Terra Femme

  • Courtney Stephens
  • United States
  • 2021
  • 63 min
  • Dutch Premiere
  • IDFA on Stage

It’s difficult to imagine now, but a hundred years ago great areas of the world were still terra incognita for most people. Long-distance travel was the exclusive preserve of well-to-do adventurers, most of them male. The arrival of lightweight film cameras unlocked the globe for anyone who could afford a cinema ticket.

This stunningly beautiful found-footage film comprises edited scenes shot by inquisitive women who travelled the world in the first half of the last century—women such as Mrs. Dixon, a widow from Philadelphia, crossing into the arctic circle on a pleasure cruise. She shot the crystal-clear footage of lightly dressed people slithering across an icy plain against an imposing backdrop of snow-covered mountains.

As part of IDFA onstage, filmmaker Courtney Stephens will perform her accompanying narration live, in the style of an illustrated travel lecture from that time period. In her text, she raises questions about what these filmmakers were actually seeing.

Nominated for the Beeld en Geluid IDFA ReFrame Award


  • 63 min
  • color / black and white
  • DCP
  • Spoken languages: English
  • Subtitles in: English
Courtney Stephens
Courtney Stephens
Courtney Stephens, Dounia Sichov
Sound Design
Paul Hill
Sarah Davahi

IDFA history

Dutch Premiere
IDFA on Stage

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IDFA history

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