Think back to the last local film you saw and chances are that a woman was behind the scenes, you just didn’t know. Or perhaps we aren’t inclined to see who the people are that created the work.
“As a woman, you have to create your own space. You have to dive in, make noise and go for what you want,” says South African director Xoliswa Sithole about the involvement of women in the local film industry. Looking at the last few years, that’s precisely what women filmmakers have been doing.
Director Jayan Moodley’s anticipated family comedy Keeping Up With The Kandasamys, was created by a predominantly female crew; Zulu Wedding by Lineo Sekeleoane is expected to be a box-office hit when it hits screens this year; while award-winning director Jenna Bass’s all-female Western adventure film, Flatland, is also in the works. They are shaking up an industry still dominated by men.
Award-winning producer Bongiwe Selane from Happiness is a Four-Letter Wordsays institutes and government have been making strides to ensure a transformed and impartial industry. “There’s been progress with the establishment of initiatives intended to encourage and enable new voices in film making,” she says, including the National Film and Video Foundation’s Female Only Filmmaker Project, the Department of Trade and Industry’s Emerging Black Filmmakers Incentive and the Industrial Development Corporation’s Emerging Filmmaker Fund.
One of those new projects to promote the work of women in the film industry is Skirts Film Festival. With the aim to boost diversity and inclusivity, rebalancing South Africa’s under representation of women storytellers on screen, among those who watch films and the media, Skirts Film Festival, is a new film festival celebrating and exploring the cinematic talents and development of women filmmakers in South Africa. The weekend-long annual event that takes place at the end of September will showcase and develop content by South African women creatives.
The upcoming festival features a programme of screenings, Q&As, exhibitions and talks by women directors, screenwriters and editors, and more. The festival will be hosted in Cape Town’s Labia Theatre and across select satellite venues. Some of the films to look out for are:
I made a film you’ll never see Directed by Elmi Badenhorst (SA)
Poles Apart – Stop animation Directed by Paloma Baeza, produced by Ser En Low, voice over by Helena Bonham Carter
Tough Animation by Jennifer Zheng
The Happiest Barrack Directed by Noemi Varga
427 Weiners Talya Galasko (SA)
The Blood Shed Cat Davies
Visit the festival Facebook page for updates https://www.facebook.com/SKIRTSFilmFestival/