Underwire Festival 2015: Celebrating Women Creatives in the Film Industry

The UK’s only short film festival for women filmmakers expands its innovative programme to include feature films for the first time. Now in its 6th year, Underwire Festival 2015 will open on 20 November at Hackney Picturehouse, London, with its trademark focus on female creatives contributing to the film industry. From directors, producers, cinematographers and actors to writers, sound designers and composers, Underwire celebrates the achievements of women working across a vast array of genres and styles including drama, comedy, romance, horror, documentary and animation.

Founded in 2010 by Gabriella Apicella and Gemma Mitchell, this year’s edition welcomes a special 20th anniversary screening of Emma Thompson’s Sense and Sensibility; the London premiere of novelist Helen Walsh’s directorial and writing debut The Violators, followed by a Q&A with the director and lead actor Lauren McQueen; and Addicted to Sheep, an endearing documentary portraying a tenant farming family in the North Pennines, followed by a Q&A with the director Magali Pettier and producer Jan Cawood. Underwire’s popular shorts programme returns with fervour and is comprised of 56 works screening across 10 different categories. Notable actors appearing in these shorts include Martin Freeman, Olivia Williams, Indira Varma, Ben Whishaw and Sally Phillips.

Films in the festival explore a range of compelling themes from parenthood, sexual exploitation, child brides, loss, transgenderism and ageing, as well as fresh visions of womanhood that you won’t see anywhere else. Underwire supports established and emerging female talent across eight technical award categories: Best Director, Best Producer, Best Cinematographer, Best Writer, Best Actor, Best Editor, Best Sound Designer and Best Composer. These prestigious awards reflect upon the fact that women are underrepresented in all of these areas of filmmaking. Underwire remains the only festival worldwide to reward talent based on skill rather than genre.

Other awards and initiatives include Best Under 25 Award, which nurtures new and upcoming creatives, and the XX Award, an accolade given to roles that challenge the onscreen representations of women. The recipients of this year’s prizes will be announced at an Awards Ceremony on Sunday 22 November. Prizes include mentoring and training opportunities from partners including Women in Film & TV (UK), BFI Future Film, Directors UK, Casting Call Pro, and Screen International.

Underwire began its 6th edition activities with a day of industry talks on Saturday 14 November, offering attendees a behind the scenes glimpse at the collaborative nature of Sound Design, Composition, Cinematography.

Underwire Festival, 20 – 22 November, Hackney Picturehouse, London.

For more, visit www.underwirefestival.com.

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1. Still from Helen Walsh’s The Violators.