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Celluloid Ceiling



Celluloid Ceiling: women film directors breaking through

Edited by Gabrielle Kelly and Cheryl Robson

  • Includes exclusive interviews with women directors
  • Resource for students of film and gender studies courses, and film fans alike

Now Kathryn Bigelow has made history as the first woman to win an Oscar for directing, is this a new era for women filmmakers? The figures suggest otherwise. Seeking to redress the imbalance between male and female film directors, Celluloid Ceiling explores inspiring new work appearing in the USA, the UK and globally. Highlighting emerging women directors alongside ground-breaking pioneers, this is a one-stop guide to the leading women film directors in the 21st century and those who inspired them.

From Oscar-winning action director Kathryn Bigelow to emerging strong voices from Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Laos, particular attention is paid to women making films in traditionally male-dominated areas such as action, sci-fi and fantasy and to works with a new take on the violence and pornography of the horror genre. This book shows that the changes overturning current business and artistic processes are opening up new opportunities for women film directors who are determined make the most of these.

The contributors represent women making film  Africa, Latin America, Europe, USA, Asia and India, with new voices in Japanese and Middle Eastern cinema, the women directors working in TV, as well as the first woman director Alice Guy Blache, the rise of the independent and the horror aficionados the Soska Sisters,  Celluloid Ceiling includes numerous interviews and b/w photographs.

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“The level of public consciousness about the barriers faced by female filmmakers is higher than it has ever been. Despite this, the discussion more often than not centres around North America and to a lesser extent, Europe, Australia and New Zealand (and I am guilty as charged). This is perfectly understandable, but clearly women do make films outside of these countries, and it can be illuminating to consider how their experiences reflect or differ from those with which we are more familiar.

To this end, the arrival of a new book, Celluloid Ceiling, could not be more timely. Edited by Gabrielle Kelly and Cheryl Robson, it takes a purposefully global overview of the status quo and in doing so provides some fascinating stories and insights, reminding us of what is lost when we limit the discussion to Anglophone directors.” – Matthew Hammett Knott – indiewire

About the editors

Gabrielle Kelly, screenwriter and producer, is also a media educator and story expert. She has worked in Hollywood on both studio and indie films and on productions from Russia, Brazil, China and Europe. Her films include: All the Queen’s Men, Stag, D.A.R.Y.L. for Paramount/Columbia, and her script of indie feature All Ages Night is set in the music scene of LA. She developed and edited the industry bible, The Movie Business; a Legal Guide with entertainment lawyer Kelly Crabb and was given the Female Maverick Tribute by Female Eye Film Festival in 2014.

Cheryl Robson is a producer of several short independent films, most recently Rock n Roll Island. She worked at the BBC for several years and then taught filmmaking at the University of Westminster, before setting up a theatre company. She also created a publishing company where she has edited over fifty books and published over 150 international writers. As a writer, she has won the Croydon Warehouse International Playwriting Competition and as an editor, received a Special Jury Prize for Peace with author Robin Soans, for The Arab-Israeli Cookbook.


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