A general misapprehension of what filmmakers do and how films are made has obscured the creative and cognitive complexity of the work women have been doing in film for over one hundred years. Using clips from the multi-award-winning short documentary I Want to Make a Film about Women (Pearlman et al. 2020), the video essay Distributed Authorship: An et al. Proposal of Creative Practice, Cognition, and Feminist Film Histories argues that filmmaking is an instance of “distributed cognition” and offers a provocation about the mythologizing of film authors. It then proposes a small, very small, but significant, very significant, adjustment to the stories we tell about filmmakers. I call this adjustment “et al.” and suggest that these five characters and a space are shorthand for an urgently needed change to understandings of collaboration, creativity, and cognition.
Distributed Authorship: An et al. Proposal of Creative Practice, Cognition, and Feminist Film Histories
Karen Pearlman writes, directs, and edits screen productions. She researches creative practice, cognition, and feminist film histories. Collected by major film archives around the world, her trilogy of films about historical women editors (2016, 2018, and 2020) have won thirty competitive awards including three for best editing, three for best directing, and six for best documentary. Karen is the author of the widely used textbook on editing, Cutting Rhythms (Focal Press), now in its 2nd edition and with translations into Chinese, Korean, Arabic, and Turkish. She is an Associate Professor in Screen Production and Practice at Macquarie University in Sydney.
Karen Pearlman; Distributed Authorship: An et al. Proposal of Creative Practice, Cognition, and Feminist Film Histories. Feminist Media Histories 1 April 2023; 9 (2): 87–100. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/fmh.2023.9.2.87
Download citation file: