UK’s only short film festival for women filmmakers showcases feature films for first time.

Underwire Festival 2015, the only film festival in the UK to focus on female filmmaking talent, will showcase feature films by women filmmakers for the first time, including a special 20th anniversary screening of Emma Thompson’s Sense and Sensibility.

The Violators, novelist Helen Walsh’s directorial and writing debut set in the urban wastelands of Cheshire that had its World Premiere at Edinburgh International Film Festival to great acclaim, will be among the feature films showcased. The film is receiving its London Premiere at Underwire, and will be followed by a Q&A with Helen Walsh, and lead actor Lauren McQueen.

Addicted to Sheep, an endearing documentary following a tenant farming family in the North Pennines, which was a highlight of Sheffield Doc/Fest will be followed by a Q&A with the Director Magali Pettier, and Producer Jan Cawood.

Martin Freeman, Olivia Williams, Indira Varma, Ben Whishaw and Sally Phillips are among the actors who star in fifty six short films to screen across 10 categories.

“We are looking forward to giving people a chance to see two of 2015’s most exciting new films alongside the 20th anniversary screening of Sense and Sensibility written by one of our heroes, and passionate critic of sexism in the film industry, Emma Thompson. For real long-term change to take place in the industry, it is essential that films created by women are distributed and watched in the cinema. Audiences can dictate the future shape of the industry by supporting work they want to see more of – and so with our move into features, Underwire continues its mission to change the industry from the inside out!”
Co-Founder and Co-Producer of Underwire 2015 Gabriella Apicella

Films in the festival are from all genres and styles: drama, comedy, romance, horror, documentary, animation, and explore a variety of compelling themes from parenthood, sexual exploitation, child brides, loss, transgenderism and ageing, as well as visions of womanhood that you won’t see anywhere else.

Underwire supports female talent across eight technical award categories for: Best Director, Best Producer, Best Cinematographer, Best Writer, Best Actor, Best Editor, Best Sound Designer, Best Composer. Women are underrepresented in all of these areas of filmmaking, and this is the only festival in the world to reward short film talent based on skill rather than genre. (Source:

Underwire also strives to nurture upcoming talent with the Best Under 25 Award, and presents the unique XX Award that seeks to challenge the onscreen representations of women.

After each presentation of films there will be a chance to hear from nominated filmmakers in informal filmmaker Q&A sessions.

All the award prizes are mentoring and training opportunities from partners including Women in Film & TV (UK), BFI Future Film, Directors UK, Casting Call Pro, and Screen International. The winning filmmakers, as chosen by each partner, will be announced at the Awards Ceremony that takes place on 22nd November.

One week before the festival takes place on Saturday 14th November, Underwire will hold a day of industry talks which will go behind the scenes. The focus will be on the collaborative nature of Sound Design, Composition, Cinematography, and includes a case study session from the Producer and Director of documentary feature film “They Will Have to Kill Us First” which receives its European premiere at the BFI London Film Festival.

Now in its 6th year, the festival is taking place from 20th – 22nd November at Hackney Picturehouse.


Notes to editors:

Key dates:
Saturday 14 Nov – Wired Women: Discussion Day on Filmmaking Craft
Friday 20 Nov, 6:30pm – Opening Night programme including the XX Award and Best Actor nominees
Friday 20 Nov, 8:45pm – The Violators
Saturday 21 Nov – Day of craft awards programmes
Saturday 21 Nov, 8:45pm – Addicted to Sheep
Sunday 22 Nov, from 3:30pm – Best Director and Best Producer programmes
Sunday 22 Nov, 8pm – Awards Ceremony
Sunday 22 Nov, 8:30pm – Sense and Sensibility



Festival Producers:
Abigail Addison & Gabriella Apicella

All press enquiries and access to stills:

Director Magali Pettier & Producer Jan Cawood, makers of Addicted to Sheep, are available for interview.

Festival supporters list:
Aesthetica Short Film Festival
BFI Future Film
Casting Call Pro
Creative Skillset
Directors UK
Feral Equipment
Hackney Attic
Hackney Picturehouse
Little White Lies
Musicians’ Union
Screen International
Shooting People
Sound Disposition
Tommy Vine Fund
VET Post Production
Women in Film & TV (UK)
71a Gallery

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