Cinema of Women

Delving into the work of Cinema of Women
LSM Research Seminar
Speaker: Prof. Julia Knight (University of Sunderland)
University of Lincoln, 12th March 2014,  4.30-6.00pm

In her talk Julia will examine some of the archival records of the 1980s feminist film distributor, Cinema of Women (COW), to demonstrate the kind of information about the circulation of films that archival research can yield. The most accessible historical evidence of a distributor’s film releases lies in the reviews and editorial coverage they receive in the national press and high profile magazines. However, this provides only a partial picture of a film’s distribution and exhibition history.

COW’s 1983 release of Marleen Gorris’ A Question of Silence became memorable, for instance, precisely because of the highly critical and damning response it attracted from the then largely male film critics. However, COW released several feature films through the 1980s, and examination of their records–such as box office receipts, correspondence, financial records and file notes – demonstrates the considerable challenges they faced in getting feminist films into commercial cinemas and onto television, in building audiences for them, and in ‘monetizing’ the activity for the filmmakers.

COW’s records evidence a rich history of building exhibition and broadcast opportunities for feminist film in the UK, but also reveal the continual need to negotiate serious obstacles to create those opportunities, while reaping relatively small financial rewards for the filmmakers (and for themselves).

This event is organised by Grethe Mitchell (Lincoln School of Media) and will be held on the 12th March 2014, 4.30-6.00pm, University of Lincoln, Brayford Campus, MHT Building, Room MC0024. Refreshments provided!

Visit the event website

Julia Knight is Professor of Moving Image at the University of Sunderland, UK, and co-editor of Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies. Before entering academia she was co-manager of Albany Video Distribution and subsequently a member of the management committee of Cinenova, the surviving women’s film and video distributor in the UK. She has published widely on various aspects of moving image culture, but her recent research has addressed artists’ and independent film and video distribution in the UK.  This work has produced a number of journal articles, a co-authored (with Peter Thomas) book – Reaching Audiences: Distribution and Promotion of Alternate Moving Image (Intellect, 2011) – and an accompanying Film and Video Distribution Database which makes available a selection of primary research material.

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