Older women dominate the silver screen at Brighton film festival

Posted On 16 Sep 2017 at 12:12 pm

The Women Over 50 Film Festival (WOFFF) is taking place in Brighton this weekend with a mission to redress the age and gender imbalance faced by older women in the film industry.

Actress Greta Scacchi, who lives near Brighton, said: “I am delighted that the Women Over 50 Film Festival is here to upset the Hollywood apple cart that accepts actresses playing ten years older while actors can play ten years younger.

“This festival is unique in celebrating rather than hiding or ignoring older women in film.

“WOFFF rejoices in our older stories, older faces and older hearts and it is my pleasure to be associated with the festival.”

The organisers said: “WOFFF champions women over 50 in front of and behind the camera – and this September’s third annual, interactive, engaging, entertaining weekend of films and activities for older women and their friends looks to be the largest event yet, with 55 films being screened from over 150 submissions from around the world, the largest number of submissions ever received.”

The festival opened at the Duke of York’s on Thursday evening (14 September) with a screening of Mamma Mia.

Today and tomorrow dozens of short films are being shown in eight “programmes” at the Sallis Benney Theatre, in Grand Parade, Brighton.

The organisers said: “This year’s festival includes work from filmmakers in the UK, Ireland, France, Australia, USA and Canada – countries which have been represented at the festival in previous years. Festival director Nuala O’Sullivan said: “What’s exciting this year is that for the first time we’re also screening work from filmmakers in Afghanistan, Iran and Egypt.”

Maureen Lipman, Denise Welch, Anita Dobson, Miriam Margolyes, Carrie Cohen, Ewan MacIntosh, Sheila Reid and Maureen Beattie are among the stars of this year’s films.

The organisers said: “As well as eight programmes of over 50 short films, there is an all-female panel event, filmmaker Q&As, a lecture about older women’s representation on screen and a variety of practical workshops.

“There are workshops to interest filmmakers and non-filmmakers alike. Sessions include How to Make a Film on your Smart Phone and How to Navigate Digital Distribution and Self Distribution.

“For non-filmmakers there are workshops on Learning to Embroider with Vanessa Marr from the University of Brighton and Latin American Dance with 86 year-old Elsa Perez, who is also the subject of the documentary ‘Get Riel’ which is screening at WOFFF.”

Nuala O’Sullivan said: “We’re excited to see the depth and breadth of talent on display, both on screen at the festival and in our other events.

“We’re delighted to have film industry professionals, like Felicity Beckett and Claire Lamond, on our jury panel and University of Brighton film academics Vanessa Marr and Louise FitzGerald hosting workshops and delivering lectures at this year’s WOFFF.”

Veronica Slater, a Brighton-based visual artist, and Leah Thorn, a performance poet, are collaborating with the festival.

Ms Slater is exhibiting her work Caravan to Castles throughout the festival and Ms Thorn has written a poem especially for WOFFF, entitled “A treatment for women over 50”. A film of her performing this piece will open the festival shorts programme.

WOFFF closes tomorrow evening (Sunday 17 September) with an awards ceremony and jury prizes for all winning filmmakers – Best Animation, Best Drama, Best Documentary, Best Experimental Film and the Audience Choice Award.

Ticket prices start from £8.55 per programme. For tickets, click here.

A Weekend Pass for all eight programmes is £56.35.

For more information about the Women Over 50 Film Festival 2017, click here.

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