FEMINIST ANIMATION SCREENING
Leeds Animation Workshop is a not-for-profit, cooperative company, run by women, which produces animated films on social issues. We’ll be showing a selection of their best feminist shorts from the last four decades, followed by a Q&A with women from the Workshop. We’ll also have an exhibition of their artwork and archive material in the Rio Cinema foyer.
Give Us a Smile
Director: Leeds Animation Workshop / 13 mins / 1983 / Rating: 15 / UK
Shows the effect of the harassment women live with every day, ranging from ‘street humour’ and media stereotyping to actual physical violence. Using quotes from real cases, it also shows how women who report rape are often subject to further harassment by the police and legal system. The film was made by women who lived in Leeds during the 1970s and early 80s, when a series of murderous sexual attacks by the so-called Yorkshire Ripper led to a virtual ‘curfew on women’. In response, the many women’s groups already active in the area decided it was time to put their own point of view. An upbeat and often humorous challenge to question what is often taken for granted, with a final sequence showing ways women are fighting back. Featuring music by Lindsay Cooper who wrote the music for Sally Potter’s The Gold Diggers. The film’s criticism of the mass media, sexual harassment, and the objectification of women, as well as the solutions it suggests, are as relevant and thought-provoking today as when the film was released 35 years ago.
Through the Glass Ceiling
Director: Leeds Animation Workshop / 17 mins / 1994 / UK
Fairytale-based animation about equal opportunities for women, firmly set in the real world of gender stereotyping, sexual harassment, and discrimination. Narrated by Alan Bennett.
Director: Leeds Animation Workshop / 12 mins / 1996 / UK
A modern-day fairy-story about sexist, racist, and homophobic harassment at work. A sequel to Through the Glass Ceiling. Highly relevant in the era of #MeToo.
Out to Lunch
Director: Leeds Animation Workshop / 12 mins / 1989 / UK
Set in a cafe, this film brings together themes of language and space to show how women’s lives are constrained by male expectations. It explores such diverse topics as the slimming industry, building design, and images in the media to show how women’s style is cramped and her space limited.
Did I Say Hairdressing? I Meant Astrophysics
Director: Leeds Animation Workshop / 1998 / Rating: U / 14 mins / UK
A modernised fairytale animation, investigating why women are under-represented in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM). The film uses humour to counter the subtle and not-so-subtle gender typecasting that often prevails, from babyhood right up to professional level.
Feminist Favourite Audience Award – London Feminist Film Festival (2017)
They Call Us Maids: The Domestic Workers’ Story
Director: Leeds Animation Workshop / 2015 / UK / Rating: PG / 7 mins
Telling the story of the thousands of women from extremely poor backgrounds around the world who have to find work abroad to support their families. Employed as ‘maids’, and isolated in foreign households, many of these workers find themselves trapped in conditions of great hardship. Made in partnership with Justice 4 Domestic Workers, the film is based on real life stories of migrant domestic workers, using vivid watercolour animation to reveal some disturbing truths about modern slavery.
Best Film on Modern Slavery in the UK – Unchosen Modern Slavery Short Film Competition (2018)