions of cinema technology (Monaghan 2014; Roth 2009: Yue 2012a later published as Yue 2015). China Girls form a lacuna: ‘The China girl figures as an aporia within film history, lending a face to the aspects of film that are quite literally behind the scenes, from the processes of laboratory production to the cataloging of film archival material’ (Yue 2012a: 2). That is precisely why some experimental filmmakers have used China Girls as subjects of their films. Yue assembled a program of films for which she describes the role of China Girls as ‘the enigmatic icon of a vanishing medium’ (Yue 2012b). Examples are Morgan Fisher’s “Standard Gauge” (1984); Owen Land (formerly known as George Landow) “Film in which there appear sprocket holes, edge lettering, dirt particles, etc.” (1956/66); Michelle Silva’s “China Girls” (2006) and Brian L. Frye’s “Nadja” (2000).
Nevertheless, few authors (except Yue 2012a-2015; Roth 2009) have mentioned the problematic factor that the women – although referred to as Chinese -, were almost always white or Caucasian. The Caucasian skin is used as a reference for the grading of camera and printing, ultimately excluding people of colour, as they do not conform to this implicit norm. The China Girls practice started in the 1920s, but is still in use to this date, each time reintroduced in new technologies. When releasing its Photoshop software, Adobe used a white-looking woman as a reference key for colour grading (Roth 2009: 123). Very problematic about this tradition is the fact that it is hidden deep in the confinements of the technological processes of cinema. Furthermore, the reference to China has no relation to the country, but refers to porcelain and to the whiteness of that material, hence accentuating the whiteness of the tradition of China Girls. Yue explains: ‘Given the fact that nearly all China Girls in western countries are racially white, the notion of the China girl as presenting an “ideal” skin tone is conflated rather problematically with whiteness. The idea that one single skin tone can be representative for all others speaks to the degree to which whiteness is perceived as natural, ubiquitous, and to a great extent, invisible or inconspicuous, like the China Girl herself’ (Yue 2012a: 10).
Another problematic aspect of the tradition of China Girls is the construction of gender, with the tricky power relation to cameramen. Yue confirms that the reference to China has an orientalist connotation ‘which privileges a woman’s subordinate, submissiveness behavior, qualities that would be useful for the technological function the image serves’ (Yue 2012a: 2). As such, this convention underscores the position of women as inferior, and as objects of the male gaze. Even the consistent use of “Girls” instead of women can be considered as belittling or patronizing. Film historian Peter Monaghan discovered that film technicians and projectionists obsessively collected images of China Girls that were used as pinups on the projection-booth walls (Monaghan 2014). This habit of collecting the images of China Girls indicates that technicians regarded these images as alluring or even arousing. There is no factual reason why a young woman needed to be in front of the camera, other than the wish of cameramen to prefer working with/looking at women. The women were no celebrities nor aspiring actresses but rather co-workers or friends of film technicians. Additionally, these women posed in a very glamorous fashion, mimicking ‘the representational codes of commercial cinema’, as stated by Julie Buck and Karen Segal (Monaghan 2014), who restored several China Girls’ images for the exhibition “Girls on film” they mounted in 2005.
In this article the tradition of China Girls is questioned in relation to both gender performances and the inner workings of cinema. It problematizes the operation of the technologies of photographic media by investigating the relation between skin complexion and cinematography. As such, this article draws attention to the normative powers of technological development and looks at the ways in which cultural determinants influence this development. I specifically delve into these research questions by exploring the process of production of my film “Lili”. But before unraveling filming “Lili”, the China Girl tradition is presented as an example of a chromophobic tendency in Western culture.
I propose to view the China Girls’ tradition as an interesting example of what Michael Taussig and David Batchelor describe as the chromophobic tendency of Western culture. The anthropologist Taussig refers to Goethe when he states that colour has a strikingly colonial history, rooted in the West’s uneasiness with (vivid) colour, and its connotations with the so- called primitive: ‘Savage nations, uneducated people, and children have a great predilection for vivid colors; people of refinement avoid vivid colors in their dress and the objects that are about them’, Goethe claims (Goethe 1970 (1810): 135). Taussig argues that the uneasiness that Europeans display in relation to colour, manifests its allegiance with Orientalism in such a way that colonialism can be regarded as a tension between chromophobes and chromophiliacs: ‘[I]s not color the product of a colonially split world in which “man in a state of nature”, as Goethe would have it, loves vivid color, while the Europeans are fearful of it?’ (Taussig 2009: 131). Artist David Batchelor agrees that a fear of corruption through colour exists within Western thought: ‘Chromophobia manifests itself in the many and varied attempts to purge colour from culture (…) colour is routinely excluded from the higher concerns of the Mind. It is other to the higher values of Western culture’ (Batchelor 2011(2000): 22-23).
