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This is a special year for Underwire Festival, for several reasons. For one, the festival turns ten this year. After ten years, which have seen six festival directors, hundreds of short films, countless emails, epic events, creative collaborations and nourishing partnerships, the mission of the festival remains the same: spotlight female film talent.


A bigger programme and expanded team 


Underwire has remained fully independent over the past ten years, and has focused its growth on rigorous curation, audience development and fostering a lively, fun experience for every filmmaker and audience member. This year, the team also expands, in order to continue broadening ideas and the reach of the festival, with Production Director Kim Sheehan and Business Director Jasmin Morrison joining the ranks to help lead Underwire Festival forward. 

Every year, the festival’s programme goes bigger, and this year is no exception, screening a whopping 192 short films, each with a woman in a HOD position that is nominated in at least one category at the Underwire Awards. Each of the festival programmes screens at one of our venue partners, which include  the BFI Southbank, Barbican, Prince Charles Cinema, The Castle Cinema, Rich Mix and Regent Street Cinema, where we will be hosting our opening night screening. This year, the festival team also welcomed new programmers Catriona Delbridge, who looks at difficult subjects including boundaries and parenting in her programmes, and Lainey Richardson, who has put together fantastic programmes exploring activism and dating.  Each of the shorts programmes are built around a theme, exploring everything from motherhood to masculinity, genre likes comedy and horror, memories and trauma.


Spotlight on producer Loran Dunn and director Charlotte Regan 

Underwire has dedicated retrospectives to up-and-coming practitioners who, having established themselves, are on the cusp of breaking big. In previous year, retrospectives have been dedicated to writer-director Kate Herron (who has recently directed Sex Edudcation on Netflix) and Georgia Parris (who has just released her debut feature Mari), as well as prolific cinematographer Rina Yang. This year, the festival celebrates the distinctive work of producer Loran Dunn, who has made a name for herself over the last decade working with exciting new British talent. Interested in brave, edgy, challenging and provocative stories, often centered on characters in turmoil,  her work is distinctive, and we’re proud to screen it, especially as most of Loran’s films have screened at Underwire throughout the years.

This year’s other retrospective is exciting writer-director Charlotte Regan, also a regular at Underwire, who’s intensely prolific and has developed an impressive body of work. Across her work, Regan has developed an uncanny ability to capture vulnerability in monstrous characters, and present them not for judgement, but for empathy. Often centering her camera on men in crisis, she looks beyond simple notions of masculinity and immerses the audience in her characters’ world, always leaving a distinctive mark. With her signature visual style apparent since her very early work, her filmmaking has only grown stronger and more assured.


Guest curators 

Continuing for the fruitful programme partnerships from last year, Underwire has invited guest curators to this year’s edition: film collective Forever Young Film Club will be hosting a screening of Andrea Arnold’s Fish Tank (which is also celebrating its tenth anniversary!) and her early short Dog; and the Girls in Film (GiF) platform for a new generation of female filmmakers will present a screening of shorts that explore activism has become one of the defining interests of our generation.


Ten years of Underwire 

To celebrate the festival’s tenth anniversary, we have put together a special programme looking back at the excellent work that’s been showcased over the years,. The programme will include films by Deborah Haywood, Caroline Bartleet, Terri Matthews and Georgia Parris. Over the past decade, Underwire has screened exceptional female talent that has gone on to make award-winning short films and features. The festival has positioned itself as a hub of highly curated short filmmaking, building a community of filmmaking talent around it that continues to be as inspiring as it is humbling.

Dive into the Underwire 2019 Programme:

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