Lauren Cox

Mentor: Dr. Barbara Mennel
College of Libreral Arts and Sciences
 
"I became involved in research during my second year at UF in Dr. Mennel's History of Film I course. In this class, I wrote a paper about female screenwriters of the silent period. I became fascinated when I discovered that many women were involved in the early film industry. Since then, I have continued to carve out a niche in this research area through my studies in the film and media department, which ultimately culminated in this project."

Major

English

Minor

Spanish

Research Interests

  • Film
  • Female screenwriters/directors
  • Film production

Academic Awards

  • Florida Academic Scholar
  • Dean's List

Organizations

  • Sigma Tau Delta English Honor Society
  • Honors Program

Volunteer

  • N/A

Hobbies and Interests

  • Film
  • Filmmaking
  • Photography
  • Scuba diving

Research Description

Lost and Found in the Archive: The Films of Lois Weber and Frances Marion
The 2014 Academy Award nominations for best director included no female nominees. In fact, 2009 was the last year that a woman was even nominated for the prestigious award, and the only time a woman, Kathryn Bigelow, has won. From the current state of the film industry, most would assume that women have always had a limited involvement in principal production roles in moviemaking. This assumption, however, is incorrect; filmmaking in the early days of the industry was heavily influenced by women working in many different roles, ranging from screenwriter, to director, and producer. According to the Writers Guild of America, from the turn of the century to the mid-twenties, women outnumbered men in the screenwriting trade ten to one. However, The 2014 Hollywood Writers Report commissioned by the Writers Guild of America, West, (WGAW) states that only 15% of film screenwriters were women in 2012, the latest year tracked. When most think of silent film, they think of D.W. Griffith, Sergei Eisenstein, and Charlie Chaplin. Yet, many women were significantly involved in the early film industry. I plan to focus my research project on the oeuvres of Lois Weber and Frances Marion, two women who made a huge impact on the film industry by writing and directing hundreds of films during the silent period. Unfortunately, the films of these two women are not readily available. Many of their films have been destroyed or only exist in archives. For this project, I need to visit the UCLA film archive, to view the rare films and other files that are kept in the archive such as notebooks and home videos of Weber and Marion. Viewing the archived films will give me a fuller picture of the lives of Weber and Marion that is essential to the study of their body of work. These films, primary resources, and ultimately my research will shed light on how these women represented themselves in their films and how they handled their work in film and their emerging celebrity status.