This introductory chapter provides an overview of the role of women in the Brazilian film industry during the twentieth century. Brazilian women have been channeling their visions of politics and society through cinema throughout the twentieth century. From the beginnings of sound cinema to the close of the studio era, pioneer Brazilian women filmmakers sought out their own opportunities from within the structures of the film industry. They often began as actresses who learned the craft of filmmaking and influenced a film's production while on set. Others relied on their personal finances to produce their own films, referred to as cavação—a staple of production practices in Brazil during the early twentieth century. However, it was on the heels of the international success of Cinema Novo that women began gaining a more solid foothold in filmmaking in Brazil.
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