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Leila Lewis

Morris, Nathalie

In 1920, Leila Lewis gave a lecture to the Women’s Freedom League, a UK organization that campaigned for suffrage and sexual equality. The subject of her talk was “Opportunities for Women in the Film Business.” Although not yet thirty, Lewis was already an established film publicist and the object of her talk was to promote the wide range of film industry jobs that were open to women. A June 17, 1920 article in Kinematograph Weekly reported that Lewis had questioned the “monopoly held by men in so many jobs in the film industry,” arguing that “it ought not to be a question of sex when anybody was selected for work, but a question of ability to do the work” (135). Attempting to dispel the widely held notion that the only opportunities for women were in front of the camera, Lewis outlined a range of potential roles, including producer (meaning director), scenario writer, art director, casting director, censor, wardrobe and make-up, and working on “the business side” (135). Interestingly, she made no mention of her own professions of publicity and journalism, despite these being two areas in which women had already begun to distinguish themselves.

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