About the festival
Now in its fourth year, the Dublin Feminist Film Festival has established firm roots on Dublin’s cultural calendar, shining a spotlight on women in film. The DFFF promotes and celebrates female filmmakers, hoping to inspire and empower others to get involved in filmmaking. This involves considering women on-screen, but also behind the camera, through the dual-aspect of celebrating and showcasing fantastic female filmmaking, as well as demonstrating that women make compelling and complex characters and subjects. The DFFF weekend is a celebratory couple of days and our commitment to inclusive art is reflected in the programme each year, showcasing a range of work, from documentary to drama, short form to feature, films from different places and representing different perspectives, as well as work by women-of-colour.
About this year
The theme for #DFFF2017 is FeministFutures. Our programme this year foregrounds topics such as science and the universe, magical realism, technology and the digital world, contemporary feminist issues and movements, sci-fi, dystopia, and the future female. We’re asking questions about future generations of women – what challenges we will continue to face; how female filmmakers are shaping stories about our existence as human beings in a vast universe; how humour and beauty can be harnessed for illuminating serious issues, what makes something subversive; what makes us laugh? Under the spotlight are the roles that activism, tech, art, geography, reproductive (in)justice, youth culture, gender violence, or science might play in our FeministFutures… as well as the shockingly overlooked subject-matters of lesbian space-aliens and kitsch witches!
This year we want to showcase contemporary FeministFutures work, so every feature film is under five years old and we are proudly screening four Irish premieres. Each year we also screen a selection of Irish and international shorts – and award a ‘Best Short’ prize. We’re hosting a lecture dealing with intersections of new media, technologies, women’s bodies, sex and sexuality, in addition to a ‘Make a Movie with your Phone’ workshop for teenage girls – the future is theirs, after all.
We hope there’s something you will enjoy on the programme and we’d love you to join us this November.
Thursday 16th November 2017
Trapped + short €10
8.00-9.45pm Advantageous + short €10
Friday 17th November 2017
The Farthest + short €10
6.20-8pm Wolf and Sheep + short €10
8.15-9.50pm Code: Debugging the Gender Gap + short €10
Friday Event: “Feminist Futures” talk with Dr. Sarah Arnold: 6.30-7.30pm – FREE but ticketed.
Saturday 18th November 2017
Credible Likeable Superstar Role Model + short €10
1.45-4pm The Love Witch + short €10
4.15-6pm Gulabi Gang + short €10
6.15-7.35pm Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same + short €10
8-9.30pm Ovarian Psycos + pre-recorded introduction by the filmmakers €10
Saturday Event: “Making Movies with your Phone” workshop for teenage girls, with Nora Moriarty: 2-5pm – €7.
(Dawn Porter, 2016)
Trapped is a fascinating insight into recent events in the USA, during the battle over so-called TRAP (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) laws. From the front line, doctors, clinic owners and staff tell us their inspiring stories as they fight to keep their clinics running while the powerful anti-choice lobby devise, on a weekly basis, more impossible standards, requirement and modifications. The prohibitive cost of TRAP laws have caused most clinics in Alabama and Texas to close, but this Sundance award-winning documentary allows us to view, from their unique perspective, the few that are still open; for now. This year, of all years, it is vital to screen a film that deals with reproductive (in)justice. Trapped is a lesson for us here in Ireland, that no matter what happens in 2018, the fight is not over.
“A powerful and persuasive rendering of a corner of women’s health care under siege”, The New York Times
(Jennifer Phang, 2015)
In this claustrophobic, near-future world, where women continue to be prized for their youth, beauty, and fertility, Sundance award-winning Advantageous raises issues related to technology and surveillance and asks pressing questions about what makes us human and, further, what makes us valuable as humans; if anything. Where kindness and empathy are undervalued, as is the social, cultural and personal gains of women’s participation in the workforce, Phang’s subtle treatment of such subjects as racial prejudice and raced bodies, is delivered with eloquence in this understated story about the love and bond between a mother and daughter, and what we give up to give our children everything.
“A dystopian film that’s packed with hope”, Wired
(Emer Reynolds, 2017)
One of the biggest movie buzzes of the year, this ground breaking Irish production takes us “12 billion miles and counting” into space. Reynolds’s captivating doc details NASA’s ambitious 1977 Voyager program, which launched probes that were to become the first human-made objects to enter interstellar space. The probe famously carried the ‘golden record’, containing information about our planet for any civilisation it might come across, and, of course, took the famous photograph that shows the Earth as Carl Sagan’s ‘pale blue dot’. NASA did this with less computing power than an average smartphone. If you’re wondering on the feminist credentials of the film, it’s exemplary of the power and importance of women behind the camera. We celebrate self proclaimed “science geek” Emer Reynolds and superb cinematographer Kate McCullough for this incredible and accomplished work, which quite rightly won Best Irish Documentary and the Audience Award at the Dublin International Film Festival.
“The film is meticulous, epic and… beautiful throughout”, The Irish Times
Wolf and Sheep
(Shahrbanoo Sadat, 2016)
Set in the serene and idyllic hills of rural Afghanistan, Wolf and Sheep ostensibly deals with daily village life, and the politics, customs and traditions that underpin the lives of this farming community. But Shahrbanoo Sadat’s beautiful visual storytelling – in this, her debut feature – encapsulates far more by offering tantalising glimpses of mythological and folkloric characters that materialise in the village at night. This tenuous boundary between reality and myth is wonderfully executed by cinematographer Virginie Surdej’s arresting work in a gentle but affecting look at Afghan pastoral life. Wolf and Sheep quietly and cinematically questions notions of gender, history, culture and modern life in a way that belies its simplicity.
