To celebrate International Women’s Day (and Month), film curator and creative producer Rebecca Ballard has compiled a list of upcoming F-Rated titles and a selection of female-led bookable touring short programmes.
This March, take a moment to champion and celebrate the amazing work of women behind and in-front of the camera with a selection of nuanced, complex and inspiring stories.
Upcoming releases include documentaries and biopics that shine a light on pioneering women in their own right, such as American novelist, essayist, and college professor Toni Morrison, physicist and chemist Marie Curie and Alice Guy-Blache, the French filmmaker who was among the first to make a narrative fiction film.
Need some inspiration? Bird’s Eye View’s audience Influencer campaign ‘Reclaim the Frame’ , is a BFI Audience Fund-backed project that aims to grow audiences for films told from the female POV. Their screenings are followed by a curated post-screening talk, featuring special guests such as filmmakers and experts . Having just toured with Queen and Slim, their current titles to go on tour are Portrait of a Lady on Fire, Misbehaviour, Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am and Be Natural: The Untold story of Alice Guy-Blache. Get in touch about running an event in partnership.
Some upcoming F-rated titles:
Portrait of a Lady on Fire: Dir. Céline Sciamma
New from French filmmaker Céline Sciamma, director of Water Lilies, Tomboy and Girlhood, comes this elegant and enigmatic historical romance, fresh from winning both the Queer Palm (the first film directed by a woman to do so) and Best Screenplay at Cannes earlier in 2019.
At the end of the eighteenth century Marianne (Noémie Merlant), a young painter, is commissioned to paint a portrait of a young woman, Lady Héloïse (Adèle Haenel) to be used to elicit marriage proposals.
Misbehaviour: Dir. Philippa Lowthorpe
In 1970, the Miss World competition took place in London, hosted by US comedy legend, Bob Hope. At the time, Miss World was the most-watched TV show on the planet with over 100 million viewers.
Claiming that beauty competitions demeaned women, the newly formed Women’s Liberation Movement achieved overnight fame by invading the stage and disrupting the live broadcast of the competition.
Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am: Dir. Timothy Greenfield-Sanders
Originally an iconic editor of African-American fiction, Toni Morrison began writing because the book she wanted to read – about the inner life of a young black girl – did not yet exist. She died earlier this year winning the Nobel Prize-winning grande dame of American literature.
Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy Blache: Dir. Pamela B.Green
Pamela B. Green’s energetic film is both a tribute and a detective story, tracing the circumstances by which this extraordinary artist faded from memory and the path toward her reclamation. Narration by Jodie Foster.
Radioactive: Dir. Marjane Satrapi
Radioactive is a journey through Marie Curie’s (Rosamund Pike) enduring legacies – her passionate relationships, scientific breakthroughs, and the consequences that followed for her and for the world.
Little Joe: Dir. Jessica Hausner
British-Austrian director Jessica Hausner’s (Lourdes, Amour Fou) first English language feature is a sci-fi horror starring Ben Whishaw and Emily Beecham, who won Best Actress for her role at Cannes 2019, where the film was selected to screen in Competition for the Palme d’Or.
The Perfect Candidate: Dir. Haifaa Al-Mansour
Acclaimed Wadjda was the first feature made by a Saudi female director, and the first film shot entirely in the kingdom. After shooting two titles in the US (Mary Shelley, Nappily Ever After) she has returned to Saudi Arabia for this triumphantly fiery, headstrong story about women trying to break the glass ceiling in what remains an incredibly repressive and patriarchal society.
Rocks: Dir. Sarah Gavron
Following its World Premiere at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, Rocks is Sarah Gavron’s highly anticipated third feature following Brick Lane and Suffragette, reuniting her with BAFTA-nominated producer Faye Ward (Stan & Ollie, Wild Rose). It follows the story of a teenage girl growing up in a multi-ethnic community in East London.
System Crasher: Dir. Nora Fingschcheidt
Controversial from the moment it premiered in Competition at this year’s Berlin Film Festival, documentarian Nora Fingshcheidt’s (Without This World) fiction feature debut System Crasher portrays the life of a chaotic young girl, wild and troubled, as she keeps getting expelled from one foster home after another due to her uncontrollable aggression.
There are also a number of female focused short film programmes that are bookable from some of the amazing festivals that happen throughout the year in the UK. Here are some of them:
- Underwire Festival celebrates female filmmaking talent across all crafts. It celebrated 10 years last year and the Ten Years of Underwire programme as a bookable touring programme.
- The Final Girls, Explore the intersections of horror and feminism. They have the past two editions of We Are The Weirdos, their horror shorts touring programme, available for booking.
Women Over 50 Film Festival (WOFFF), champion and showcases the work of older women on screen and behind the camera. They have a Best of the Fest tour programme – and a few versions of it too:
- A Best of the Fest package
- An LGBTQ Best of the Fest package
- A Young Programmers’ led Best of the Fest package
- A seminar Best of the Fest package
Feminsta Film Festival shares inspiring documentary stories about women and girls from around the world with a touring programme Feminista UK Tour. Alternatively, the pulse-pounding SheEXtreme, is a Cinematic Celebration of Women in Extreme Sports and Adventure. Their programme is also available for touring and pop-ups.
The BBC recently published 100 greatest films directed by women, however lists by their very nature are historically problematic. After all, whose opinion matters? The representation for this poll was a 50% gender split.
Give it a read, share with your audiences, talk about the films you’ve seen, watch some more. Women make up over half our audiences, so let’s programme films that reflect that and celebrate female talent, stories and the female gaze.
Films by women aren’t just for International Women’s Month!
‘We believe in the power of film for positive change: for building a healthier, happier, smarter world.
We believe in challenging the status quo in film, and strive to seek out the female perspective in cinema.
We believe in honouring the past, celebrating the present and empowering the future of the female gaze in film.
We believe in investing our energy, influence and passion to inspire at least one person to join us.
If you want to live the change you want to see, then join us and rally others to make films by women have a greater cultural and commercial impact that will change film and beyond.
Together, we will bring ever-greater audiences to films by women and widen and enrich cinema’s perspective of the world’
– Bird’s Eye View