Such a cultural bias towards colour can also be traced within cinema and film history, where it can be conflated with the study of race and whiteness. Film scholar Daniel Bernardi defines whiteness as the mostly invisible norm constructed from the beginnings of US cinema: ‘Hollywood functions as a sort of prism, refracting the colors we see on cinematic screens by separating them from whiteness. Misrepresenting whatever is seen through it, Hollywood attempts to segregate whiteness from color in ways that make the former invisible and the latter isolated and stereotypical’ (Bernardi 2008: xv). Media scholars Ella Shohat and Robert Stam furthermore define the normativity of whiteness as ‘the process by which race and ethnicity are attributed to others while whites were tacitly positioned as invisible norm’ (Shohat & Stam 2003: 3). Focusing on representations of Black, Asian, Jewish, Latina/o and Native American identities, such whiteness studies demonstrate how whiteness is a central idea in contemporary Hollywood cinema, crossing audiences, authors, genres, and styles. These studies challenge the privileges given to so-called whites and analyze representational practices that create and perpetuate the fiction of whiteness.
Other scholars question the construction of the white-centricity of the aesthetic technology of the photographic media, which, as stated by film scholar Richard Dyer, ‘assume, privilege and construct whiteness’ (Dyer 1997). Lorna Roth also specifies that ‘a white, gendered reference point has been central to the thinking and decision-making about film design and practice (…) It informs us significantly of the need to recognize how deeply embedded in our cognitive processes the naturalization of Whiteness and sexism remains’ (Roth 2009: 125- 126). The apparatus was developed with white people in mind and habitual use and instruction continue in the same vein, so much so that photographing non-white people is typically construed as a problem’ (Dyer: 89). Or to put it more bluntly, in film historian Winston’s words: ‘In this case, the results produce film stocks which are not readily manipulated to give good black skin tones’ (Winston 1996: 57).
However, most of the authors who discuss chromophobia in general and the construction of whiteness and race in film in particular, are looking at end results to build their arguments. Issues of power and race in film studies are generally discussed through the finished products (films) and the relation to their contexts. By contrast, this paper wishes to further such analysis by exploring the context of the process of creation of film, which I have formerly defined as the mediated and variable relationship between “author” and “other” in which the “viewer” is prefigured (van Dienderen 2016; 2008; 2007; 2004; 2003). The current research article explores the technology of dyeing and the different cultural, ideological, aesthetical and social factors at work through this practice-based approach. It explores chromophobia by looking at ways in which white or Caucasian skin has been a precondition for the manufacturing of representation. Therefore, it looks at the tradition of China Girls as a practice of “dysconscious racism” (King 2001), which is embedded in the manufacturing of representation. I thereby wish to focus on the ‘uncritical habit of the mind (…) that justifies inequity and exploitation by accepting the existing order of things as given’ (296). This article problematizes such a chromophobic tendency and its relation with the construction of whiteness within the ideologically charged nature of the technological apparatus, the institutional structures and mechanisms that manufacture representation. I do this more concretely by getting into the description of the production process of my film “Lili”.
The dare of making a film on China Girls is challenging the chromophobic norm of China Girls in the formal dimensions of film. To this end, I did not want to make a didactic or educational film, as I am convinced that the form of an (educational) documentary film often falls prey to a normative discourse. If one wants to question ideological notions in film, then this also means tackling the norms embedded in formats. Mainstream documentary images are conceived in a conventional way, and therefore help to maintain a certain balance of power. The artist and media theoretician Hito Steyerl makes a similar point when she observes that ‘documentary production has functioned in the service of a large-scale epistemological enterprise that is closely linked with the project of Western colonialism. (…) On the content level, many documentary articulations seemed to erode or even attack unfair power structures. But on the level of form, by relying on authoritative truth procedures, the conventional documentaries have intensified the aura of the court room, (…)’ (Steyerl 2011). The tradition of China Girls asks us questions that challenge the ideological intertwinement of form and content in filmmaking, namely: how can we draw attention to the normative powers of technological development and at the ways in which cultural determinants influence this development? What can this research illuminate about the relationship between ideological determinants and the ‘inner workings of the processes that bring films into being’ (Yue 2012a: 8)?
