Festival Focus: Underwire Film Festival Programme Preview

Posted November 21st, 2016 by Mark Ryan


London’s Underwire Film Festival returns at the end of this month, boasting an exciting programme of new features, shorts, and Q & As from up and coming and established female British filmmakers.

Underwire was founded in 2010 by screenwriter Gabriella Apicella and graphic designer Gemma Mitchell with the aim of boosting awareness of emerging women in the film industry; who typically only make up to 21.8% of a feature film crew, and discussing the representation of women on screen in their annual event in collaboration with Little White Lies, ‘Girls on Film’. The festival has since awarded training and mentoring opportunities to over 40 filmmakers, and has screened over 300 films.

With support from notable patrons Laura Mulvey and Joan Leese, as well as from venues including Genesis Cinema, BFI Southbank, ArtHouse Crouch End and Barbican, Underwire is continuing to make a name for itself and bring women together to recognise talent across the fields of Directing, Producing, Screenwriting, Editing, Cinematography, Sound Design, and Composing. As Mulvey reaffirms, ‘It is crucial importance that among the proliferation of film festivals today, women’s films, women’s contribution to cinema, and the way that women critique both every day life and images of women, is represented,’ and as Underwire is perhaps the most significant UK festival of it’s kind, you’ll most definately want to be attending this year if you haven’t checked it out already. Here are SP’s picks of what events to look out for in this years program.

The Internet was Made for Women


A showcase of three independent web series made free from mainstream commissioners; The Grind, a South London set drama about a group of friends hustling to make their way to the top in the art world, Sorta Maybe Kinda Yeah, a sitcom set in a flat exploring female companionship and identity, and Welcome to the Industry, a comedy about two university graduates struggling to get into the film industry. The screening will be followed by a discussion with the filmmakers behind each series, which should provide an informative insight into their Guerrilla approach, and the routes they went through to gain funding to complete their projects.

1st December 2016, 9.00pm, Hackney Picturehouse

Wired Women Weekender


A two day event led by the leading ladies of the film industry, packed with panel discussions, presentations and practical workshops. Topics are varied, but some of the most interesting sounding include; a workshop led by award winning Screenwriter Rhianna about writing for video games, discussion with a board of foley artists about the joys of their job, and a talk from the CEO of Together films, Sarah Mosses about alternative routes for getting funding for features. With other sessions aimed at solving queries about casting, budgeting and composing, this is certainly a weekend worth attending for aspiring filmmakers.

26th November 2016, 10:30am, 71A

Shorts: In Every Home A Heartache


Underwire has several screenings of collections of shorts organized by theme which all sound very enjoyable, such as ‘Men By Women’; a showcase of shorts inverting the male gaze, ‘Mean Girls’; exploring the turbulence and ferocity of girlhood, and ‘Girls to the Front’, celebrating characters which shatter societal and gender norms, just to name a few. But perhaps the most intriguing is the screening session entitled, ‘In Every Home a Heartache’, featuring shorts which investigate notions of place and memory. The bill includes animator Ellie Land’s ‘Sleepless’, a visual representation between the filmmaker and scientist Prof. Peter Oliver about the links between sleeping patterns and mental health, ‘Lost Youth’ from Cinematographer Rina Yang, exploring the darker side of Tokyo that would otherwise remain unseen due to Japan’s censorship laws, and several other experimental shorts.

Friday 2nd December, ArtHouse Crouch End 18:30, Running Time: 91 Minutes

Red Road 10th Anniversary Screening on 35mm


Andrea Arnold’s first feature has left a lasting impact on British cinema, and to celebrate it’s 10 year anniversary, Underwire are screening it on 35mm print at the Genesis Cinema. Carefully and beautifully shot, the film weaves a poignant mystery surrounding a CCTV operator Jackie (Kate Dickie), who watches over the Red Road estate in Scotland in silence, until a sighting of a man triggers a dark obsession. The success of Arnold’s most recent feature, American Honey, has proven once again that she is a force to be reckoned with and has gained her a whole new generation of fans who might not be familiar with her prior work; if this concerns you, then there is certainly no better an opportunity to be educated than this.

Sun 4th December, 18:30, Genesis Cinema, Mile End

Debuts + Discussion


A retrospective on the early short films of some of Britain’s most celebrated female filmmakers, featuring the work of Lynne Ramsay, Debbie Tucker Green, Carol Morely, Destiny Ekargha, and Andrea Arnold. This should certainly provide a source of inspiration for young ambitious filmmakers; by comparing the early work of the Directors to their current features, Underwire promises to ‘trace the evolution of their storytelling styles’, and provide an informative insight into some of the industries best creative minds.

Sun 4 December, 4:00 pm, Genesis Cinema, Mile End




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