“Simple but sincere, respectful and heartfelt and marks the arrival of a promising new talent”, Screen Daily
Code: Debugging the Gender Gap
(Robin Hauser Reynolds, 2015)
CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap is an absorbing look at the lack of women and minorities in software engineering. Enjoying a premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival, this documentary is inspiring in its structure: tracing the history in the USA with Ada Lovelace and Grace Hopper. It’s incredible in its message: how did such great heights lead to the massive decline of women graduates in the ‘80s? It’s fascinating in its analysis: the cultural shift that depicted men as technology workers, correlating to hostility for women and girls in the tech industries. And it’s remarkable in its participants: Reynolds has managed to get an astonishingly impressive set of American heavyweights to wonderfully illustrate her points. These include Kimberly Bryant (founder of Black Girls Code), Danielle Feinberg (director of photography at Pixar, leading WALL-E and Brave) and Tracy Chou (Pinterest, Quora).
“Hits hard at the tech industry”, The Hollywood Reporter
Credible Likeable Superstar Role Model
(Rebecca Brand, 2016)
What makes a positive ‘superstar role model’ for tweens? How can kids navigate a media landscape that is increasingly sexualised? And is there a way to resist the tropes of objectification and commodification by creating a pop star that values and promotes intelligence and the importance of being yourself? These questions are at the heart of this uplifting and empowering film. Spearheaded by 10-old Taylor, the narration of her unfolding story serves as a reminder that we rarely hear from kids directly about what they want in their idols. Taylor’s aunt, Bryony Kimmings, an award-winning performance artist, takes on the daunting challenge of transforming into ‘Catherine Bennet’ (or ‘CB’ as she becomes affectionately known), who they try to mold into a ‘credible, likeable, superstar, role model’. This touching and affirming film is notable for the uncynical joy that children take from CB, and it’s a reminder that the emphasis put on what’s ‘cool’ or ‘sexy’ is something that adults are preoccupied by; not kids.
“Brand steers the journey from character creation documentary to music-video pop-umentary with confidence, a perfect mix of behind-the- scenes and stageshow payoff”, Birds Eye View
The Love Witch
(Anna Biller, 2016)
Elaine is just looking for love – in her gothic Victorian apartment, where she makes passion potions, while looking impossibly cool and exists in faux ‘60s Technicolor Hammer Horror inspired threads and colour palettes. Oh, and she’s a witch, of course. Fun, kitsch, smart, bloody, badass, over the top, visually lush, vibrant, feminine, and as stylish as Elaine’s beehive, come along for The Love Witch ride and you won’t be disappointed. Filmmaker Anna Biller (who wrote, directed, produced, edited and production/set designed this film!) said that with The Love Witch she wanted to create “visual pleasure for women” so she shot the film on 35mm and created many of the stunning sets and props by hand. She also wrote the best tampon joke ever to be put to celluloid, and The Love Witch won the Best Cinematography award at the Dublin International Film Festival. Just be careful not to fall for Elaine’s spells, or it could be… murder.
“A metaphysical astonishment”, The New Yorker
(Nishtha Jain, 2012)
Gulabi Gang is an award-winning portrait of violence and injustice meted out to Indian women in rural and deprived communities. The pioneering campaigning of Sampat Devi Pal who set up the ‘Pink Saris’ group to fight back against the abuse of wives, daughters, and sisters at the hands of their males relatives began when she literally took up a stick to beat a neighbour for abusing his wife. Despite the subject matter, Devi’s formidable personality, and the energy and dedication of the women in this growing women’s movement is utterly inspiring. In a year when the whole world is protesting harassment and casual discrimination, Gulabi Gang represents one element of an amazing active feminist movement. Nishtha Jain’s documentary takes an uncompromising look at the complex reasons for women’s continued subordination to men in Bundelkhand and how cultural, economic, political and social factors butt against the efforts of the Gulabi Gang to empower women. There are no black and white solutions here. But there is pink.
“A remarkable woman. A remarkable story”, The Indian Express
Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same
(Madeleine Olnek, 2012)
The clue is in the title! This funny, and often very sweet, take on the trials and tribulations of dating deals with loneliness, terrible dancing, extraterrestrial life-forms, and the comfort of being yourself with someone who gets you – even if they are an alien. Madeleine Olnek manages to make this film laugh-out-loud, stylish, weird, and wonderful in equal measure, with a very clear nod to classic B-Movies and the likes of Ed Wood. Susan Ziegler and Jackie Monahan’s brilliant portrayals of Zoinx and Zylar’s attempts to navigate the dating world on planet earth is second only to the warm and vulnerable performance of Jane, played by Lisa Haas. Come for the lesbian aliens, but you’ll leave feeling uplifted that there’s someone out there for everyone; just maybe a bit further away than you expect.
“A witty ode to urban love and shoestring sci-fi”, The New York Times
(Joanna Sokolowski and Kate Trumbull-LaValle, 2016)
In 1896 Susan B. Anthony claimed that the bicycle had ‘done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. It gives women a feeling of freedom and self-reliance’. More than a century later, the importance of the bike to the Ovarian Psycos is testament to that. This Latina women’s collective meet at night to cycle around LA’s streets. Dealing with trauma in their lives, as a result of sexual abuse, economic deprivation, parental expectations and the constraints of gender stereotypes, all of the women we meet in this bike gang exude resilience, pride and defiance. Their friendships with each other are mirrored in their relationship to their bicycles; both providing sources of strength and both encouraging each woman to feel a sense of entitlement to take up space in their communities.
“Showcases compelling characters and explores complex territory between mothers and daughters, tradition and independence”, The HollyWood Reporter