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Last month, a new database called the International Fairy-Tale Filmography was opened to the public by renowned fairy tale researcher and author Jack Zipes, along with his colleagues Pauline Greenhill and Kendra Magnus Johnston.  Now, anyone can search this free, unlimited database for information on fairy tale productions, some of which even have links to the films themselves that can be viewed online.  Pauline Greenhill has provided me with a bit more information on the creation of this intriguing resource.  Here is what she had to say:

In 2011, colleagues and I received a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Grant, “Fairy Tale Films:  Exploring Ethnographic Perspectives.”  The timing was auspicious, following publication of my and Sidney Eve Matrix’s Fairy Tale Films: Visions of Ambiguity in 2010, and Jack Zipes’s The Enchanted Screen:  The Unknown History of Fairy-Tale Films in 2011.  We all felt a strong sense of momentum.  In the same year, my University of Winnipeg department of Women’s and Gender Studies received another SSHRC grant, “The Arts, New Media, and Cultural Democracy.” My sub-project began as an online digital exhibit of two related Canadian fairy tales, “Peg Bearskin” and “La Poiluse.”  This failed pilot helped me clearly identify desiderata for any online project, including user-friendliness for those inputting the information; quick access to fixes and support; a reliable server; and materials available online but not requiring direct permission for use.

At our August 2011 research meeting, Zipes discussed his disappointment with the limited and dated Enchanted Screen filmography.  A year later, he told Kendra Magnus-Johnston and me that he had extensive updates and further information.  We all recognized that an online resource would alleviate problems with a print filmography, including size limitations; expense; datedness on publication; and impossibility of improving.  As a resource that would be consulted by the general public as well as by scholars in film, fairy-tale studies, folklore, children’s literature, and cultural studies, an online filmography fit both grants’ aims.

The University of Winnipeg Technology Solutions Centre’s Robin Atwill, Andrew Blahuta, and Darko Zirdum developed the program.  These accomplished professionals knew better than I what was needed and what was possible.  I had envisioned something like a glorified spreadsheet program, but hoped for something a bit more attractive, and easier to use.  I hope you will agree, and find it beneficial!

The best place to start is the “How-To Video,” or try “Search by.”  For example, if you to enter “Snow Queen” under Title, you’ll get films with “Snow Queen” in their title.  But if you enter “Snow Queen” under “Origin” it will prompt you to “The Snow Queen, Hans Christian Andersen” and you’ll get all films with references to that story, whether or not they are actually called “Snow Queen.”  “Origin” also allows you to search ATU tale types.  For example, for “Little Red Riding Hood” you can begin entering any of the latter words, or “333” (the ATU number) and it will prompt you to “Little Red Riding Hood (ATU 333).”

You can also search by Director, Person, Company, Country, or Language.  Soon we hope to have cross searches available, so that you could, for example, find all French language fairy-tale films produced in Canada.  The “About” link has both a welcome video featuring Jack Zipes and information about the filmography, including our definition of fairy tales and fairy-tale films, what we have and have not included, and online resources.  If you click on any of the film titles in the filmography proper, you will find further information about it, including links.  For films made before 1939, or otherwise in the public domain, links to the actual film are sometimes available from online archives.

You may also make a suggestion for a film we should add (under “Contribute”) and/or raise any questions, concerns, or ideas under “Contact Us.”  Please don’t hesitate to do so.  We would appreciate hearing from you!

Click here to check out the site for yourself!

beauty and the beast