Defining ‘Women’s Film Festival’: ‘See the World through Women’s Eyes?’, ‘Celebrating Women Filmmakers?’ or ‘Women Make Waves?’
During the 1970s Second Waves Feminist Movements, feminists mainly from western Europe and America, started to become aware of the significance of developing feminist film theories, criticism and filmmaking including distribution and exhibitions. The term ‘women’s film festival’ was created in that period and then spread out other countries located in Asia. There are more than forty women’s film festivals worldwide so far. Nowadays, these festivals can become an essential exhibition of feminist/women’s films. In addition, they also play an important role in distributing feminist films when distributors of feminist films have declined since 1991. However, research related to ‘women’s film festival’ is still underestimated in feminist film studies/film festivals studies.
There are three methods in my research to collect data. Firstly, using secondary analysis is to collect missions and developments of the festivals around the world online. Secondly, conducting in-depth interviews with festival directors is to have an insight into the festivals. Thirdly, employing participation and observation in remarkable/historical women’s film festivals in Creteil (France), London (UK), Dortmund/Koln(German), Seoul (Korea), Taipei(Taiwan) and Osaka(Japan) to construct a comparative point of view between the “West” and the “East”.
Through analysing these data, the paper intends to define ‘women’s film festival’ and to map development of the festivals worldwide in terms of difference between time and space. I also examine critically that the activism and dilemmas of women’s film festivals in contemporary society, which is associated with feminist practice globally and locally. The paper will investigate them by the following points: politics of naming; argument of women’s film and female point of view; and a possibility of constructing a circuit of women-made films through global women’s film festivals.
Keywords: Women’s Film Festival, Film Festival, Women’s Film, Feminist Practice, Feminist Film, Film exhibition, Politics of Naming, Activism
DPhill Student, Department of Media and Film, University of Sussex