(CBS Local)– If you’ve never heard of director Alice-Guy Blaché, you’re not alone.
Director Pamela Green is making sure that never happens again through the release of her new documentary “Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché.” Blaché was a pioneer in the movie business dating back to the late 1800s and early 1900s and had her own production company in Fort Lee, New Jersey. Green’s deep dive on the revolutionary filmmaker not only introduces Blaché to a new audience, but also corrects a lot of misinformation out there about her.
“What impressed me about her was that she was a writer/director/producer, who wrote, directed, and produced 1,000 films,” said Green in an interview with CBS Local. “And she had her own studio and she was a mother and had kids. She felt fictional and I had to find out more.”
The film is narrated by Jodie Foster and features interviews with people like Ava DuVernay, Patty Jenkins, and Geena Davis. Green is so thankful for the support she received for her film.
“The funding was so difficult. At the beginning I was writing checks myself,” said Green. “I got to the point where I couldn’t write checks anymore. Geena Davis’s Institute found out about it and I contacted Hugh Hefner. We talked for two years before I could show him what I was doing. He is probably one of largest donors and the first person to stand behind me was Robert Redford.”
In her film, Green makes a comparison between YouTubers and Instagramers discovering their platform for the first time and Blaché telling stories visually back in the early 190ss. The director believes this allowed Blaché to tap into the comedic and intellectual sides of her personality.
“She had an amazing sense of humor. When she is on camera talking, she cracks jokes,” said Green. “I think what’s amazing about her work is she loved working with children, she liked to tell stories that were socially unacceptable to tell on camera. But they are universal and you could watch them now and you can still relate even though they’re silent.
The film can be seen at the IFC Center this weekend.