This site is designed to assist Women and Gender Studies Librarians and other collection developers in finding resources for the purchase and evaluation of film and video. The site will focus less on mainstream Hollywood films, than on educational, documentary, and subject-specific materials covering topics in gender and sexuality. Traditionally, these items go out of print more quickly, are more expensive, and are more limited in their distribution. Examples of key collections arranged by subject, print bibliographies, and review sources are also added to assist in the selection process.
AK Press is an independent publisher and distributor "organized around anarchist principles." The video/DVD page offers numerous very affordable titles of relevance to the study of gender, sexuality and activism.
Appalshop: Film & Video on Culture and Social Issues
Appalshop films are part of a larger program to support multimedia production in Appalachia. The site lists films by subject, including several titles under "Women's Stories."
Arab Film Distribution (Institutional Sales)
AFD distributes a number of Arab feature films and documentaries on DVD and video. In addition to films on women and Islamic culture, AFD now offers a documentary "Women Pioneers Collection" featuring "the achievements of Arab female figures who were considered avant-garde in their society."
Berkeley Media LLC (Women's Studies/Gender Studies Video Page)
Berkeley Media is a distributor of independently produced documentaries and educational media. It was founded as a result of the unfortunate closing of the UC Extension's Center for Media and Independent Learning. More than 100 of the titles from Berkeley Media were formerly distributed by the Center.
Known for distribution of environmental and social justice films, Bullfrog offers short titles dedicated to the exploration of women's rights in a global perspective.
CAAM (Center for Asian American Media)
CAAM distributes a number of educational videos on Asian Pacific peoples. The subject index lists titles on women, sexuality, and GLB studies.
With an emphasis on African cinema and educational videos about African American life, this catalog does not have a separate subject section on women's issues. However, several titles explicitly deal with biographical and socio-political topics relevant to gender studies.
Cambridge Documentary Films
CDF sells documentaries on a range of social issues, including eating disorders, rape, women's health, gender & media literacy, and GLBT topics.
Center for New American Media
Producer of educational videos, including titles that have been featured on the Oxygen channel and P.O.V. (PBS program). Several titles relate to women's issues. Study guides are also available for many of the tapes.
The Cinema Guild
Film and video distribution company with large number of documentary titles available for purchase. The online catalog contains over 800 titles, and has separate viewable sections under "Social Studies" for Women's Studies and Gay, Lesbian, and Gender Studies.
A video production company that offers video dealing primarily with reproductive rights and related issues. Some tapes are also offered with Spanish subtitles.
DCTV (Downtown Community Television Center) creates and distributes social issue documentaries on international politics, crime, and a range of domestic topics. Unique titles include video from the "Pro-TV" program, featuring work by students from at-risk communities. It's worth requesting a current print catalog, since the website doesn' t always include everything available.
Deep Focus Productions
Arthur Dong's production and distribution company offers short clips, descriptions, and sales information on his films. Most titles address Chinese American, gender, and gay/lesbian social issues, including Sewing Woman and Lotus. Institutional prices are much more expensive than those for individuals.
DEFA Film Library Catalog
Located at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, DEFA (Deutsche Film Aktiengesellschaft) sells East German films made between 1946-1990 and an expanding collection of other previously unavailable German titles. Several works are of interest to both gender and queer studies.
Direct Cinema Limited
With a focus on educational users, Direct Cinema distributes and promotes independent filmmakers; catalog has categories for feminism, women's studies, and women's health. Educational prices include a public performance license.
Discovery Channel Store Online
Discovery Channel distributes several videos on sex differences, sex change surgery, gender differences during adolescence, and an extensive visually-oriented "Body Atlas" set.
Documentary Educational Resources
This site features titles on documentary and ethnographic film in a global context. Most film and video can either be purchased or rented. Subjects include marriage and family, gender roles, marriage, and women's studies topics.
Docuseek's database searches for independent documentary, social issue, and educational videos available in the U.S. and Canada. This is very useful for searching across several major distributors' offerings.
