Cine-Sister’s first screening!

If you’re in Manchester this weekend come and see the launch of my first film programming venture Cine-Sister!

Support female filmmakers and some fantastic charities (MASH, Women’s Aid, & Shelter) and there’s loads of other great stuff happening at the event. The screening starts at 2pm on the 4th of March 2017 in at Texture, 67 Lever St, Manchester.

Cine-Sister will be launching with a short film screening featuring 7 female directed/produced films. The films in this screening deal with themes of gender, race, religion, body and identity. There is a mixture of drama, comedy, animation and documentary short films so there is something for everyone to enjoy and learn from.

You can find out more about the films here: https://cinesisterfilm.com/wonder-women-4th-of-march/

This screening is part of Wonder Women 2017 at an event held by Traffic MCR and you can find out more here:

https://www.facebook.com/events/1333296603410652/

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She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry (2014) Review.

On Friday the 21st of August I attended a screening of She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry at the London Feminist Film Festival in the Rio Cinema. Directed by Mary Dore, this documentary celebrates the almost forgotten history of the women’s liberation movement from 1966-1971.

Shes-Beautiful-When-Shes-Angry-Screenshot

She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry is a mix  of modern day interviews weaved together with archival footage of protests, meetings and political speeches. Whilst it mostly focuses on gender it also touches on the intersectionality of race and lesbianism and the conflicts that did arise through these issues within the feminist movement and continue to today. The best thing about this documentary is that it encapsulates the spirit of the 1960s-70s without romanticising the time period, it is both funny, infuriating and heartbreaking at times, particularly when discussing the illegal Jane Collective who helped thousands of women have safe abortions. I found the film particularly interesting as most of what was shown was completely knew to me, it’s scary really how much of women’s history can be lost.

The film is both exhilarating in energy and poignant about highlighting these issues in a modern context and even points out that some rights gained during this time period are now being taken away in the USA (for example, reproductive rights).  As discussed in the panel after the screening the film did have some problematic elements, barely covering racial tensions in the feminist movement and leaving out trans women altogether. I do sympathise however, as this was a huge topic to cover in a feature length film.

Overall, I very much enjoyed the film and hope it gets a UK distributor so more people can see it!

Sybil

Here is my latest short film Sybil which I wrote, directed and edited. It is based on an old English folktale called “Bearnshaw tower and Lady Sybil”. This is the first fiction film I have written and directed. I was inspired to make this when I saw The Tale of the Princess Kaguya at the cornerhouse a few months ago, which is based on the oldest Japanese folktale in known history.  I went home and did some research into the lesser known English folklore. I came across the story of Lady Sybil and adapted it into an original, modern story. The film ended up being quite experimental. The main themes in Sybil are that of escape, fantasy and entrapment. It was important for me when writing to not give the protagonist dialogue, I wanted to give a more key focus on the sound design and visual aspects of the film which is something I really wanted to try. I did some research into how I wanted to add in the more fantasy style elements to the film visually, such as using the projector, lighting and a rotating star light for children. I was inspired by a youtube video showing how light and colour changed perceptions and shape of the human face and wanted to experiment with that.

To be honest, the film did not turn out the way I wanted due to mistakes, time and equipment failures but we did our best!

The Feminist Takeover.

Tomorrow on the 5th of March there will be a feminist takeover of Manchester art gallery as part of the launch of Wonder Woman week. I helped organise this event with a group of feminists and artists and will be there filming it tomorrow night! We’ve got a huge range of art from women mainly based in the North West.

feministtakeoversmall

Taken from the Press Release:

From suffragette smashing windows in the gallery to a breathtaking exhibition of female surrealists, Manchester has a rich heritage of stereotype-smashing women. Yet society, and the art world, is still dominated by men. ‘In Emergency Break Glass’ brings together the North’s best emerging female contemporary artists, performers & creatives to challenge the male-dominated artistic canon, respond to the gallery’s artworks and inspire attendees. Curated by The Feminist Takeover team (made up of feminist artists, curators, writers and researchers, protagonists from No More Page 3, For Book’s Sake, Mighty Heart Theatre and Stirred Poetry),

This Thursday Late will run from 5.30-8, with events beginning in the Atrium at 6pm. Audiences are invited to tour the new contemporary exhibition that we have installed within the permanent collection. Live performances are scheduled all evening throughout the gallery and within the Feminist Takeover hub in the Atrium, and audiences are welcomed to explore the issues for themselves via the interactive arts & artist discussions that will be occurring throughout the evening in the Atrium.

