Hannah Pool chaired a thought-provoking panel after the BODY POLITICS films. Rebecca Sesny told us about making her film about abortion clinic escorts in the US. Kate Smurthwaite told us about the UK situation as regards abortion rights, including that women in Northern Ireland have to travel to the UK for abortion since it is illegal there. Elizabeth Gezahegn-King, Africa Programme Manager at FORWARD, told us about FGM in Africa and the UK and how, despite there being a law against FGM in the UK since the late 1980s, no-one has ever been prosecuted. The themes around body politics and body policing were also explored more generally, and in relation to the moving short film Blank Canvas about a woman with cancer who has her bald head henna tatooed in stunning patterns.
The Spice Girls of India went down very well with the audience and panellists and inspired a lively discussion on women’s empowerment in India, chaired by Naila Kabeer, with Punita Bhatt telling us about her research on women’s entrepreneurship in India and Rahila Gupta giving her thoughts on the film and Indian women’s rights. Rama Dieng joined us to talk about women’s leadership in Africa in general and in Senegal in particular, inspired by the film Women Rising: Political Leadership in Africa, and Jennifer Okungu, director of the film, was in the audience and answered some questions on the making of her film. The films were linked in their themes of women striving in a male-dominated world. The unusual short animation Falling Blossom also mesmerised with its kaleidoscopic colours.
Join us tonight for the CLAIMING SPACES session of films about women claiming their spaces in various ways! We’ll be joined by two of the directors of the films, both of whom have flown in specially for the premieres of their films at LFFF! Tickets still available!