So the Venice Film Festival has coped a lot flack recently about the serious lack of female representation amongst the directors of the films chosen, from myself included…
With the excuse being that the films were all selected on merit and it was a complete coincidence that 87% of the films were made by men. The fact of the matter is that with unconscious bias so prevalent in the industry right now nothing can really be chosen on merit unless you have no idea who made the film or where it came from. It’s like science experiments, you have to account for all the variables, and currently there are just too many people who are used to the way things have been for a long time that are still making decisions without considering the allowances that are necessary to push us out of that inequality rut.
This isn’t happening in all festivals, which is another reason why the whole merit thing is a dodgy excuse. Some like TIFF have successfully managed to integrate both female and male directed films into their line up. There are also a bunch of film festivals solely dedicated to women’s films. So here is a list of 10 that you can keep an eye out for.
The Melbourne Women in Film festival started in early 2017 so is fairly fresh but it’s aim is to promote Australian women who work within all areas of screen production and in a range of styles and genres. The works are all by women filmmakers and “showcase the diversity of women’s perspectives through storytelling and conversation.”
2019 Submissions have just opened so if you are a female Australian filmmaker with a film to show head over to their website to check it out.
Hosted in Miami Florida, with the exception of it’s 12th year where it was held in New York City, the festival has been running since 2005 and seeks to act as a platform where women’s voices can be heard. the festival has built up a series of powerful partnerships with companies like Paramount Studios, Mega TV, MTV Films, and held workshops with representatives from PBS, The History Channel, ACTRA, The Discovery Channel, Mega TV, the Directors Guild, and others.
This festival champions film works from women over the age of 50 combating both the sexism and ageist views towards these women in the industry. The next redintion of the festival is coming up on the 20 – 23 September at Picturehouse Duke of York’s, Brighton and Depot, Lewes. there will be 2 features and 50 short films screened at the festival this year made by Women over 50. For more information check out the video below:
This is the first time the film festival has run online and is looking for women directors across the globe. Their focus is on short films with stories from underrepresented perspectives made by diverse crews and its run online. The submissions can come in a variety of genres including episodic content, live action, animation, documentaries, independently-produced pilots, web series, VR, student films, and PSAs. More information can be found on their website but entries are due to open up in Autumn (Northern Hemisphere) 2018.
Held in Beirut Lebanon this festival shows films from around the world made by or about women tackling issues like gender equality, sexual identity, domestic violence and more. The festival ran in March this year and is still acting as a place for women to feel empowered through stories on a screen.
Run by Women in Film Dallas the Chick Flicks film festival comprises of works made by independent women filmmakers. Submissions are now open for this years festival. Women in Film Dallas also run a variety of workshops and other events as well as offer grants and scholarships. Check out the festivals teaser trailer below:
This festival has been going for over 20 years since 1997. Their catchphrase is “See the world through women’s eyes” and over its 20 years has quickly become one of the most renowned women’s film festivals in the world. This year the festival showed 147 films from over 36 countries and, whilst it showcases films from around the world, the festival is also a great opportunity for Korean women filmmakers films to enter the global market as well.
Coming up in November this year is the Underwire Film festival, the UK’s largest film festival for female created content. Founded in 2010 the festival has awarded training and mentoring opportunities to over 50 filmmakers, and has screened over 300 films. The festival has become BAFTA recognised and alongside the festival runs Wired Women a program that hosts discussions, practical workshops and sessions aimed at emerging women in the film industry.
Run by Women’s Voices Now the festival is conducted entirely online as viewers can see all films selected online and vote for their favourites along with a panel of judges who award the prizes. The festival runs over March to April and has been going on and off for about 7 years with the most recent one happening this year.
Founded in 1978 by Jackie Buet, the festival was a response to the struggle female filmmakers had getting their films distributed. Today the festival screens over 50 films from women directors all around the world. The next festival will be held in March next year and submissions are currently still open.
For even more festivals and where I collated my list from click the links below.