Women In Film: A Panel Discussion at Bristol Film Festival

Women’s Representation in the Local Area

On February 26th, 2017, a woman will definitely not win Best Director at the Academy Awards - for the seventh year running. In fact, in non-acting roles, women won’t be winning much. The Women’s Media Centre recently published an article showing that, in behind-the-scenes roles, only 20% of 2017 Oscar nominees are female. This is an issue that permeates every level of the film and television industries: women are strikingly under-represented.

“In 2015 women comprised just 7% of directors, 13% of writers and only 27% of producers. Women accounted for a shockingly low 9% of all cinematographers and just 18% of editors,” says Naomi Yates of Knowle West Media Centre, “…we feel it is so important that female voices are heard both in front of the camera and behind it.”

It is this conviction that has led to the development of courses such as ‘From Her P.O.V’ at Knowle West Media Centre – a course aimed specifically at aspiring female filmmakers, encouraging them to develop their skills in a range of techniques whilst producing a short film.

Fourteen women are taking part in the programme, meeting for one day and one evening each week, and will form two production crews. Training and workshops will include screenwriting, production, direction, sound recording, and working with actors, and their finished work will be screened at Bristol Film Festival in May as part of an event celebrating women’s contribution to cinema.

Initiatives such as these are a crucial step in breaking down some of the more practical limitations facing female filmmakers, and help to create a mutually supportive network in an industry where it often feels like you need to do a lot of shouting before your voice is heard.

Conversations about women’s representation in the film and television world are more crucial than ever. Bristol Film Festival’s ‘Women In Film’ panel discussion is an effort to create a space to address these issues, and discuss solutions that can be implemented to improve them.

The panel will be discussing a range of topics including the range and available roles for women both in front of and behind the camera, the challenges women face in the industry, and how the term ‘women’ is perceived by industry and the wider public. There will also be a focus on the further challenges faced in getting trans women and women of colour represented on and off screen.

“Bristol is a thriving city with a dynamic film and TV industry, and conversations such as this one are essential in ensuring that filmmaking – both in Bristol and the wider world – continues to thrive and develop,” says Owen Franklin, director of Bristol Film Festival, “We want to invite open and frank discussions about the industry, and encourage people with different experiences to contribute, as well as hearing from established women within the industry. It’s a really exciting addition to the programme that has come about as a result of the festival’s engagement with ‘From Her P.O.V’. We hope that it inspires or encourages audience members to get into filmmaking, and believe that it’s a strand we can continue to develop as part of our ‘Bristol In Focus’ mini-series.”

Whether you’re a female filmmaker yourself, are interested in finding out more about the issues facing women working in front of and behind the camera, or want to contribute to this ongoing dialogue, the event offers a great initial insight into this important topic.

The panel discussion will take place on March 11th, 15:45, in the Arnolfini in Bristol’s Harbourside. Tickets cost £10/£7.50, and can be purchased via Bristol Film Festival’s website: https://www.bristolfilmfestival.com/event/women-in-film/

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