To question the intertwinement of formal and content aspects of the tradition of China Girls, I have chosen to mix fictional and documentary codes in “Lili” so as to immediately introduce the style of the film as a meta-cinematographic narrative on filmmaking. This meta- cinematographic perspective breaks the entanglement between format and ideology and does this more concretely by working with four storylines that explore different formal strategies:
The dominant storyline is narrated by the re-enactment of a scene around set dresser Lili (played by actress Maaike Neuville), who is asked to serve as a China Girl. There is no actual archival footage on the “making of” a China Girl. I considered it was therefore very interesting to re-enact the moment of making the image of a China Girl. This scene is shot on 16mm, but not in a conventional way. I asked the cameraman to film the scene as though he was discovering this scene accidentally, while testing his camera. To this end, he experimented with different lenses and exposures as well with a variety of film stocks, some of which were outdated. This play with the materiality of celluloid created flares, speed varieties, and an overall feel of colour bursts, central to the subject of the film. The images are thus influenced by Laura Marks’s use of the haptic, which she describes as ‘the attempt to translate to an audio-visual medium the knowledge of the body, including the unrecordable memories of the senses’ (Marks 2000: 5). In accordance with this concept, the spectator is initially lost in what s/he hears or sees, which activates a bodily response, rather than a cognitive or rational response. There are different strategies according to Martine Beugnet: ‘(…) haptic images dehierarchise perception, drawing attention back to tactile details and the material surface where figure and ground start to fuse. Haptic images thus encourage a mode of visual perception akin to the sense of touch, where the eye, sensitised to the image’s concrete appearance, becomes responsive to qualities usually made out through skin’ (Beugnet 2007: 66 as translated by Van Lancker 2012). As a result, the viewer does not get a linear story of a set dresser who is asked to be a China Girl, but this storyline is hinted at through handheld camera images, glimpses, colourful details of the studio, jump cuts, a lack of establishing shots, and flash frames.
Archival footage of China Girls collected by curator Erwin van ‘t Hart, are inserted in the film. van ‘t Hart is a projectionist and now the curator of the International Film Festival of Rotterdam. Throughout his career as a projectionist he collected singular frames of 16mm images of China Girls. He archived these images as slides, not as film sequences. We therefore projected each slide on a screen that we then filmed on 16mm, which led to the effect that these images show the details of the screen in a very subtle way, and that one can see the image turning blurry when shifting to the following slide. Again, this process accentuates the materiality of the medium, important to the subject of the film. In the film these images are not only used slowly, so that one can clearly observe each individual, but also in a fast way, to refer to the way China Girls are normally only seen in a fraction of a second.
The third storyline is narrated by the voice-over, which forms the backbone of the film. The text of the voice-over is based on an article in which the founder of the Cologne Company Image Engineering Dietmar Wüller writes about his search for the woman on test chart BBC61 (a similar tradition as the China Girls, but used for television). After an intense internet research Wüller got in touch with the woman, who told him the story behind the famous test chart1. This text was very fascinating and problematic at the same time. The tone is commonly sensual, human-interest like yet very paternalistic and racist. I used the overall structure of the text, its tone and then inserted citations of authors that I had encountered in my research. In my film the voice-over is spoken by an actor, who impersonates the real CEO of Kodak, Jeff Clarke. The voice-over talks about Clarke’s (fictional) discovery of the 16 mm- film footage (the re-enactment described in the first storyline) and of his (fictional) encounter with Lili.
The citations in the voice-over come from different sources and are expressed by the actor who impersonates the CEO of Kodak as though it is part of his speech. For instance the following quote by cinematographer Sean Bobbit, known for his camerawork for the films by Steve McQueen, is used in the voice-over: ‘You know, that if you have a very dark-skinned person standing next to a very light skinned person, you (..) had to lighten the skin of the dark person [with makeup and/or cosmetics], (…) And as a result of that, you had those films where you had Eddie Murphy with the most bizarre skin tones that you could possibly imagine, because he had so much makeup on him’ (Conrath 2014). In 2005, the Sundance Channel made an educational teaser about China Girls. Kodak technician John Pytlak states the following sentence in it, which is also added in the voice-over: ‘The China Girl to me is my normal reference point in film color correction. If you get flesh tone normal, everything falls into place’. The viewer of my video experiences the voice- over as a speech by the Kodak CEO, not as a list of quotations. It is only in the credits that the different sources are listed to explain how the voice-over was created.
