Underwire Film Festival had its launch last Thursday and I had the pleasure of being there. A festival that aims to showcase the raw cinematic talents of female filmmakers, it focuses particularly on women at the beginning of their filmmaking careers.
Receiving over 100 shorts in the two months they were open for entries, Underwire has concentrated on the key filmmaking disciplines, recognising films that particularly excel in areas such as, directing, producing, screenwriting, cinematography and editing. A refreshing take on most festivals where directors are often the only people that achieve any type of spotlight.
Awards for each category have been donated by the festival’s impressive list of sponsors and partner organisations Birds Eye View, Euroscript, Little White Lies, VET, Women in Film and Television who’s head of communications and operations, Rebecca Brand led a panel of industry professionals as they spoke openly about their work and the constant struggle of working in the film industry. There was also a special film category sponsored by the human rights organisation Object, which questioned the representation of women in film where both male and female filmmakers where encouraged to enter their shorts.
Aside from the film screenings, UnderWire had events that provoked discussion and thought; with talks from the UK feminista founder Kat Banyard who spoke openly about the need for fair representation of women on and off the screen, a screenwriting master class from the internationally acclaimed Linda Aronson and an event co-produced with Jackal Films showcasing their one-film-a-month escapades and discussing the challenges for women in comedy both in front and behind the camera.
In the 2009 top 250 US box office films only 7% of all directors working were female. Not only does this mean there are not enough females working within the film industry, it also means that male’s are left to create the representations of women alone. Representations they often get very wrong.
I was lucky enough to speak to the two women behind UnderWire. Gemma Mitchell, established as a film producer in her own right and now the proud creator of a second film festival (the first being YARN) and Gabriella Apicella, a screenwriter, lecturer and founder of the night Storytails. We spoke about the reasons they felt so passionate about creating the UnderWire Film Festival.
Don’t forget that your part of a community and that you are assisting a community, embrace that.