Most books are a labour of love. Ours demanded more: a leap of faith, monastic perseverance and a cathartic sense of humour when our lives, independently and simultaneously, presented us with non-negotiable urgencies. It was the help of many people that made our journey through various stages of writing this book pleasurable, possible and rewarding.
We owe our vote of gratitude to Gillian Leslie for taking on a project at a time when words such as pioneering, niche or avant-garde were not even at the adjective horizon for the type of research and methodology proposed by us. Her decision was not an exercise in supporting feminist scholarship, but the expression of an astute editorial sense for topics that break the mould, challenge comfortable interpretative frameworks and demand, all risks assumed, a dialogue with future generations of international scholars. Gillian and her colleagues, Richard Strachan, Eddie Clark and Rebecca Mackenzie, have helped us navigate the production of the book with the type of generosity and diplomacy that qualifies professional collaborations.
The book relies on considerable archival research and we wish to thank the staff at different archives and acknowledge their generous help, and the use of their materials, particularly Phillip Collins (IAC), Jane Fish (IWM), Jayne Pucknell (Bristol Archives), Nigel Buckley and Glyn Hughes (Alpine Club Library), Kevin Greenbank (CSAS), Shona Gonnella, Stephanie Ashcroft and Lois Langmead (NLS), Megan McCooley (YFA), Jane King (SASE), Sue Malden and Angela Martin (BEHP) Angela Graham and Jane Alvey (EAFA), Richard Shenton (MACE), David Parsons (NEFA) and Marion Hewitt, Will McTaggart and Mark Boden (NWFA).
To our British women amateur filmmakers, we also owe a special thanks as their interest in this film genre, and the stories we have discovered, lie at the heart of this book. There are also a number of individuals who have been extremely generous with their time and advice. We are particularly grateful to Tim Healey, John Bridcut, Ciara Chambers, Karen Lury, Kevin Brownlow, Katherine Prior, Ian Baxter and Brian Dunckley. To Michael Turner, Stephen Herbert and John Shearsmith we offer thanks for their timely contributions.
(p.xi) The courage and faith we had in completing our book manuscript on time has drawn strength from the friendship offered by Anna, Melanie and others, and, in particular, has been sustained by our families’ patience, understanding and encouragement. This book belongs to them as much as it is our project: Steve Nicholson, Eric L. Mayes, Dorothy Norris and Adrian Ilie Motrescu supported us, laughed with us and believed in us even when our stories about the book resembled surreal monologues. For their love and comedic disruptions, our non-verbal thanks to Pushkin, Schmitz, Squidz-Yamaneko, Toby, Shinobu and Olya.
Finally, if we were to dedicate our book, we will opt again for inspiring, courageous and visionary women: Doina Constanta Motrescu, and Katya and Vikka Nicholson.