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Women's Film and Television History Network - UK/Ireland Website Developer & Manager

Barbara Hammer’s Nitrate Kisses, Exchange Bristol, 21 August 2019

Nitrate Kisses questions how history is recorded and encourages the viewer, gay or straight, to save scraps, letters, books, records, and snapshots in order to preserve our ‘ordinary’ lives as history.” – Barbara Hammer

Barbara Hammer is a legend and pioneer of things queer and experimental, yet her films are barely accessible. Hammer died in March this year and this screening of her best-known work Nitrate Kisses will be an ode, a celebration, and an opportunity to unite as a community, sharing thoughts, ideas, and issues. This event promotes queer visibility and confronts film history’s tendency to exclude the marginalised.

Working together with animator and filmmaker Vicky Smith, member of Bristol Experimental and Expanded Film collective (BEEF), we will hold a 16mm projection of Nitrate Kisses, and screen a few short films from BEEF members (to be announced), followed by a panel discussion and time for audience Q&A.

This event has just successfully reached its Kickstarter funding goal!

Tickets available from Eventbrite.

Watch a clip and find out more on the event’s Facebook page.

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Frankfurt Women’s Film Days, 26 November – 1 December 2019

Save the date for the second edition of
REMAKE: Frankfurt Women’s Film Days
Viewing History, Herstory in the Cinema

Kinothek Asta Nielsen, 26 November – 1 December 2019

Men’s history – the history of white, Western men – has blocked women’s access to their own history for centuries. This only began to change in the 20th century. In order for it to happen, fundamental criticism and an expansion of the established way of looking at the approach to and content of history and historical research were necessary.      

New fields relating to the private, the intimate and the body have opened up as women search for their history. The sharp distinction between the human as a historical being and the animal as a natural one is also questioned. (Elisabeth de Fontenay, Le Silence des bêtes, la philosophie à l’épreuve de l’animalité); we will screen Pokot, directed by Agniesza Holland, 2017 in our programme.)

Theatrical film, the mass culture of the 20th century, displays an affinity for the newly discovered areas of history in which women had their place and their living environment. The cinema was full of stories of private life, of love, of gender relations; film established awareness of the body and – at least in silent films – democracy among humans, animals and the tangible world. At REMAKE, we will screen the Swedish film Thora van Deken (John W. Brunius, 1920) and John M. Stahl’s The Child Thou Gavest Me (1921). In both films, the look back at history plays an illuminative role: the male gaze breaks off, and awareness of women’s reality becomes possible.

When the women’s movement discovered film for itself in the 60s and 70s, theoreticians saw their task as uncovering this affinity once again. They began with radical criticism of the cinematic forms in which male dominance reproduced itself, the narrative and dramatic forms that had existed since ancient epics and Greek tragedy and were repeated in film. Teresa de Lauretis established a connection between narrative forms and the mental formation of gender roles. In “Desire in Narrative”, she advocated, among other things, that classical Hollywood films be remade to call forth a different view of history. In our programme, this aspect will be represented in particular by two Westerns – the masculine genre par excellence –  that were made by women filmmakers.

Amateur films, or films that work with home movie material, are an important part of our programme because they contain not fictional but documentary footage of private life. They comprise a view from below on societal and political history (Absent Present, Angelika Levi 2010; Ums freiwerden hätte es ja gehen sollen, a film by actress and author Elfriede Irrall about her mother, 1977)

But the break with “male cinema”, the standard phrase in the 70s, also opens awareness of our affinity with others who have been denied their own history: the suppressed classes and ethnicities, the old and new slaves. It becomes possible to feel closer to the lives of ‘others’ depicted in films than to the men who provide a position for their women in society. Not least with a view to the centrality of Hollywood in our cinema past and present, we will screen two films by Julie Dash: Illusions and Daughters of the Dust. The latter explicitly thematises a differing view of history.

Films are relevant for the Frankfurt Women’s Film Days when they address the doubly hidden role of women in suppressed German and European history. Das falsche Wort (Melanie Spitta and Kathrin Seybold) and Beneath the Olive Tree (Stavroula Tosca) are two such films that we will screen at REMAKE.

