On Friday 29 November an almost sold out crowd at the Hackney Picturehouse witnessed a great selection of films during our ACTIVISM screening featuring four films: Foot for Love: The Thokozani Football Club in Paris, The Campaigner, To Hear Her Voice and At Home, in Bed and in the Streets (En la Casa, la Cama y la Calle).
We were blessed to have panellists from each film present on the panel and after the screening we heard from Elise Lobry and Veronica Noseda (directors, Foot for Love), Rebecca Brand (director, The Campaigner) and Clare Neylon (director, To Hear Her Voice), as well as Helen Dixon (featured in En la Casa, la Cama y la Calle). The panel was chaired by LFFFer Nicola Chang (MA Latin American Cultural Studies student at Birkbeck University) and you can now watch the discussion on our YouTube channel via the link below.
A week ago today, we were amongst about 120 lucky people who witnessed the International Festival Premiere of Nevline Nnaji’s Reflections Unheard: Black Women in Civil Rights at the 2013 London Feminist Film Festival.
The screening of the film was followed by a thought-provoking panel discussion featuring director Nevline Nnaji, who had flown in from the USA to attend the premiere of her film at the 2013 London Feminist Film Festival. You can now watch the full panel discussion chaired by Brenna Bhandar (SOAS) and featuring director Nevline Nnaji, Hayley A. Reid (documentary filmmaker) and Sunera Thobani (visiting fellow at LSE Gender Institute) via our YouTube channel below.
We just want to say a massive thank you to everyone who was involved in LFFF this year!
Thanks to: the directors who submitted their fantastic films; the panellists and chairs who contributed to our lively panel discussions; our amazing LFFF volunteers; our jury members; Picturehouse staff; the afterparty artists, performers, and DJs; the Arch Gallery for hosting our afterparty; and all the people who came along to the festival!
We hope you all enjoyed LFFF 2013!
On Saturday 30 Nov from 7pm to 3am we had our LFFF 2013 afterparty and awards ceremony at the Arch Gallery. Lots of you came along to celebrate the festival with us and we were joined by many of the filmmakers and panellists who had helped to make LFFF 2013 such a success.
We had music from Hatty & Sophie and Faith Taylor and spoken word by Bridget Minamore.
And artworks on the walls by Claudine O’Sullivan and Josie Rae Turnbull.
We announced the winners of the Best Feature Film, Best Short Film, and Feminist Favourite Audience Award! The awards went to….
Best Feature Film: The Cut by Beryl Magoko
Best Short Film: Blank Canvas by Sarah Berkovich
Feminist Favourite Audience Award: Daughters of the Niger Delta by Ilse van Lamoen
We projected videos of Beryl and Sarah’s acceptance speeches onto the wall of the gallery and will be putting all three winners’ certificates in the post to them.
Later on, DJs Alison King, Angelica, and Vinyl Library were on the decks.
Thanks to everyone who came to the party!!
Saturday was the last day of LFFF 2013 and what a jam-packed, inspiring day it was!
We started off with HERSTORIES at 3.30pm. Five films were shown: Through the Glass Ceiling, La Forza Non Basta, Waiting For You, The Yellow Wallpaper, and Joy It’s Nina. We had representatives from three of the films with us for a panel discussion chaired by Abbe Fletcher.
Next up, at 6.00pm, was the kick-ass FEMINIST CLASSIC Born in Flames by Lizzie Borden which was shown after the short animation Smile by Nadia Barbu. Nadia joined us for the panel along with Natalie Wreyford and chair Sadie Wearing, and an interesting discussion was had about the two films and about women in the film industry in general.
Then it was time for our LFFF 2013 afterparty and awards ceremony at the Arch Gallery!! See our separate post on that! :)
Sadia Halima’s film Laal Pari screened at LFFF 2013 on 27 November at 6.30pm as part of the sold out INSPIRING WOMEN session of short films. We spoke to her about her film.
Where did you hear of Laal Pari and what inspired you to capture her story?
