In just three weeks time Underwire returns to the capital with a host of excellent films by female filmmakers. With short films, features, industry sessions, networking and discussion events there’s a lot to choose from, so here are my 5 top tips for the 5 days of Underwire:
As directorial debuts is often a theme at Underwire, here we have a selection of early films from some of Britain’s finest filmmakers including Carol Morley, debbie tucker green, Lynne Ramsay, Destiny Ekharaga and Andrea Arnold. The shorts demonstrate the unique directorial vision of each filmmaker at the beginning of their careers, with films that reflect on life in Britain with passion, humour and imagination.
Following the success of Cannes Film Festival winner American Honey, Underwire is looking back to where it all started and will be screening Andrea Arnold’s feature debut, Red Road. Not only did this important film establish that Andrea Arnold was a force to be reckoned with, it also launched the career of actor Kate Dickie (who coincidentally starred in Best Sound Design winning short Operator in 2015). Underwire is celebrating the 10th anniversary of this accomplished debut, with a special screening of a 35mm print of the film.
Anyone who claims that women aren’t funny needs to check out this programme of witty shorts. The comedic acting, writing and directing is superb, with films that delve into deviant sexual inclinations, identity crises, desperate longing, and the ultimate embarrassment. And there’s an animated delight in the mix with Terri Matthews’ award-winning short, The Wrong End of the Stick.
This programme presents an energising suite of films that take on Shakespeare, rites of passage, and the unconscious mind. There is also some strong sound design and composition to be found in these films. Oonagh Kearney has two complimentary films, The Wake and Women’s Christmas Night, in this programme, which are truly marvellous ensemble pieces with exquisite choreography.
It’s hard to choose one out of the five new features that are screening this year, but if I have to I’m going to go with The Levelling, a subtle film set in rural Somerset, where a family has to come to terms with the death of a loved one, whilst continuing to take care of the family farm. As with all of the features there’ll be a Q&A after the screening, and it will be super to hear from Writer-Director Hope Dickson Leach and Producer Rachel Robey on how they worked with the actors on location, and brought this moving tale to life.
Underwire runs from 30 November to 5 December at venues across London. Check out the entire festival programme online, then get yourself down to Underwire for some fantastic films and conversation.