On October 13, 2011, one hundred and one years after Alice Guy Blaché produced her first film out of her Solax Studio, and forty three years after her death the Director's Guild of America inducted her as a member.
8Alice Guy's induction was part of a ceremony at the DGA theatre on West 57th Street in New York City. Other honorees included writer-director Nora Ephron, Sheila Nevins from HBO, Matthew Loeb, the president of IATSE, and Senator Patrick Leahy. Richard Belzer was the emcee. The ceremony was followed by a glittery party at Nobu 57.
DGA Lifetime Achievement Award/1999 Honors Recipient Martin Scorsese presented the posthumous tribute to pioneering woman director Alice Guy Blaché. “It is the hope and intention of the DGA that by presenting this posthumous special directorial award for lifetime achievement, the Guild can both raise awareness of an exceptional director and bring greater recognition to the role of women in film history.”
Since the Director's Guild only came into being in 1936, sixteen years after Alice Guy Blaché died, it is not a surprise that she was not already a member. However, it was a long road to get her this recognition. The Fort Lee Film Commission and their supporters at the DGA worked long and hard for it. You can see a short film produced by the Bergen County Film Commission and the Fort Lee Film Commission here.
The party after the ceremony at Nobu 57 was a whose who of people who have supported Alice Guy's cause over the years: Joan Simon, who curated the Alice Guy retrospective at the Whitney two years ago, Marquise Lepage, who directed the documentary The Lost Garden for the National Film Board, the Fort Lee Film Commission, and myself were all rubbing shoulders with Nora Ephron, Nicholas Pileggi, Sheila Nevins, Matt Loeb, Steven Soderbergh, Michael Apted, Paul Shaffer, and the luminous Helen Mirren.