Canadian Women Film Directors Database
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About the Database

Overview / Acknowledgments / Purpose / Database and Web Site Development / Bilingualism / Directors / Films / Bibliographies / Links to Articles and Books / Archival Resources / Quotations / About the Database Creator

Overview

The Canadian Women Film Directors Database is a bilingual research tool containing bibliographies, filmographies, quotations, and other information about Canadian women directors and their films. Margaret Fulford, a librarian at the University of Toronto, is responsible for all aspects of the project (including research, database design and development using MySQL, and web site development using PHP).

Acknowledgments

I am grateful to the University of Toronto for granting me research leave in 2006-2007 to undertake this project and in 2014-2015 to expand the content of the database.

Special thanks go to Professor Kay Armatage, for enthusiastically supporting this project and providing much valuable advice.

Many thanks to my family and friends for their suggestions, assistance, and encouragement.

I am also grateful to the open source community for developing MySQL and PHP.

-- Margaret Fulford, University College Librarian, University of Toronto

Purpose

It is hoped that the Database will be a valuable tool for scholars, students, cinephiles, and others interested in women's cinema or Canadian film; will facilitate research on Canadian women directors; and will highlight the role of women directors in Canadian cinema, and the role of Canadians in international women's cinema.

Database and Web Site Development

The database and web site were developed using the open source database management system MySQL and the programming language PHP. When researchers search or browse this web site, their queries are relayed via PHP to the MySQL database, and web pages are then generated dynamically. The database contains 49 related tables, which in turn contain a total of 259 columns (i.e., fields). There are over 4,000 PHP statements in the files which generate the web site's pages.

Bilingualism

The French and English versions of the web site contain identical data, displayed slightly differently:

Directors

An important aspect of this project has been the identification of Canadian women film directors. The names of female directors were culled from many books on Canadian or Quebec cinema, the National Film Board web site, and other sources, to establish a list of 1,200 Canadian women who have directed at least one short or feature film. (This list will continue to grow as additional directors are identified.)

To date, detailed records have been added to the database for 456 directors; this includes extensive records for 24 featured directors, plus 432 records in progress. More detailed records will be added over time.

The database includes women directors who live or have lived in Canada (but not those who only visited Canada to shoot a film there). It includes directors whose films have been shown in a cinema, at a film festival, in an art gallery, or on television (but not those who have only made student films).

The database includes brief biographical information about some directors, drawn from a variety of sources such as the Canadian Film Encyclopedia and Le dictionnaire du cinéma québécois (Coulombe and Jean, 2006). All sources of biographical information are cited.

Films

Each director's record includes a filmography (i.e., a list of the films she has directed). The filmography links to individual records for each film, containing information such as year, length (rounded off to the nearest minute), alternate titles, and partial credits. Where possible, they also contain further information such as a description of the film, notes about the film, a link to a videoclip, etc. The filmographies currently contain detailed information for 1,460 films (and preliminary information for an additional 56 films).

The filmographies list both feature and short films and may include documentaries, fiction, avant-garde films, animation, or video art. Non-Canadian productions by Canadian directors are included. Films made for television are included (but not television series). The following are not included: publicity films, commercials, filmstrips, multimedia kits, and music videos.

Sources for filmographic data are cited (e.g. the National Film Board catalogue and the Cinémathèque québécoise web site). Quite often, two sources will contain contradictory film data for a given director. In such cases an effort has been made to select the most reliable information, but film details should be taken with a grain of salt.

Bibliographies

The bibliographies about directors and their films include citations of books, book chapters, journal articles, magazine and newspaper articles, dissertations, documentaries, selected web sites, etc. The bibliographies currently contain 4,095 citations. The bibliographies will continue to grow as additional publications are identified and entered into the database.

A wide range of publications is included in the bibliographies. However:

Bibliographic data have been gathered from a wide range of sources. (Note that the compiler has not directly viewed all publications and so cannot guarantee the accuracy of all details.) Sources consulted include library catalogues, periodical indexes, databases, and bibliographies in film studies, women's studies, Canadian studies, etc. -- for example, Film Literature Index; the FIAF International Index to Film Periodicals; Canadian Film and Video: A Bibliography and Guide to the Literature (Lerner, University of Toronto Press, 1997); Gender Studies Database; MLA International Bibliography; WorldCat; ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Database; Repère; the Canadian Periodical Index; etc.

Links to Articles and Books

It is possible to configure your web browser so that each bibliographic citation on femfilm.ca will provide a convenient link to that publication in your own library's collection. For details please see Links to Articles and Books: OpenURL Referrer.

Archival Resources

The database indicates in a director's record which archival institutions, if any, have holdings related to the director or her films. The nature and extent of these holdings is not indicated, but a link is provided to the institution's web site, where those interested can search by director name to view a description of the holdings.

Quotations

The database currently contains 1,585 quotations (taken from books, articles, etc.), 35 percent of them in French (552 quotations) and 65 percent in English (1,033 quotations).

About the Database Creator

Margaret Fulford is a librarian at the University of Toronto, where she has worked since 2001. Previously, she worked for the Canadian Women's Movement Archives, the Music Library of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the Toronto Reference Library, and the Canadian Health Network.

She edited The Canadian Women's Movement, 1960-1990: A Guide to Archival Resources / Le mouvement canadien des femmes, 1960-1990 : guide de ressources archivistiques (ECW Press, 1992), and she co-developed (with Ginette Chandonnet) the thesaurus of the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (2001).

She has also created several interactive Women in Film Quizzes.


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