June 10, 2024

In the vast expanse of film history, certain individuals emerge for their unique cinematic contributions and their profound influence on societal norms and cultural dialogue. Ula Stoeckl, a pioneering feminist filmmaker and UCF Film Professor, is undeniably one of these luminaries. Rachel Braaten, a distinguished alumna of the Texts and Technology PhD program at the University of Central Florida (UCF), brings her own distinct perspective to the exploration of Stoeckl’s legacy, a perspective that is both scholarly and creative.

Rachel Braaten’s academic expertise and passion for filmmaking converge in her exploration of Ula Stoeckl’s life and works. Stoeckl’s groundbreaking career, a guiding light for aspiring filmmakers and advocates of gender equality, is a testament to the transformative power of cinema. Braaten’s thesis delves into the intricacies of Stoeckl’s cinematic works, shedding light on the socio-cultural landscape of post-war Germany and the emergence of feminist voices in cinema.

Rachel Braaten’s documentary film ULA is a significant addition to the discourse on Ula Stoeckl. In this 19-minute cinematic tribute, Braaten traces Stöckl’s journey as a filmmaker, delving into her artistic process and the obstacles she overcame in a male-dominated industry. ULA not only celebrates Stoeckl’s impact on the cinematic landscape but also reflects on the ongoing struggle for gender equality in the film industry.

To further commemorate Stoeckl’s legacy and facilitate a dialogue between generations of filmmakers, Enzian Theatre in Maitland, Florida, hosted a Meet the Filmmaker event on May 18th featuring a screening of Stoeckl’s seminal work, The Cat Has Nine Lives (1968). This film, a testament to Stoeckl’s narrative prowess and keen sociopolitical insight, explores female friendship, agency and societal disillusionment. Following the screening, Braaten orchestrated a moderated discussion with Ula Stoeckl, giving audiences a rare opportunity to glean insights from the filmmaker.

Through her scholarship, documentary filmmaking, and curatorial endeavors, Braaten pays homage to Ula Stoeckl’s pioneering spirit while inspiring future generations to show diverse voices in the cinematic landscape. In the ever-evolving saga of film history, figures like Stoeckl and advocates like Braaten remind us of the transformative potential of storytelling to illuminate, provoke and inspire.

Watch the trailer to Braaten’s film here.