The temperatures may be dipping but we’re still hot on the heels of finding just some of the reasons to be cheerful about the state of women in film. As ever, busy is the word of the month; Simran’s just got back from Belgium after interviewing a certain Amma Asante and has also been schooling future film critics at Aesthetica Short Film Fest in York. While there, we spread the good word of BTF and chatted to filmmakers about the representation of the women in their films. Between a lot of lengthy meetings about our plans for 2017 (over jugs, actual jugs, of hot chocolate), Corrina found time to host a sold out preview screening of A United Kingdom alongside the awesome Birds Eye View at Picturehouse Central. That was us. Now for some more good news…
Million Dollar Kelly
Kelly Reichardt has been on the filmmaking grind since 1994, clocking up nine films since her debut River Of Grass. However it’s only now in 2016 that Kelly’s films have raked in as much money as they have critical acclaim with Certain Women being her first film to peak $1m with its US release.
We’ve been banging on about how enchanted we are by Certain Women since catching it at TIFF and LFF, and we’re eagerly awaiting its 2017 release. Mainly so more people know just how brilliantly soulful and insightful its depictions of women at work (both physical and mental) are. With its budget of $2m its got some way to go to recoup, but let’s hope next year’s UK release helps to ensure the continuation of Reichardt’s winning streak.
Rosamund Pike Gets Into Film
It’s good for kids to know that cinema isn’t just somewhere to eat popcorn and watch expensive cartoons. This is why we’re so enthused about the huge amount of work Into Film do all year round, nurturing young people’s interest, passion and curiosity for film. November saw their annual festival opened up by one of Britain’s very own Hollywood stars Rosamund Pike. She was particularly moved by the work of Into Film and shared some thoughts after cutting the ribbon on this year’s fest:
Opening these young people’s minds to the excitement and inspiration that’s possible with film and combining that with education is an immense and important undertaking that Into Film is engaged with and the fact that they do all this for free is just incredible.
As well as free screenings and workshops our very own Simran has been rolling up her sleeves with lessons in film criticism. If you know a budding cinephile – get them Into Film now! Find out more here.
Moana Moves a Mountain
Disney may be onto something. With Frozen, they bucked the trend of the lonely, hapless princess in distress, giving us a story of sisterly love – and them their biggest hit yet.
In an ‘if ain’t broke don’t fix it’ move, their latest animated movie Moana presents a Polynesian princess who’s more preoccupied with saving her community in the Pacific Island of Motunui than falling in love. And guess what; it raked in a box office figure of $81.1m on Thanksgiving weekend, making it their second biggest opening behind Frozen’s $93.6m.
Moana‘s cast of characters (plus a few loveable animals for sidekicks of course) adds some much needed colour to the snowy slate of Disney films of decades past, and it’s refreshing to see characters who don’t have the body mass of a grasshopper. We also look forward to seeing (and hearing) more from the Hawaiian actress Auli’i Cravalho who voiced our new favourite Disney princess.
That’s The Spirit
American Honey has continued to keep the critics sweet since its Cannes premiere which saw Andrea Arnold’s newest film scoop the Jury prize and a nomination for the Palme D’or. But the success story is still being written as this month the mesmeric road movie starring Shia LaBeouf has received seven Independent Spirit Award nominations including Best Feature, Director, and Female Lead for newcomer Sasha Lane’s riveting performance. The ceremony will take place in February next year, but we quite fancy Arnold’s chances for walking off with a trophy or two.
Other fist-pumps for Spirit award nominees go to Best Documentary contenders Ava Duvernay’s 13th, Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami’s Sonita and Kirsten Johnson’s Cameraperson. We’re also pleased to see Athina Rachel Tsangari’s comic musing on masculinity Chevalier and Maren Ade’s peculiar comedy gem Toni Erdman up for Best International Film.
BEV and BTF United!
It’s such a kick to watch a film with a sold out audience on a Sunday afternoon, hearing sniffs of emotion as the credits roll. That’s exactly what happened with our screening of A United Kingdom when we teamed up with the ever-awesome Birds Eye View to present a preview of Amma Asante’s latest film.
A United Kingdom was inspired by the work of Susan Williams who wrote the book Colour Bar: The Triumph of Seretse Khama and His Nation, and tells the romantic true story of King Sereste Khama and Ruth Williams. Despite their differences in class and colour they fell helplessly in love – much to the dismay of their families and governments.
Birds Eye View director Mia Bays and BTF’s Corrina were honoured to be joined on stage by Williams to deliver a series of lightning talks to the Picturehouse Central crowd. We loved receiving such insightful, thoughtful and articulate responses from the audience when discussing representations of interracial romance, the depiction of Bechuanaland and South African apartheid. It truly reminded us of how nourishing it can be to have discussions about film and the importance of keeping the conversations going about representation in cinema.
Read Corrina’s Huffington Post article: Why Aren’t There More Interracial Relationships On Screen.
This year’s Underwire Film Festival is go! Now in its sixth year Underwire is the UK’s only film festival celebrating female filmmaking talent across the crafts and this year, they’ve gone one up and are now officially a Bafta-qualifying festival. Check out the awesome shorts, features, discussions and ceremonies going on this weekend in and around London! Check out the full lineup here!
Blighty rolled out the proverbial red carpet for one of the hardest working film activists this month as Melissa Silverstein rocked up to our shores all the way from the US. The founder of Women In Hollywood rallied the troops of UK feminist film collectives for meetings, talks and parties giving us an opportunity to get organised and collectively plan for a brighter future for women in the industry. From programming heads of the BFI, to indie programmers such as Club De Femme, it was great to see how many of us are working in various areas of the film industry and all working incredibly hard toward the goal of equality.
Here’s to putting plans into action!
Date For The Diary!
We’re super excited to announce our next event on January 9! We’re teaming up with Picturehouse Central to present Kenneth Lonergan’s criminally under-screened drama Margaret! We’ll be introducing the film with a series of short feminist readings on female neurosis in film, inspired by the lead Anna Paquin’s frustrated, ferociously intelligent and highly neurotic Lisa. Join us in celebrating cinema’s difficult women!
Book now and give yourself something to look forward to for 2017!