By giving self-identified women a voice in the context of Manchester Art Gallery we aim to encourage discussion and explore the issues around the representation of women within the gallery, the art world and the wider society.

If any of my followers are based in Manchester, this will be a great event and I hope you attend!

The facebook event can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1374843142834105/

Women in the Film Industry.

This is a subject I’ve been wanted to discuss for a while now. Recently the Geena Davis study into women in film  had it’s results published. The study showed that only 21% of filmmakers are female. There have been several studies into women in the film industry, the documentary Miss Representation stated in 2011 that only 16% of all Directors, Producers, Cinematographers and Editors are women. Furthermore, Stephen Follows investigated the percentage of women in film crews in July 2014, discovering that the number of women in a film crew has actually DECLINED in the last 20 years.

Now as an aspiring female filmmaker these statistics are incredibly disheartening, especially noting that just under half of the people on my filmmaking course are female so, it’s not as if  the vast majority of people studying the subject are men.  However, this has made me reflect on the work that I’ve done and been a part of, very few people I’ve worked with in a filmmaking environment are women. So these statistics makes a lot of sense.

Full info graphic can be found here: http://www.unwomen.org/en/news/stories/2014/9/infographic-on-gender-bias-in-media

It is quite frustrating knowing that women, who make up half the world’s population are not represented in this industry which is only of the most widely accessible and widely consumed art form and media outlet along with Photography and Graphic Design. It is incredibly important that women break into this industry because currently mainstream film is full of very male dominated stories, and the stories that do feature a prominent female character are still often controlled by male filmmakers.

So there is still a lot of progress to be made and I think it’s important that these issues are discussed.

An article from Little White Lies magazine:

http://www.littlewhitelies.co.uk/features/articles/how-women-can-improve-their-lot-in-the-film-industry-28135

Here is a great video from youtuber Rosianna Halse Rojas discussing the Stephen Follows report on the gender of film crews:

 

Feminist Society Documentary

Screenshot (51)See the documentary here: https://emilysteelefilm.wordpress.com/video-gallery-2/

From the start I knew I wanted to make a documentary about Feminism in University. The only thing that changed throughout the project is how I structured the film and the topics within Feminism that the documentary addressed. At the beginning of the module I had recently watched “Miss Representation”, A Sundance documentary that resonated very strongly with me in its topics and style. However, that was an hour and a half whereas mine was a maximum of 8 minutes so obviously I could not mention the majority of the topics within the film from a student perspective so I decided that my project would, although be inspired by “Miss Representation” be covering a Feminist Society at University which is something not mentioned in “Miss Representation”.

I was fortunate because a week after I had decided to make a documentary on Student Perspectives of Feminism the Student Union Website posted that a Feminist Society was being formed at the University. I attended the initial meeting although I was not allowed to film anything during the meeting so as not to make anyone uncomfortable whilst discussing sensitive issues in Feminism. I did catch the founders of the society at the end of the meeting which began the filming process of my documentary. The society was very supportive of this project in the hope that it would be able to help tackle some of the misconceptions of Feminism and encourage more people to either join the society of simply be less afraid of the word Feminism.

I think one of the main issues I had whilst making this Documentary is that the topic of Feminism is so broad it was incredibly difficult to cover anything in 8 minutes or less. Also, there are so many different sectors in feminism that people align themselves to it was difficult to not sway to any of them. What I wanted to portray was that at a simple core level, Feminism is inclusive and strives for equal rights for all genders including non-binary people. Another issue was that I was conflicted between making the documentary a discussion with Feminists and Non-Feminists or whether I should just have it from the Feminist Society’s point of view. As a Feminist myself I tried to keep my own opinions out of the way but I don’t think I was very impartial. I did decide in the end to make the documentary very focused on seeing a Feminist perspective into University life which is something that highlighted a lot of issues that I don’t think many people knew even existed as we simply accept the aspects of University that include LAD and Rape Culture as a given without saying that this behaviour is not acceptable. This was again something I wanted to highlight in my documentary.