Film Collection

The BWAF Film Collection furthers our awareness-raising work in acknowledging and celebrating women’s achievements and contributions to the built environment. Available to stream online, as DVDs, and for special screenings, each film presents a unique view and seeks to expand the canon.

Unknown New York: The City That Women Built

Unknown New York: The City That Women Built
Learn how you can license a film screening of Unknown New York: The City That Women Built→

Written and directed by Beverly Willis, this twenty minute documentary presents 234 selected Manhattan projects designed, engineered, or developed by women. With dazzling color images and a historical narrative, Unknown New York celebrates the contributions of the women that have shaped the rich and complex urban fabric of our great city.

“Beverly Willis’ film takes us on a rapid ride through time and locations demonstrating how women have been and are, bold leaders and partners in creating the rich fabric of Gotham”. Frances Bronet, President, Pratt Institute.

Beverly Willis: The Artist and the Architect

Purchase a copy of Beverly Willis: The Artist and the Architect→

A suite of films tracing the long, richly varied, and distinguished career of Beverly Willis. Starting as a multi-media artist, Willis evolved into an architectural designer. Her practice included residential, commercial, institutional, and government buildings located across the US, and culminated with her most famous building, the San Francisco Ballet Building in the City’s Civic and Performing Arts Center.

Collection includes: The Artist Beverly Willis: Honolulu and San Francisco Years 1948–1968 (17 min.); The Architect Beverly Willis: San Francisco and New York Years 1958–1995 (20 min.); Built for Ballet: An American Original (18 min.)

Learn more

More films from the Collection

A Girl is a Fellow Here: 100 Women Architects in the Studio of Frank Lloyd Wright

Frank Lloyd Wright, America's most influential architect, died in 1959 at 92, just before the completion of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Preparations for the museum's 50th anniversary celebration uncovered the fact that 100 women worked with Wright during his career. Who were these women? At a time when few architectural firms would hire women, Frank Lloyd Wright unhesitatingly employed women, giving them both training and the opportunity to practice. Ultimately, over 100 women architects and designers worked with Wright, many of them going on to remarkable careers of their own. This film focuses on six of those women—Marion Mahony, Isabel Roberts, Lois Gottlieb, Jane Duncombe, Eleanore Pettersen, and Read Weber.

The Radiant Sun: Designer Ruth Adler Schnee

The Radiant Sun explores the life and work of mid-century American designer Ruth Adler Schnee, who has been called a “Detroit treasure” and an “American legacy.” Along with her family, Schnee fled Nazi Germany soon after Kristalnacht, and settled in Detroit. An internship with industrial designer Raymond Loewy and degrees from RISD and Cranbrook under Eliel Saarinen prepared her for a design career. The film The Radiant Sun adds Adler-Schnee’s story to the growing scholarship on the American Modernist–era and expands knowledge about women designers’ influence on the built environment.