For more information please go to http://www.remake-festival.de/

WFTHN Members Win Prestigious BAFTSS Awards

WFTHN congratulate our members Mary Harrod, Katarzyna Paszkiewicz, Melanie Bell and Isabel Seguí on their well-deserved success at the BAFTSS 2019 awards.  The full list of awards and comments can be found here.  

Mary Harrod

According to Mary, their collection Women Do Genre in Film and Television was born at the Doing Women’s Film and Television History Conference, at UEA in 2014. She and Kata met on a panel, along with fellow contributor Deborah Jermyn. The collection also features a preface by WFTHN founder Christine Gledhill. The publication which arose was described by BAFTSS as containing ‘nuanced, thoughtful essays’ and is ‘vital in its approach to genre.’

Katarzyna Paszkiewicz

The judges noted that the writing moved on from the notion of subversion in women’s production and specifically worked ‘with the force of genre and the many questions around it.’ The collection features essays on authorship, romcoms and Melissa McCarthy to name just a few of the topics covered. Read more about the project’s evolution in Kata’s post, published last year.

Melanie Bell

Melanie Bell’s winning journal article,  Learning to Listen: Histories of Women’s Soundwork in the British Film Industry’ published in Screen, was anticipated by her presentation at Women Breaking the Sound Barrier, held at the BFI, London in June 2016.  Exploring the contributions of women behind the camera and their technical expertise, the judges described the article as ‘an outstanding piece of historiographical filmic research’ based on ‘painstaking’ research.  Its scholarly importance was acknowledged, namely its restoration of the ‘overlooked’ work of women in a ‘timely […] feminist reworking.’ Melanie is delighted that her win means the study of feminist film history is receiving greater publicity and new audiences.  A WFTHN review of the sound event itself can be read here.

Isabel Seguí

Isabel Seguí has won the Best Doctoral Student Article or Chapter 2019 for her article which challenges established authorship approaches:Auteurism, Machismo-Leninismo, and Other Issues: Women’s Labor in Andean Oppositional Film Production’.   According to BAFTSS, Isabel succeeded in constructing ‘new paradigms for historiographic methodologies in screen industries research’. Isabel wrote the article in between WFTHN’s biannual conferences and credits their influence as inspiring, describing the 2016 conference as ‘life-changing’ since ‘I felt that I found a community of like-minded researchers.’ Specifically Isabel states that her WFTHN conference experiences enabled her ‘to write the article in those terms.’

Alongside congratulations, we send a huge thank you to all of the winners.  Their success reaffirms all of our academic members’ commitment to recover and reassess women’s work in film and television through exceptional scholarly effort. And, thereby, to place it at the centre of the film academy debates where it belongs.    

References

Bell, Melanie (2017). ‘Learning to Listen: Histories of Women’s Soundwork in the British Film Industry’ Screen, 58: 4, pp. 437-57.

Harrod, M. And Paszkiewicz, K. (2018). Women Do Genre in Film and Television. New York and London: Routledge.

Seguí, I. (2018). ‘Auteurism, Machismo-Leninismo, and Other Issues Women’s Labor in Andean Oppositional Film Production’, Feminist Media Histories, 4:1, pp.11-36. 

Doing Women’s Film and Television History Conference V: Call for Papers

Doing Women’s Film and Television History Conference V: Forming Histories/Histories in Formation

20-22 May, 2020, Maynooth University, Maynooth, Co. Kildare, Ireland

Keynote: Kasandra O’Connell, Irish Film Archive
Further Keynotes: TBC

The fifth biennial Doing Women’s Film & Television History conference invites proposals from researchers and practitioners engaged in the exploration, uncovering, archiving and dissemination of women’s roles in film and television, as well as wider media, both in the past and today.

The theme of this conference – ‘Forming Histories/ Histories in Formation’ – aims to foreground issues pertaining to the production, curation and archiving of women’s histories in film and television as well as the methods for, and approaches to, producing and shaping these histories as they form. More particularly, much can be learned from the diversity of practices, experiences and narratives of women’s film and television history as they pertain to:  national, transnational, world and global histories; neglected, peripheral or hidden histories; organisations such as museums, archives and universities; collectives, groups and movements such as #MeToo; local communities and community media; emergent forms and platforms; and historical approaches to women’s reception of film and television as well as historicising current practices and experiences of reception, fandom and consumption.