I’m from the same region in Bihar, India as Laal Pari, the film’s protagonist. While growing up I saw many women around me who would exercise their agency in their own way – it was always very inspiring to see that. So I wanted to break myths surrounding those women who are generally considered to be oppressed and in need of saving by outsiders. To answer your first question, I met Laal Pari during my field study in a meeting of all elected women representatives, where she was very forthcoming about the issues which she and most of the elected women representatives of the village councils face.
Her grit and fearlessness were remarkable and I couldn’t get her out of my mind, and next thing I found myself following her on all her field trips and meetings.
What is your background and how did you get into filmmaking?
I come from a small town where filmmaking especially for a girl was unthinkable and I had not thought I would ever become one. But one thing led to another, I went to the University of Delhi to pursue my undergraduate studies in Mass Communication, and that exposed me to the variety of options and I realised I particularly enjoyed films and filmmaking. My first short documentary was on contemporary Indian Muslim women in New Delhi and around, and it was a thrill to make. After that I worked in film and television production, eventually realising I wanted to work on my own independent projects which led me to film school at the University of California, Santa Cruz. For me the process of filmmaking was a gradual one but surprising nonetheless.
What challenges did you encounter making Laal Pari? How did you fund it?
The main challenge I had was time, or lack of it. I had only two and a half months and most of that went into field study because I wanted to do very extensive field research before embarking on the film. This eventually really helped because it also became a vehicle for talent/story scouting for the film.
I was partially funded through grants, and being in grad school helped with renting out equipment from the UC Santa Cruz’s film lab.
What are your plans for the future? And is there a running theme throughout your projects?
I’m looking for funding to finish stories of other women leaders who I have also filmed but who could not make it into the film. I would like to produce webisodes of these elected women leaders working passionately in rural grassroots politics. And I would like to continue making more films.
I didn’t think of a running theme before, but to think of it it seems I like to make films that challenge stereotypes related to women and their experiences. My earlier film A Woman Is a Woman First on contemporary Indian Muslim women and Laal Pari a story of an illiterate elected woman leader’s journey in grassroots politics in rural India both break a certain misconception about women in our society, especially women in third world countries.
What is your favourite feminist film?
A feminist film for me would be a film that is true to a woman’s experience. There are quite a few films that are made with that sensitivity. One film that particularly touched me was an Iranian film Roozi Ke Zan Shodam (The Day I Became a Woman) directed by Marzieh Meshkini Makhmalbaf. It is a beautiful film that brings together three generations of women in different contexts together. Beautiful and thoughtful storytelling.
Interview by Carla Grande
On Thursday we screened the International Festival Premiere of Reflections Unheard: Black Women in Civil Rights by Nevline Nnaji. The screening was sold out and we unfortunately had to turn away many disappointed people. Nevline and the other panellists – Sunera Thobani, Hayley Reid, and chair Brenna Bhandar – provided a fascinating discussion.
The session after Reflections on Thursday was entitled EXPECTATIONS and was a series of shorts about societal expectations of women. Aabida dealt with the expectations for a widow to act a certain way, The Lala Road talked to lesbians in China navigating the pressures to marry and have children, and Bref explored the topic of FGM from a Spanish perspective. Joining us for the discussion were Bref director Christina Pitouli, Nimco Ali from Daughters of Eve who campaign against FGM, Margaret Glover who supervised work on Aabida, and Claire Bennett who has done research on lesbian women’s experience of migration.
Daughters of the Niger Delta was our first screening on Friday, shown with the short Para Kay Ama. A lively discussion ensued after the screening, including about how to empower women and how to hold the powers that be accountable. We had six great panellists from different organisations: Sarah Maguire (Nigeria Stability and Reconciliation Programme, who had directly witnessed the film’s capacity to spark dialogue at the grassroots), Jenny Chika Okafor (Nigerian Women’s Leadership Forum), Carron Mann (Women for Women International), Betty Makoni (Girl Child Network Worldwide), Antonia Adebisi Adebowale (Nigerian Women in Diaspora UK), and the chair Simi Dosekun.
Friday finished off with our ACTIVISM session with four inspiring films showing amazing women activists campaigning on different causes. We had a representative from each of the four films there for the panel discussion which was chaired by LFFFer Niki Chang.
We hope you’ll join us for more today – the final day of LFFF 2013!