Educational Video Center (EVC)
EVC supports documentaries written and directed by teens on a range of social issues. Discounts available for K-12 schools.
Educational Video Group, Inc.
EVG sells videos of various speeches and speech education topics, with a strength in politics. Speeches include those by Golda Meir, Eleanor Roosevelt, Naomi Wolf, and Camille Paglia, among many others. Other titles focus on gender communication issues.
A general distributor based in Chicago; provides both rental services and video/DVD for purchase. Though it covers major releases, Facets also maintains numerous experimental, feminist, and documentary titles.
Fanlight distributes independent documentaries and educational films on healthcare, aging, mental health, disabilities, ethics, family and gender issues. This is a good distributor for titles on women's health, as well as LGBT health issues.
Feminist Majority Foundation: Film, TV, & Radio
The Feminist Majority offers short activist documentaries for sale, covering topics like abortion rights, the Taliban, and the political right wing.
Film Distributors Database
Allows a search or browse of vendors in documentary and educational video, as well as used and out of distribution titles. From UC Berkeley's Media Center.
Large selection of titles in global and multicultural studies, women's studies, LGBT issues, and sexual violence.
Films Media Group [includes Films for the Humanities and Social Sciences and Meridian Education Corporation]
This company focuses entirely on the educational market (primarily upper high school - undergraduate level); Numerous Women's Studies titles on the media, eating disorders, women's history, etc. Films Media Group now sells streaming video as well as more traditional formats. This vendor charges institutions for performance rights, and quality of content varies.
First Run/Icarus Films
Browse a list of titles on Women's Studies, including global documentaries and independent feminist narrative films.
Forward in Time
Offers videos on community awareness issues and some gender-related topics like parenting and sexuality.
Frameline offers a collection of narrative, documentary, and short fiction films for rental and sale. Dedicated to the distribution of lesbian and gay video, the company offers several titles on women's sexuality and gender identity.
Producer of educational films primarily regarding social justice, environmental activism, and family issues. Several titles concern gay marriage and adoption. WEM outsources sales of its titles to different distributors, including New Day films. This site provides a link for the relevant vendor of each title.
Kino on Video
Kino's strength is in making available older and unjustly forgotten films, usually in nicely restored condition. Look for good deals on their box sets and titles by women directors like Ida Lupino.
Media Education Foundation
MEF is a non-profit educational organization devoted to media research and production of media resources to aid educators. It distributes several key Women's Studies titles, including Slim Hopes, Dreamworlds, Tough Guise, and Killing Us Softly.
Media Projects, Inc.
Founded by filmmakers Allen Mondell and Cynthia Salzman Mondell, this company produces and distributes documentary/educational films. Many of these are on women's studies, violence prevention, and sex education, including Sisters of '77: The Spirit of Women.
Selection of films from Milestone, mostly comprised of older classics. Milestone is particularly strong in its coverage of Mary Pickford, but also offers many lesser-known works of historical importance.
Though Midwest Tape is a very general distributor with more focus on feature film, it is recommended for reasonable pricing and responsive service to libraries. The database requires setting up a (free) log-in to search, but it is best only for title searching since many directors' names are not included.
National Film Board of Canada
The NFB store sells video and DVD on Canadian and international topics, including narrative film and documentaries on topics ranging from political activism to pornography. You can watch many of the films in a streaming version for free. Note: there is a significant increase in price for U.S. institutions.
New Day Films
Offers works by independent filmmakers on a range of social topics. Many titles concern gender and sexuality, and are priced for the educational market. Some descriptions also give links to reviews.
This site features video programming available from Docurama, The History Channel, A&E Home Video, Scholastic, and New Video NYC. Coverage is strong for LGBT issues, television programming, and independent film. Other distributors also offer these titles, but this site is a bit easier to browse.
Relatively new company focused on representation and promotion of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, Queer film and video.
A good source for out of print and hard to find videos, DVDs, and laser discs. Also offers transfers for PAL, Beta, and SECAM tapes. Stronger coverage of narrative films than documentaries, but can be a very useful source for finding items no longer available from traditional vendors.