This three-day conference casts the net wide so that it can capture a range of experiences, practices, industries, nationalities and voices that are situated in relation to women and their histories. The conference provides a platform for those working in and researching film, television and media more generally as well as those invested in the production of these histories and narratives of the past and as they materialise. 

We invite papers that can provide added richness to the theme of ‘Women in Film & Television,’ and are, in addition, especially interested in the following areas:

  • International and comparative perspectives on women in film and television
  • Histories of women’s creative practice, production and technical work and film/cinema and television work more generally in various national, regional, or local contexts; transnational film and television; migration and diasporas
  • Approaches to histories of women’s indigenous production, including Third Cinema and grassroots film and television production
  • Representations of women in historical film and television
  • Female audiences, reception, fandom of film and television
  • Considerations of methodological and theoretical approaches to the study of women in film and television and their audiences
  • Archival research methods and approaches including feminist archiving practices
  • Use of recently established or historically neglected women’s media archives
  • Artefacts and ephemera in women’s archives: moving image, photographic and digital media, scripts, merchandise, etc. 
  • Considerations of how gender intersects with race, class, ethnicity, in relation to film and television production, reception or representation
  • Revisiting production and labour through the lens of #MeToo and #TimesUp, including historical formations of, and historicising, such movements
  • Changing meanings of women and womanhood as reflected and shaped by the interventions of women in film and television as producers, critics, and campaigners.
  • Teaching women’s film and television history; feminist pedagogies; the politics of education and training; women’s experiences of moving from education to employment in film and television

We welcome papers on subjects outside of these areas and that enhance the interpretations and meanings of ‘Doing Women’s Film & Television History.’

Please submit proposals of 250 words along with the paper’s title and a 50-word biography. Presentations should be no longer than 20 minutes, including clips and images. We welcome pre-constituted panels of three to four presenters (with panel title and abstract of 150 words), proposals for roundtables or workshops and presentations from researchers, practitioners, creatives and industry professionals. Deadline for proposals Oct 11th 2019. Email: dwfthv@gmail.com

We are pleased to make available a number of bursaries for Irish and international postgraduate students, early career researchers (within one-year of permanent contract) and those on part-time or zero-hour contracts. These will help support travel and accommodation to the conference. In order to apply, please submit to dwfthv@gmail.com a 250-word abstract along with a 300-word statement that includes: an indication of the relevance of your paper to the conference themes; reference to the intended output of the research; details of your current employment/student status. The deadline is Oct 11th 2019 and please use “Bursary application” in the subject line.

Hosted by
Department of Media Studies, Maynooth University
Women’s Film and Television History Network- UK/Ireland

Organising and programming committee
Mary Immaculate College, Limerick
Maynooth University
Queen’s University Belfast
University College Cork
University College Dublin

Cinema and Television History Institute (CATHI) Postgraduate Archives Day and travel bursary opportunity

News Announcement for WFTHN members : from CATHI, De Montford University

Are you a final year undergraduate, MA, PhD student or early career researcher with an interest in archives and archival research in film and TV history?

On Tuesday May 21st 2019 the Cinema and Television History Institute (CATHI) at De Montfort University, Leicester will be hosting a Postgraduate Archives Open Day intended to help you develop your archival research skills, enable you to engage in debates around archiving and archival research, and provide you with an opportunity to network with researchers and curatorial staff from DMU, and other important regional and national film archives. You will be introduced to a range of material from our own unique collections including: the Peter Whitehead Archive, the Hammer Script Archive, the Andrews Davies Archive, the Palace Pictures Archive and the Cinema Museum’s Indian Cinemas Archive.

Guest speakers at this special event will include Natalie Hayton and Katherine Short of De Montfort University Special Collections, Clare Watson from the Media Archive for Central England (MACE) and Wendy Russell from the British Film Institute (BFI).

Entrance is free and refreshments will be provided, but there will be a small charge for an optional networking lunch at a local curry restaurant. Places are limited so advance booking is essential.

We are offering four £50 travel bursaries that are intended to enable promising new scholars to attend Cinema and Television History Research Institute (CATHI) events. These are available to final year undergraduates and MAs who are not yet registered for a PhD. Simply contact Dr Ellen Wright for an application form. A decision will be made by early April.

Any queries please contact Dr Ellen Wright at Ellen.Wright@dmu.ac.uk