Minority Report: Women & Film @ GFF 2013

We preview the array of events debating and celebrating female filmmakers at this year's Glasgow Film Festival and Glasgow Short Film Festival

Feature by Helen Wright | 07 Feb 2013
  • Margaret Tait – Garden Pieces

This year’s Glasgow Film Festival (GFF) features productions with 170 male directors against 29 female ones. The ratio for work competing in the International and Scottish competitions in the affiliated Glasgow Short Film Festival (GSFF) is 54 to 18. (Note: figures were compiled using a slightly presumptive association of names and pictures and there is at least one genderqueer person in the count.) These are not unusual statistics, which gives an idea of the gender imbalance in today’s film industry.

Wheels are happily being put into motion to address this state of affairs in a series of events on Women & Film as part of GSFF. First up, a symposium led by scholar Sue Thornham will tackle the concept of female authorship (Female Authorship Symposium, 8 Feb). An oft-controversial topic, the idea that a person’s gender affects their artistic output will be dissected. A separate panel of experts, including writer and critic Hannah McGill and indie director Tom Kalin, will look at structural barriers, the machinations of the industry, and ask what difficulties females face in getting projects made (Why Can't Women Make Feature Films?, 9 Feb).

Investigating female filmmaking is vital in convincing audiences swamped in male-centric mainstream fare that they are missing out on a richness of differing perspectives. Women & Film’s Her Take (8 Feb) helps this process along by showcasing the work of Scottish filmmakers past. From Jenny Gilbertson’s 1932 Scenes From a Shetland Croft Life to Margaret Tait’s end of the millennium Garden Pieces, a tantalising record of some of the nation’s best directors is on offer. Overtly feminist creativity, also requisite in expressing why difference and its representation matter, is provided by Emilia Muller-Ginorio and Julia Scott’s Body/Labour/Movement(s) (10 Feb), a screening, performance, and discussion in one.

In the spirit of GSFF’s welcome feminist intervention, we can admit that critics are also responsible for sexism in cinema. Even within the hallowed pages of The Skinny we could be doing more to rectify the gender gap. Press attention often gravitates towards male artists, who can be louder and better at self-promotion. Fewer in number, and usually working with smaller budgets and less awards-baiting subject matter, female filmmakers are sometimes neglected in the PR scrum. In acknowledgement of this, we present our take on GFF 2013: a preview of some of the top filmmaking talents whose work is coming to Glasgow and who happen to be female.

Quiet Revolution: Haifaa al-Mansour on Wadjda

The Eclectic: Caroline Sascha Cogez on her GSFF retrospective

No Penis Required: Films from Female Directors @ GFF 2013

Female Authorship Symposium | 8 Feb | 11am

Her Take: Scottish Women Filmmakers | 8 Feb | 5pm

Why Can't Women Make Feature Films? | 9 Feb | 3.30pm

Body/Labour/Movement(s) | 10 Feb | 3pm

Glasgow Women's Pop-Up Library | 8-10 Feb | 10am–9pm