The reference to quotes in the film is different from the common practice in mainstream documentary in which a “voice of god” or a “voice of authority” informs what the viewer needs to see. This creates a problematic relation between image and text in a documentary, so that images are often reduced to mere illustrations and as a result viewers are turned into passive consumers. Instead, in “Lili” the voice-over impersonates the character of the CEO of Kodak, who recounts his encounter with the (fictional) Lili. In post-production, the sound of the noise of an audience is added to the voice of the actor, as though the CEO is giving a speech. The viewer of the film does not only hear the man speaking but also catches some reactions on his speech: some people are laughing; some are coughing. This background noise and the character of the CEO give a dramaturgical twist to the information of the voice-over. It is not presented as objective information, and leaves room for the viewer to navigate between text and images.
The scene is set in a TV studio in the actual studios of the VRT, the National Television in Flanders. The film shows corridors in between TV studios, a hall of props and the actual TV studio, thus displaying a literal “behind the scene”. The setting reveals a fourth storyline, and is a character by itself. Its atmosphere refers to the seventies, when the China Girls were most prominent, but I also added elements of today. I chose video cameras as décor elements, which were used in the seventies, orange colours of set elements, and the camera zoomed in on details of the architecture – the building was created in the seventies. But there were also some subtle anomalies referring to our present time. This play of dating is an invitation to the viewer to indicate when the practice of China Girls was most known, but also that its tradition is still used in our days.
To film in this setting is also an enticement to open the normally hidden dimensions of the “technologies of seeing” (Winston 1996). Winston states that these operations, in a sense hidden because transparent, conform perfectly to Barthes’ “ineffable ideology” (Barthes 1973: 142). By filming in this setting I wish to reflect on the intertwining of technology, social networks and ideology as concentrated into the audiovisual configurations. This configuration is not a neutral device but a sophisticated product, the result from specific technological, social and ideological forces. It was crucial to film in this setting as the symbolic capital of this place adds to the importance of the main research questions of this project. Public Television is a major player in constructing identity and image production. By choosing this setting, I wish to reflect on its role in contemporary society.
Although the film playfully mixes fictional and documentary codes, it nevertheless underscores the description of the Berlin Documentary Forum where the organizers Erika Balsom and Hila Peleg state that ‘documentary is not a category or a genre, but (…) a critical method. Above all, documentary emerges as an attitude – a way of doing, engaging, and creating that accords primacy to the multiple and mutable realities of our world’ (Balsom E. and H. Peleg 2016: 18). The fact that the film is created with actors and based on re- enactment does not clash with the documentary perspective from which I created the film. This play between fact and fiction is deliberately chosen and influenced by filmmaker and writer Trinh Minh-ha, who states: ‘A documentary aware of its own artifice is one that remains sensitive to the flow between fact and fiction. It does not work to conceal or exclude what is normalized as “non-factual”, for it understands the mutual dependence of realism and “artificiality” in the process of filmmaking.’ (Trinh 1990: 89). By this she does not only refer to the construction of narration in documentary film, but also to the production of the image itself.
Indeed, there is a very fascinating philosophical paradox at the heart of documentary filmmaking, namely from the moment that one wants to film reality, it escapes. It is precisely this paradox that gives way to endless possibilities of documentary filmmaking. As a result, documentary filmmaking is not about what might be the truth or the realness of the subject, but is an endless interrogation on the status of the relation between image production and the paradigm of reality that it explores. Hito Steyerl asks us therefore to perform a Cartesian move: ‘The perpetual doubt, the nagging insecurity –whether what we see is “true”, “real”, “factual” and so on– accompanies contemporary documentary reception like a shadow. Let me suggest that this uncertainty is not some shameful lack, which has to be hidden, but instead constitutes the core quality of contemporary documentary modes as such (…) The only thing we can say for sure about the documentary mode in our times is that we always already doubt if it is true.’ (Steyerl 2011).
This uncertainty, this endless flow between fact and fiction in documentary film helps to question issues of vital importance for our society, such as the relation between race and technology. This uncertainty in “Lili’ gives way to a hybrid play between fact and fiction by which reflection on the construction of whiteness in photographic media is set in motion. Not by offering straightforward information, but by raising questions in which form and content are intertwined. The intention of my film is to evoke the following questions: How are skin complexion, cinematography and representation related? How does the manufacturing of representation mark the production of gender relationships? Is the usage of young, Caucasian women in the convention of China Girls related to “dysconscious racism” (King 2001)? What can we understand in terms of the mechanics of the production process when we situate the tradition of China Girls within a chromophobic culture? How can the tradition of China Girls aid in exploring chromophobia and the assumed fear of corruption through color within Western thought? Can technology itself be racist? Through this film, I hope viewers immerse themselves in the images and sound first and then raise questions about the relation between race, representation and technology.
