About the Film

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Film Synopsis

Acting Like Women: Performance Art and the Woman’s Building, a 75-minute documentary by Cheri Gaulke, revisits the California feminist art movement of the 1970s and 80s, particularly the explosion of a new art form called performance art. The Woman's Building in Los Angeles was an incubator for new art forms and practices – feminist performance art, ritual, collaboration, social engagement and media interventions. Women artists from all over the country headed west like pioneers drawn by the optimism of the California spirit. They created art that moved beyond the art world into streets, diverse communities, and people’s lives.

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Director and Film Team

Director/Writer Cheri Gaulke is a pioneer in the feminist art movement in Los Angeles affiliated with the Woman’s Building working in film and visual art. Her films have screened in national and international film festivals. Gaulke’s work has been presented at the Museum of Modern Art (NY), the Museum of Contemporary Art (LA), in a Smithsonian-touring exhibition, and in settings all over the world including buses, churches, and prehistoric temples. Known for her solo performance art, she also co-founded the collaborative performance groups Feminist Art Workers and Sisters Of Survival which were featured in a Getty-sponsored exhibition. Gaulke's film Gloria's Call screened in over 35 festivals and won Best Documentary at the Ann Arbor Film Festival, among other awards.


Writer Anne Gauldin is a feminist artist, graphic designer, and business entrepreneur. She received her M.A. through the Feminist Studio Workshop at the Los Angeles Woman’s Building, exploring prehistoric archaeological sites in Western Europe and contemporary feminist art and education. Gauldin served as the Slide Librarian at the Woman’s Building overseeing the archives and the Center for Feminist Art Historical Studies collection created by Arlene Raven and Ruth Iskin. Gauldin was a founding member of The Waitresses and Sisters Of Survival performance art collectives, worked as a typographer in the Women’s Graphic Center and ran her own successful graphic design company for many years. Recently she collaborated with Cheri Gaulke as a producer and writer of the 2018 documentary film Gloria’s Call. Gauldin’s work has been exhibited and performed both nationally and internationally. 


Producer J. Cheryl Bookout is an artist, curator, nonprofit administrator and arts advocate. Bookout is currently the Executive Director of The Chimaera Project, a nonprofit organization that advocates for filmmakers identifying as female; 2012-2016 President of the Southern California Women’s Caucus for Art; currently a board member for Mil-Tree Veteran Project and the Joshua Tree Retreat Center. She has coordinated large-scale collaborative public art projects such as Envisioning the Future (2000-2003) with renowned artist Judy Chicago and 80 artists from the greater Southern California region. Bookout has co-produced three short films: I Am Be (2016) and Gloria’s Call (2018) directed by Cheri Gaulke and was the director for the short film (2017) short documentary film, Sanctuary; she currently has two films in development.  


Producer: Jill D’Agnenica is a multiple award-winning filmmaker and visual artist. The Los Angeles Times called Jill’s directorial debut Life Inside Out (starring Maggie Baird and Finneas O’Connell,) “a gentle, poignant drama whose heart and head are squarely in the right place...with tender direction by Jill D’Agnenica.” Premiering at the 2013 Heartland Film Festival, it won the Crystal Heart Award for Narrative Feature and Best Premiere, and  later screened at 21 festivals, receiving 16 awards. As an editor, D’Agnenica has crafted 76 hours of prime-time television on How to Get Away with Murder (ABC), Lucifer (Fox), Pretty Little Liars (Freeform), Switched at Birth (Freeform), Undercovers (NBC), Hollywood Heights (Nickelodeon), The Division (Lifetime), and most recently Freeform’s Party of Five reboot. D’Agnenica is a member of the Motion Picture Editors Guild and the Directors Guild of America and is an ACE nominee. 


Composer Miriam Cutler emerged on the women’s music scene in the 1970s as a solo artist and member of the New Miss Alice Stone Ladies Society Orchestra. She performed in 1975 for the Building Women concert that included performances by Lily Tomlin, Holly Near and other iconic feminist performers of the day. She is now one of the most sought after composers for documentary films including most recently RBG, Dark Money, The Hunting Ground, and Love, Gilda. Miriam Cutler is passionate about scoring documentaries, among them Emmy-winning, Sundance, and Oscar-nominated films. Cutler has scored over 100 films and television programs, written songs for film and tv, created music for circus and theater projects, produced and recorded albums, and performed live in many bands and venues. Cutler has composed music for several of Gaulke’s films and they have an excellent working relationship. 

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Thanks to our funders and advisors

We are grateful to have received funding from The Puffin Foundation and California Humanities - California Documentary Project for the Research and Development phase. We are currently researching archives for film and photographic documentation of performance art, and interviews with performance artists. 


Our scholar and production advisors include: 

  • Kate Amend (editor of two Academy Award-winning documentaries, Governor, AMPAS Documentary Branch, Adjunct Professor, USC School of Cinematic Arts) - Editorial Consultant
  • Betty Ann Brown (Art History, California State University Northridge)
  • Judy Chicago (Feminist Artist, Arts Educator & Scholar, Through the Flower)
  • Catherine Gudis (Director, Public History Program; Pollitt Endowed Chair in Interdisciplinary Research and Learning in the Humanities and Social Sciences, University of California Riverside)
  • Amelia Jones (Art Critic, Robert A. Day Professor of Art & Design, Vice Dean of Research, Chair Critical Studies, University of Southern California Roski School of Art and Design)
  • Suzanne Lacy (Art, Roski School of Art and Design, University of Southern California)
  • Sheila Levrant de Bretteville (Professor, Yale University School of Art)
  • Sue Maberry (Director of the Library and Instructional Technology, Otis College of Art and Design, recently retired) - Research and Archive Consultant
  • Laura Meyer (Art History, Fresno State College of Arts and Humanities) 


The Chimaera Project is our fiscal receiver. You may donate to the film by clicking on the DONATE button. At The Chimaera Project site please specify Acting Like Women. Thank you!

Thank you to our partners

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