London Feminist Film Festival

  • 20150227125132_hannahstarkeyportrait2014originalfile History is Now
    At London’s Southbank Centre, the exhibition History is Now: 7 Artists Take on B…

Maryam Violet

20 November 2013

London Feminist Film Festival


There should be some ways to skip these constrictive and stereotypical concepts of women’s features in the film industry. By setting up London Feminist Film Festival, the female community has endeavored to amplify its voice through the reflective representation of feminist ethos that extends to the films shown during the festival. Receiving considerable attention in 2012 led to the second round in 2013. This brought about an end of August deadline. There was a one year hiatus in 2014 and for 2015, they extended the deadline it to the end of May.


The festival’s main goal is to “[address] feminist issues and the fact that the representation of women on screen is often narrow and stereotypical”, according to the official London Feminist Film Festival (LFFF) website. One of the panelists at the 2013 festival explained that to her being a feminist means having a “women first” mindset. Several attendees added that the festival is all about celebrating women and the worthwhile fight for equality. “It’s about rejection of heterosexuality [and] … male domination … [it is] about my love for women and putting women first”, a woman amidst the crowd mentioned.


For many it is a revolutionary concept to have a festival that celebrates films directed only by women to be such a success. It signifies a changed world that is taking steps towards equality of the sexes. It is important to note that the word “feminist” means different things to different people. Your gender, demographics, age and many more factors can affect what you identify as. It was also mentioned that lesbian culture is starting to be accepted much more than in the past, thanks to steps forward for the lesbian movement such as the LFFF. Feminist activist and director Myriam Fougere’s film “Lesbiana – A Parallel Revolution” was one of the pro-lesbian films screened at the festival. It centered around the rise of lesbian communities in different countries. One film at the 2013 event called “Kung Fu Grandma” featured a group of older women in Kenya teaching each other self defense against the younger men who regularly attack and rape them. It won the award for Best Short Film that year. The diverse array of topics the films expose helps to uncover multiple battles women are fighting in their war for equality.


The women interviewed in the film believe that feminism means to put women first and change the world entirely, but that’s not how all feminist identify. Singer and actress Beyonce Knowles is known for lighting up the word “feminist” behind her during her performance at the 2014 VMAs in August. When asked by Time magazine in June of 2014 if she is a feminist, just two months before, she replied, “Why do you have to label yourself anything? I’m just a woman and I love being a woman.” In the same article actress Salma Hayek replied to the same question with, “[Feminism] means being proud of being a woman, and [having] love, respect and admiration and the belief in our strong capacities.” English actress Emma Watson answered the same question for The Telegraph in 2014, responding with: “I decided that I was a feminist … both men and women should feel free to be sensitive. Both men and women should feel free to be strong.” There is no molded cookie cutter that produces feminists. It is about who you want to be and what you choose to think. Events in life that celebrate that freedom bring about a positive light in our modern culture.