Yet these research questions, the writing of the script with the different storylines, the direction of the film shoot with its materialistic, haptic approach, the intertwinement of fictional and documentary codes, all these intentional aspects do not guarantee a film in view. It was only in the editing phase that these parts needed to come together, which they did not. The editing phase was a very difficult one as I was not happy with 3⁄4 of the images. I thought they were too narrative and did not create a haptic engagement and did not raise the vital questions that I listed earlier in this article. After more than twenty different versions of the film, the editor was frustrated and said the film did not want to come out. I then wiped away all the intentional notes, scripts, directional takes and only selected the images that I liked – intuitively. We then glued these images together and sent this version to the curator of the Experimenta section of the British Film Institute festival in London, who immediately selected the film. This was the beginning of a long list of festival selections.
The final edit of the film does not define “the” film as it is (re)created during each presentation; with other venues differentiating the relation with the film and hence reworking, re-interpreting the meaning of the work. This perspective avoids creating a gap between the process of production and the end result, as this result refers to the interactions between the “author”, the “subject” and the “viewer” in a new way, with new viewers modifying these interactions. I hence argue that researching processes rather than the final film is of crucial importance in dealing with the way visual representation is constructed.
This article builds furthermore on the insights developed in the articles on the ethnographic turn in contemporary arts, which were published in Critical Arts previously, questioning Hal Foster’s infamous essay (Foster 1995) by providing practice-based artistic research (Rutten, van. Dienderen and Soetaert 2013a, 2013b). The importance given to practice-based research in these articles is in line with the interest in scrutinizing processes rather than final “texts”. Such processual research can enlighten aspects of representation that are not discovered in finished films and art products. It is from this perspective that Rutten, Soetaert and myself tackled Foster’s essay. In “The artist as ethnographer?” Foster (1995) cautions artists for the assumption that the “other” is always outside, and that this “alterity” is the primary point of subversion of dominant culture (ibid: 302). Rutten, Soetaert and I agree that it is thus vital ‘to move beyond the strict dichotomy of “self” vs. “other”, by emphasizing the immense complexity of the relations between artist/researcher and subject. This relationship will, inevitably, always be unequal. (…) Since one cannot speak about or for the other in an unproblematic way, it might be better to aim to “speak nearby” (Trinh Min-ha 1990), without ignoring these unequal relations’ (Rutten, van Dienderen and Soetaert 2013: 471).
In my film “Lili” I have used several filmic strategies to attempt to create such a dialogue that “speaks nearby”. Instead of aiming at fixed categories and categorization – of what is right and wrong for instance – I have explored a mixture of fictional and archival strategies to create an ambiguous and hybrid film in which the other is not placed elsewhere but within the construction of the film process. To take this point a bit further, the film thus acknowledges the ‘interest in documentary, which’, as Balsom and Peleg argue, ‘came in the wake of trenchant critiques of Eurocentrism and the concomitant embrace of postcolonial methodologies of recovery and revision. Artists turned away from the materialist interrogation of the medium, away from the “forest of signs,” and toward the world’ (Balsom E. and H. Peleg 2016: 15). This article and the film thus follow Taussig’s advice to explore colour as a means to trail the genie out of the bottle and into the world.
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“Lili” is part of the research project “China Girls and the Color Genie. A multichronotopic research” from 2015 till 2019 initiated by An van. Dienderen at KASK / School of Arts Ghent and generously funded by the University College Ghent Research Fund. “Lili” is screened at international museums of contemporary arts and several international film festivals such as Contour 7, Biënnale Mechelen (B); BFI Festival London (UK) 2015; IFFR Rotterdam (TN) 2016; 25FPS Festival Zagreb (C); Message to man Festival – St.Petersburg (R); FID Marseille – Festival International du Cinéma (Fr); European Media Arts Festival – Osnabrueck (D); SCCA Center for Contemporary Art, Ljubljana (C); Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens (G); Stuttgarter Filmwinter — Festival for Expanded Media (G); Videonale Bonn (G). Nominated best short film award BFI London 2015. More info: http://www.anvandienderen.net/lili/
For examples see the Northwest Chicago Film Society’s China Girls / Leading Ladies project, an online compilation from around the United States: http://www.chicagofilmsociety.org/projects/leaderladies/