Women's Video Festivals 1972-74

The first Women's Video Festival, held at The Kitchen from September 14-30, 1972, represented a convergence of art, activism, videomaking and feminism. Steina Vasulka, an electronic art pioneer, had approached documentary filmmaker Susan Milano about organizing a festival of videotapes by women. Organizing screening events at The Kitchen, Vasulka noticed that women video makers were under represented, and hoped to change this by initiating a special occasion for women's tapes to be shown. Milano coordinated the project, collaborating with Kitchen program director Shridhar Bapat and Laura Kassos. For the first Festival, sixty-five letters were sent out in New York and California asking for "works created, produced or directed by women videotape makers." Twenty-five tapes were received and shown without a selection process. The first Festival featured works by individual artists, including Milano, Shigeko Kubota, Jackie Cassen and Elsa Tambellini, as well as grassroot collectives and "guerrilla" community groups. Through general support to The Kitchen, EAI provided funding for the first Festival. For the second edition, EAI helped the Festival to independently receive a grant from the New York State Council on the Arts. An influential and important venue for alternative video work by women, the Women's Video Festival continued annually until 1980.

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