The Forgotten Girl from God’s Country
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Silent film writer, director, and star, Nell Shipman came to Idaho’s Priest Lake from Hollywood in 1922 with her 10-year-old son, her ill-fated lover-producer, a future Academy Award-winning cinematographer (Joseph Walker) and a personal zoo of 70 animal actors that included bobcats, bears, elk, eagles, deer and sled dogs. She was the first of her kind, a female independent filmmaker who refuted Hollywood’s mistreatment of animals and refused the assured trappings of a studio contract with Samuel Goldfish (soon to be Goldwyn) to produce her own films on-location.
Her storylines of self-reliant women overcoming physical challenges in the wilderness and often, rescuing the male lead, shattered the predictable cinematic formulas of large studio productions. Throughout her prolific but doomed career, Nell wrote what she knew and every story was a reflection of who she was; an unrelenting, unrepentant artistic talent and a self-reliant film pioneer.
Emblematic of an entire lost generation of female producers and directors in silent film, Nell’s legacy of writing, producing and starring in nearly 70 silent films remained a buried treasure in film history until now…
This is where our story of
“The Girl from God’s Country” begins….