Shenandoah Films: Women’s Issues
Distributor of "educational Videos and DVDs produced by Native Americans and from the Native perspective." Shenandoah sells titles on various topics, including women's issues.
ShopPBS for Teachers
Online store for PBS educational programming. The American Experience collection in particular contains a number of videos on women's history. Note that most videos are a different price for institutions, which is reflected on this website.
Sisters in Cinema
This site features the work of documentary filmmaker Yvonne Welbon, including an order form for her work. It also provides a list of works by other African American filmmakers. Welbon's works include Sisters in Cinema, Living with Pride: Ruth Ellis @ 100, and The Cinematic Jazz of Julie Dash. Pricing is different depending on the type of institution, and there is a discount for ordering a group of titles.
One of the few sources that covers independent Latino film and video with any comprehensiveness. While the focus is more specifically on ethnicity, SubCine offers numerous titles of interest to gender studies.
Third World Newsreel
An alternative media arts organization that fosters the creation, appreciation and dissemination of independent film and video by and about people of color. The online catalog has pre-set categories for women, feminist issues, lesbian experience, and more.
TLA Video: Lesbian DVDs
TLA has absorbed the titles formerly offered by OutTakes, and also sells gay & lesbian books.
Video Data Bank
A distributor of contemporary media art, the VDB houses experimental and documentary works on sexuality, gender, and feminism. Also offers CD-Roms, compilations, and free video clips online.
Video Distributors of Women-Related Films
Extensive A-Z list of video distributors, with contact information. Maintained by the University of Wisconsin System. This is one of the most comprehensive source lists for Women's Studies video available online.
Women Make Movies
The distributor with the most wide-reaching commitment to independent women's film and video, including direct support of women filmmakers. Offers rental and purchase as options, with wide geographic coverage. Website frequently offers special discounts for multiple purchases.
WAVE: Women's Audiovisuals in English
Maintained by the University of Wisconsin System Women's Studies Librarian's Office, this database lists documentary, experimental, and feature film and video productions by and about women with subject classification. Distributor information is included.
Women and Gender Studies (UC Berkeley Media Center)
Offers videographies of holdings by subject, with annotations. UCB also has a similar Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender site, which lists bibliographies and additional vendors.
Women in Cinema: A Reference Guide
Extensive bibliography of print and electronic guides to women in film. This has not been updated in a while, but is still a good starting point.
The Bent Lens: A World Guide to Gay and Lesbian Film. Lisa Daniel, Claire Jackson, and James I. Walsh, Eds. Alyson Publications, 2003.
The 2nd edition to the guide, which includes features, shorts, and documentaries. Beyond typical indexing, this guide takes the more uncommon approach of also including short essays by international scholars in the field.
Bowker's Complete Video Directory. yearly.
This annual publication typically includes a subject arrangement of video currently on the market, with emphasis on educational titles.
Between the Sheets, in the Streets: Queer, Lesbian, and Gay Documentary. Eds. Chris Holmlund and Cynthia Fuchs. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1997.
Contains annotated videography in the back section on queer studies documentary.
Feminism and Documentary. Eds. Diane Waldman and Jane Walker. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1999.
Part of the same "Visible Evidence" series as Between the Sheets, this volume also includes a helpful annotated videography in the last section.
In Her Own Image: Films and Videos Empowering Women for the Future, A Media Network Guide. New York: Media Network, 1991.
While the prices and format options listed in this guide are now out of date, it is still a valuable resource for finding media on women in the developing world. Lists distributors, and has geographic, subject, and audience indexes.
Sloan, Jane. Reel Women: An International Directory of Contemporary Feature Films About Women. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow, 2007.
Focused on feature films, this directory identifies titles on women by many different subjects.
Sullivan, Kaye. Films For, By, and About Women (Series I and II). Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow, 1980 & 1985.
Coverage is now dated in scope, but lists educational and short films otherwise difficult to find referenced.
Women Filmmakers & Their Films. Ed. by Amy L. Unterburger. Detroit: St. James P, 1998.
