Director: Lindalee Tracey
About the Film
Lindalee Tracey's An Irish Woman's Kingdom is a layered, lyrical docu-dramatic
portrait of an irrepressible Irish woman who became a Canadian newspaper
legend. In 1884, a plucky Irish widow named Kathleen Willis, steamed towards
a new life in Toronto. Educated and literary, her fortunes were soon battered
by a bad marriage and responsibility for two children.
Desperate for work, "Kit" took on house cleaning and submitted
stories to local magazines. Soon she had a featured column in the Daily
Mail, and was an instant sensation. "Kit of the Mail" was the
first woman journalist in Canada to be in charge of her own section of
a Canadian newspaper, and her page was so outspoken that it attracted
a wide following, including Prime Minister Sir Wilfred Laurier. Coleman
tackled anything that interested her, including political commentary,
theatre criticism, fashion notes and recipes.
Chafing against low wages and Victorian propriety, she started one of
the first advice columns and wrote forcefully on social reform and women's
issues. While Woman's Kingdom was filled with the required fashion and
domestic trivia, Kit introduced politics and culture, and penned some
of the most searing social commentary on wife abuse and women's working
conditions. She also maneuvered her way into Cuba during the Spanish American
War of 1898, becoming the world's first accredited woman war correspondent.
Six years later, she helped found the Canadian Woman's Press Club. Audacious
and Irish in her love of the word, Kit Coleman syndicated her column to
dozens of newspapers across the country. She finally found love and married
Dr. Theobald Coleman.
In 1915, Kit Coleman died of pneumonia and Canada mourned the passing
of a pioneering journalist and an advocate for social justice.
Filmmaker Lindalee Tracey
creates a visual lacework of Victorian femininity in this complex portrait
of a woman before her time. Embroidered with archival footage, haunting
reenactments and Kit's own writing, the film explores the unique obstacles
facing immigrant women, and the courage of one Irish woman to overcome
Lindalee Tracey is the originator
as well as co-producer of A Scattering of Seeds. Of Irish and French Canadian
heritage, she was drawn to the story of Kit Coleman, as she says, "like
a moth to a flame."