THE LONDON FEMINIST FILM FESTIVAL IS BACK FOR ITS 6TH EDITION
LFFF2018 will run 16 – 19 August, at the Rio Cinema in Dalston, the Genesis in Mile End, and the BFI Southbank for the Feminist Classic.
LONDON, UK, 7 JULY 2018 – The London Feminist Film Festival announced today that it is returning to London screens with its popular programme of international feminist film. The 6th edition of the festival will feature 30 films from female (and non-binary) directors, arranged in 14 thematic sessions.
The Feminist Classic this year will be Sama, the 1988 drama about a young woman seeking an education in rural southern Tunisia, by pioneer filmmaker Néjia Ben Mabrouk, who will attend the post-screening Q&A at the BFI Southbank. The Feminist Classic is part of the BFI’s strand Woman With a Movie Camera.
Tunisian feminist film has a strong presence at LFFF this year, with another cinematic jewel in the programme: Fatma75 (1975) by heavyweight Selma Baccar, who uses actual interviews, archival footage, and fictional narrative to structure this rare docu-essay about Tunisian feminist herstory. Fatma75 was recently digitally restored by the Africa’s Lost Classics’ project as part of their effort to bring African film directed by women to London screens.
LFFF2018 is pleased and proud to offer a diverse programme with an impressive choice of films from the Global South – over a third of selected films. The session Keepers of Culture focuses on African heritage and feminist documentary practices, featuring The Two Faces of a Bamiléké Woman (2016), by Cameroonian director Rosine Mbakam. This stunning documentary follows Mbakam as she visits her village after years living in Europe. An exploration of hidden feelings ensues, where stories emerge, bringing life to voices kept in silence and illuminating the faces of the women who built Mbakam’s community. Also part of this session is Tia Ciata (2017), a feminist hommage to Afro-Brazilian hidden figure Hilária Batista de Almeida (1854-1924), who fought against institutional racism and the erasure of African heritage and was fundamental in the development of samba.
Always a focus of LFFF, herstory is the focus of a session on the potential of craft as a vehicle of feminist resistance. Handmaking Herstory features the critically acclaimed Like Dolls I’ll Rise (Nora Philippe, 2018), premiered at Visions Du Réel. Like Dolls I’ll Rise researches the 19th century practice of anonymous Afro-American women who made black dolls for the white children they looked after. The dolls that have survived act as intermediaries of a discourse of self-affirmation and liberation, that a century of slavery, segregation and racism tried to silence.
Daring to Disrupt is one of LFFF2018’s two sessions on feminist activism. “Heather Booth is the most influential woman you’ve never heard of” is the tagline for Heather Booth: Changing the World, the documentary on the life and work of this extraordinary campaigner who has been instrumental to every major progressive movement in the USA for the last 50 years – civil rights, reproductive rights, voters right. She has collaborated with leaders like Elizabeth Warren and Julian Bond and her story is a beacon of hope for those disheartened or in need of inspiration in the Trump era. For more tales of resistance, social movements and women taking to the streets to fight for change, the session Constellations of Activism offers a panorama of world-wide feminist struggle, from El Salvador to Spain, from Brazil to Canada and the UK.
Another staple of LFFF through the years has been stories that denounce violence against women and girls [VAWG]. Survivors are at the centre of Now, Here She Stands, a session featuring four short films on resistance, healing and empowerment after suffering male domestic violence. But VAWG can adopt many forms, including systemic or structural violence, which is the focus of Staying Together, a session on women navigating a patriarchal system built against them. The film What Doesn’t Kill Me (Rachel Meyrick, 2017), a London premiere, explores a terrifying trend in family courts all over America: abusers manipulating the judicial system to strip away custody of children from their ex-partners, thus extending the abuse and control over survivors even after they’ve managed to leave. Survivors, experts and lawyers offer a chilling account of this reality, mirrored in UK courts.
Lesbian Identities is the title of a session consisting of two films that show lesbianism as something plural, complicated and deeply political. Gender Troubles: The Butches (Lisa Plourde, USA, 2016) portrays butchness, often underrepresented even within LGBT spaces. Dyke Jails (Cecilia Montagut, Spain, 2018) explores the relationships, attractions and camaraderie among incarcerated women.
LFFF is extremely proud to feature in this edition two films from the Revolt, She Said: Women and Film After ‘68 tour, curated by queer feminist collective Club Des Femmes in partnership with the ICO. “Men’s relationship to women is just like England’s relationship to Ireland”, states Maeve, the title character of Pat Murphy & John Davis’s film Maeve (1981), reminding viewers that, in May ‘68, The Troubles started as part of a wave of global struggles against imperialism – including the rule of patriarchy.