More of an auteurist resource, this international encyclopedia contains short descriptive sketches, bibliographies, and filmographies of women filmmakers. Also contains a useful awards index and listing of directors by country.
Women's Companion to International Film. Ed. Annette Kuhn with Susannah Radstone. Berkeley: U of California P, 1990.
A-Z resource by names, countries, and subjects. This covers major theorists and directors, and several entries contain videographies.
Zaniello, Tom. Working Stiffs, Union Maids, Reds, and Riffraff: An Organized Guide to Films about Labor. Itahaca: Cornell UP, 2003 (revised edition). Index includes listing of film focusing on women in the workforce.
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Film/Literature Index Online
The print edition of this important film criticism and review index has been digitized for the years 1976-2001 through a grant from NEH. It is currently available free of charge, and the advanced search includes a pre-limit to reviews. While there is no full-text content, this resource is very useful for its indexing content of film journals and magazines in several different languages.
Provides list of sites that offer reviews of film and video, with focus on independent documentary, social issue, and educational titles.
Educational Media Reviews Online
Database with subject searching, recommendation rankings, and more for major titles from educational and documentary distributors. The search screen has a pre-limit to "women's studies" video.
Feminist Collections: A Quarterly Review of Women’s Studies Resources
Publication (online & in print) from the University of Wisconsin; offers reviews on Women's Studies video, with focus on academic and nonfiction titles.
Video Librarian Online
The less comprehensive electronic version of the print magazine Video Librarian, this site has extra features for members. It also has freely available video and DVD reviews for recent releases; although the emphasis is on mainstream film, the reviews list recommended audiences and tend to look closely at the quality of DVD extras. There is a "Video Librarian Plus" subscription available that provides access to the backfiles of all reviews and other features.
Women's Studies Database Film Reviews
Database with reviews of mostly mainstream films (including some foreign titles) with emphasis on women's roles.
Despite the current domination of the DVD format and streaming video in commercial markets, vendors for academic nonfiction, documentary, and experimental film still occasionally offer VHS as a format. In many cases, collecting and lending institutions must grapple with a range of legacy formats--many of which rely on hardware that is no longer manufactured. These select resources are intended as a starting place for understanding the differences between types of media.
AMIA: Association of Moving Image Archivists
This website from the Association of Moving Image Archivists links to a variety of useful information and position papers about film and video formats. Includes information on video preservation, different sizes and formats of videotape, and amateur/small gauge film. Also contains full text link to Jim Wheeler's Videotape Preservation Handbook.
DVD FAQ (And Answers)
Jim Taylor's frequently updated and very informative online guide to the DVD format (including DVD-ROM). This is one of the best places to find non-commercial facts and explanations. It acts as a supplement to Taylor's book, DVD Demystified: The Guidebook for DVD-Video and DVD-ROM (McGraw-Hilll; 3rd edition 2006; ISBN 0071423966)--also recommended.
Part of larger Conservation OnLine site, this page provides more information on video standards and format differences. Note special section on digital video information, and separate pages on motion picture film and electronic media.
More than One Hundred Years of Film Sizes
This site explains the difference between different gauges of film stock, with numerous pictures for identification and links to similar information pages.
Video Technology General Information Page
The "glossary" section may be of greatest use to librarians, which contains explanations of aspect ratios and confusing acronyms. See also the DVD technology page from the same source.
DV, DVCAM, & DVCPRO Formats
Explains different digital video formats, though much of the focus is directed at filmmakers rather than institutions.
Kula, Sam. Appraising Moving Images: Assessing the Archival and Monetary Value of Film and Video Records. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow, 2002.
For institutions with large archival collections of film and video, this book specifically addresses the history and appraisal methodology for managing these formats.
Video Collection Development in Multi-Type Libraries: A Handbook. Ed. Gary P. Handman. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2002.
This is the 2nd edition of the handbook, covering different types of libraries and strategies for selecting and evaluating video.
Send comments about WGSS Film & Video page to:
Diana King Arts
Library University of California, Los Angeles
Originally created: November 2002 Last updated: February 2013