Kathleen Romoli

Arredondo, Isabel

Research thus far has only illuminated one Colombian silent film made by a woman. She was not a native Colombian, but a self-taught anthropologist born in the United States. The travelogue, made by Kathleen Romoli, was independently produced ten years after the end of the silent film era in the United States. Brought to light by the Fundación Patrimonio Fílmico Colombiano, it is significant because of its subject matter. The mining company Gold Platinum (GP) requested a promotional film about its operations in the Colombian Pacific coast. Romoli, a prominent historian and anthropologist, shot A Journey to the Operations of the South American Gold Platinum Co. (1937), also known as Gold Platinum (1937), paying special attention to the Embera community, which was in contact with the dredge camps in the 1930s. She never mentioned Gold Platinum to her family or colleagues. The film, which depicts the area where Romoli lived in Colombia and portrays the indigenous groups that Romoli wrote about, was found in her library after her death. In the 1990s, Patrimonio Fotográfico y Fílmico del Valle del Cauca, a Colombian regional institution under the Ministry of Culture, ran a preservation campaign in the Chocó region (Vidal 2011; Torres and Moreno 2009, n.p.). People living in “La Esmeralda,” Romoli’s estate in Trujillo, gave them twenty cans of 16mm film. These included Gold Platinum, left over material from the travelogue, and other footage from a later time. Circumstantial evidence suggests that Romoli was the author of Gold Platinum.


More About This Work

Academic Units
Women Film Pioneers Project
Published Here
October 15, 2019