Lights, camera, action: Belfast Feminist Film School in call for women to sign up for workshop


An exciting new Belfast feminist project is holding a second workshop for women who are interested in learning more about filmmaking.

The Belfast Feminist Film School (BFFS) is a new initiative led by Dr Jolene Mairs Dyer, Dr Jennie Carlsten, Oonagh Parish and Jan Uprichard from Ulster University.

Participants at the Belfast Feminist Film School

They are aiming to redress the imbalance of gender perspectives in the film industry today by supporting women to write and make films about subjects which are significant to, and informed by, a female frame of reference.

The inaugural BFFS took place in September 2022 with 20 people taking part. The week-long school introduced participants to feminist film theory and provided hands-on workshops on screenwriting, cinematography, sound recording and editing. The group also screened and discussed films by key female directors: Margot Harkin’s Hush-A-Bye Baby (1990), Andrea Arnold’s Fish Tank (2009), Ana Lily Amirpour’s A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2015) and Olivia Wilde’s Booksmart (2019). Participants worked in small groups to produce feminist-themed short films that were screened at the end of the week, followed by a pizza party and feminist disco. Breakfast and lunch was also provided each day.

A spokeswoman for the group said: “BFFS is unique in that we acknowledge that financial conditions and caring responsibilities act as barriers to engaging in filmmaking, and that this currently disproportionately affects women. We therefore provided bursaries of £200 to 50 per cent of our BFFS 2022 participants in order to provide financial support with covering costs associated with these barriers.

“We also actively seek to bring our training and resources to women who would otherwise be unable to attend conventional training courses and we strive to populate our feminist film schools with female-identifying people from a wide range of backgrounds. In addition, BFFS participants retain access to a camera and sound kit as well as access to post-production facilities after completing our film school.

“Building on the success of BFFS 2022, in partnership with this year’s Belfast Festival of Learning, we are offering a one-day workshop on Saturday, March 25 this year. It is open to anyone aged 15+ not currently enrolled on a higher education film production course with an interest in feminist filmmaking. Twenty participants will watch some short feminist films, learn about some key feminist filmmaking concepts, take part in hands-on filmmaking workshops and will then work in small groups to make feminist short films using their own mobile phones. Follow us on our social media channels for details on how to book a place.”

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