This year, UnderWire launched a new awards category to recognise and encourage the work of women who were writing about film journalistically, but who perhaps had not yet been published or had the opportunity to share their work. Whilst there are growing numbers of women who are resident or freelance film critics for broadsheet and specialist publications, the majority of film reviews, features and interviews are conducted by male journalists, resulting in responses to film culture being filtered through the voice of one dominant gender. Reflecting on groups like the Alliance of Women Film Journalists in the States – which exists to support and promote the work of female critics – we believe the UK needs to take a more progressive attitude towards making this cultural bubble a more inclusive one. Less of a boys club, so to speak. Hats off to Sight & Sound for running their competition for women film journalists earlier in the year, and we’re also keen to follow the development of STUDIO, Britain’s first women’s film magazine.

And now to shine the light on our own writers, whose work impressed our judges and who each have selected their own favourite to produce a piece for their publication. Congratulations to Jo Shaw (Electric Sheep), Clare Pennington (The Quietus), Kamakshi Tiwary (Little White Liews) and Caroline Cooks-Burns (Aesthetica) whose work will find a new audience amongst these (online) pages, as well as through their posts as resident bloggers for UnderWire during the festival. We hope this opportunity – albeit it modest – helps to kickstart their careers for the future.

* Image: Karina Longworth, one of today’s most interesting and influential film film critics.

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