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The Story of the Mexican Screenplay

A Study of the Invisible Art Form and Interviews with Women Screenwriters

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Maria Teresa DePaoli

The Story of the Mexican Screenplay: A Study of the Invisible Art Form and Interviews with Women Screenwriters contributes to the international development of screenplay studies. While the debate on the ontology of the screenplay continues, a fact remains clear for screenwriters: the screenplay is the film’s skeleton and the main base that sustains a story told through images. Certainly, lack of visibility, including publication, distribution, and promotion, are some of the problems that the screenplay confronts, but these are not the only challenges. Traditionally, the form has been unappreciated and regarded by many as only an initial step in the complexity of film production. In this study, the author elaborates on the cultural baggage that the screenplay carries since it is text imbued with multiple signs that – for various reasons – often get lost in the process and never make it to the screen. In this context, the author touches on the concept of adaptation since it is often a key element in screenplay research.
The Story of the Mexican Screenplay focuses on a general historical investigation of the Mexican screenplay, specifically on women’s screenwriting. In addition to screenplay analysis, the interviews with women screenwriters are revealing of various cultural issues such as gender discrimination in the work place, political censorship, collective screenwriting, and collaboration among writers, and with the director. These topics explain, in part, the double marginalization of female screenwriting in Mexico.
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Acknowledgments

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I heartily thank Laura Kanost, who from the beginning embraced the idea of studying the screenplay, and promoting the unpublished work of Mexican female screenwriters among Anglo readers. She achieved the finest screenplay translations. Many thanks to all the authors who participated in the interviews: Marcela Fernández Violante, Paz Alicia Garciadiego, Busi Cortés, Carmen Cortés, Cecilia Pérez-Grovas, and Carolina Rivera. Their insight as screenwriters working in the Mexican film industry was instrumental. I am also deeply indebted to my students, who have continually motivated me by being as interested in reading and discussing screenplays as they are in watching and exploring finished films. Special thanks go to: Floyd Merrell, Laura Kanost, Melinda Cro, Necia Chronister, and Sara Luly, for reading early draft portions of the manuscript, and providing thoughtful suggestions. I also received valuable comments from many colleagues participating at Annual Screenwriting Research Network Conferences held in Copenhagen 2010, Brussels 2011, and Sidney 2012. Among them were Steven Price, Steven Maras, Jule Selbo, Eva Novrup, Mette Mortensen, and Ian Macdonald. This project could not have been finished without the support of the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, The College of Arts and Sciences and the Department of Modern Language at Kansas State University. The Cineteca Nacional of Mexico, in particular Caty Bloch, enabled me to contact female screenwriters, and obtain their unpublished screenplays.

I dedicate this book to my family. My mother, my husband, Michael, and my children—Leilani, Tessie, and...

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