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Underwire Festival returns to cinemas across London with a programme packed with events, workshops, networking and incredible films.

Celebrating women working across the film crafts

Underwire’s goal is to support and spotlight women working in film across the crafts. Underwire is currently the only film festival in the UK that recognising crafts in short film. We continue doing this, and building on it, by working with partners who are just as passionate as we are about improving the abysmal statistics of women working in film – by actually doing something about it. We have ten technical award categories, each one supported by a leading film organisation, who give generous in kind prizes to support the professional development of the amazing women that we showcase every year.  Underwire supports female talent across eight technical award categories for: Best Director (supported by Directors UK), Best Producer (supported by Women in Film and Television UK), Best Cinematographer (supported by Greenkit), Best Writer (supported by Euroscript), Best Actor (supported by Spotlight), Best Editor (supported by Molinaire Hoxton), Best Sound Designer(supported by Sound Disposition), Best Composer(supported by Musicians’ Union) and this year we have introduced two new categories: Best Production Designer (supported by Farley Prop Hire) and Best Animator (supported by Blue Zoo). 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.

Underwire also strives to nurture upcoming talent with the Best Under 25 Award, supported by BFI Future Film, and presents the unique XX Award, supported by BFI NET.WORK, that seeks to challenge the onscreen representations of women.

After each of the shorts programmes, there will be a chance to hear from nominated filmmakers in informal filmmaker Q&A sessions.

For the first time, Underwire will screen all the winning shorts from this year’s festival edition in the heart of British cinema, the BFI Southbank, on Sunday 4 December.

Find out more about the short films screening at Underwire

Spotlighting directorial debuts by women 

Last year, Underwire moved into showcasing feature films made by women for the first time. We continue and expand our features strand this year with five impressive debut features by women directors: Light Years (writer/director Esther May Campbell), The Levelling (writer/director Hope Dickson Leach), The Incident (director Jane Linfoot), My Feral Heart (director Jane Gull) and Seven Songs for a Long Life (director Amy Hardie). We are looking forward to welcoming all the filmmakers to the festival for post-screening Q&As.

Find out more about the feature films screening at Underwire

In addition to celebrating new filmmaking voices, we look back at one of the finest examples of British cinema: Andrea Arnold’s own directorial debut, Red Road, which turns 10 this year. Presented here on a stunning 35mm print, we celebrate the powerful filmmaking of Arnold and the enduring impact of Red Road, now more relevant than ever before.

A new partnership with Athena Film Festival 

For the first time, we partner with a fellow film festival to bring us the most interesting shorts made by women from across the pond. Athena Film Festival has been hosting film screenings, workshops, panels and events celebrating women in leadership since 2011. To celebrate, they have curated a programme of outstanding short films that challenge the status quo and spotlight female leadership. Co-founder and Artistic Director of the festival, Melissa Silverstein, will join be joining us at Underwire to host a lively debate about women in film and will introduce the screening.

The Internet was Made for Women 

In its effort to find and shine a spotlight the best new female filmmaking talent, Underwire takes a look at the small screen to bring an event focused on the landscape of webseries and the exceptionally talented young women behind them. Instead of embarking on the painstaking process of charming mainstream commissioners, these filmmakers determined to get straight on with making the shows they wanted to watch. Now with successful web series up and running, they’ll share how they did it, and how to get the money-people to come to you. The screening will be followed by a discussion with the filmmakers behind the series. Find out more about the event.

Before the festival kicks off, Underwire will be hosting a two-day training weekender: Wired Women. Across the two days, we’ll be bringing you panel discussions, presentations and practical workshops with some of the industry’s leading ladies. Whether you’re looking to tackle the freelance world, develop your short into a feature or are seeking some guidance on that all important (and slightly mind-boggling) budget, Wired Women aims to give you those industry insights from the people who really know what they’re talking about. Full Wired Women programme and tickets can be found here. 

Check out the full Underwire Festival programme here:

 

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