“She’s done everything, except direct” : Polly Platt as visual artist, screenwriter, and producer : a critical career history

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Herndon, Samantha Massey

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This thesis considers filmmaker Polly Platt’s design work, screenwriting, and producing contributions, particularly in the context of American film during the Hollywood Renaissance period from 1967-1980; Platt’s later work in studio film and television production during an era of major media conglomeration, and Platt’s involvement with the Austin Film Festival at the turn of the millennium. Utilizing Platt’s career as a case study, I construct a critical career history of the many projects on which she worked in order to better understand the shifts in opportunities available to women in recent cinema history. I also employ a study of Platt’s unique collaborations and mentorships to question the validity and scope of the auteur theory. Polly Platt is notable for having been a prolific filmmaker who shifted roles and gained agency throughout her working life, yet never achieved a directorial credit. I find that this does not diminish her status as a notable filmmaker who is worthy of further study. Material written by Platt in the form of published books and articles, interviews conducted with Platt and with her collaborators and her family, the films on which she worked, and information about one of the companies she helped to run, Gracie Films, form the materials upon which the thesis is based


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