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Feminist Film Manifestos VI

International Women’s Film Festival at the CCCB



In the 1970s, several feminist organisations highlighted the need to address issues and perspectives that, despite being present on the agenda of feminist movements of the time, remained elusive and outside the accepted canons of mainstream film production. This led to films being created through collective discussions resulting from the work of activists at that historic time.

At this sixth edition of the Feminist Film Manifestos, we’ve recovered films produced by some of these groups in Europe and the United States: the Sheffield Film Co-Op and Leeds Animation Workshop from the UK; Iris Films from the USA, the "150 Ore’" programme from Italy and Les Insoumuses from France. The screening of the films will be accompanied by a discussion involving representatives from different groups, programmatically positioned within the feminist film movements, which are currently working in the areas of distribution, documentation and historiography, such as the Centre Audiovisuel Simone de Beauvoir, Frauen und Film, Kinothek Asta Nielsen, Cinenova and Women Make Movies.

Thursday, 5 November, 7 pm

- Women and Children Last, Sheffield Film Co-Op, Great Britain, 1971, 16 minutes

This first film by the Sheffield Film Co-Op, made with the collaboration of Sheffield Cablevision, portrays the difficulties of getting around a city for many women with small children, at a time when the city was not designed or built to move around with pushchairs, nor were they welcome on buses or in shops. The film condemns this situation and appeals to the relevant authorities and shopkeepers to change the situation.

- Maso et Miso vont en bateau, Les Insoumuses, France, 1976, 55 minutes

The Les Insoumuses feminist video collection dissects and responds, point by point, but with humour, to Bernard Pivot’s special broadcast with Françoise Giroud, Secretary of State for the Condition of Women. “On the 30th of December 1975, after watching Bernard Pivot’s programme on Antenne 2 entitled ‘One more day and International Women’s Year will be over’, we felt a huge need to express our point of view and to respond...”. A veritable political kidnapping, a humorous hack and a manifesto for feminist video. [Copy from the archive of Centre audiovisuel Simone de Beauvoir.]

Friday, 6 November

6 pm

Virtual colloquium about different historical collective experiences in the feminist audiovisual world. With the participation of: Nicole Fernandez, Centre Audiovisuel Simone de Beauvoir (France) + Karola Gramann, Frauen und Film + Kinothek Asta Nielsen (Germany) + Cinenova Collective (Great Britain) + Debra Zimmermann, Women Make Movies (United States).

8 pm

- Soy Cámara, International Women’s Film Festival, Spain, 2020, 20 minutes

- Seeing for ourselves – Women working with film, Margaret Williams, Great Britain, 1983, 56 minutes

This piece, co-produced by Channel 4 and the British Arts Council, is about the experience of Circles, an organisation set up in 1980 to promote films made by women and to encourage research and discussion regarding women’s experiences in the audiovisual sector. With a very particular narrative, this documentary includes the voices and experiences of some Circles co-founders such as Joanna Davis, Tina Keane, Annabel Nicolson, Felicity Sparrow and Lis Rhodes. It also includes two films by historical filmmakers who’ve been vindicated at such meetings: A House Divided by Alice Guy (1913) and La souriante Madame Beudet by Germaine Dulac (1922).

Saturday, 7 November

6 pm

- In the Best Interest of the Children, Frances Reid, Elizabeth Stevens and Cathy Zheutlin, United States, 1977, 53 minutes

A film produced by Iris Films, a feminist film production and distribution group set up in the seventies in the United States. This piece documents lesbian motherhood and shows, in an innovative way, how ethnic and class inequalities intersect through the comments of various lesbian mothers and their sons and daughters.

- A Question of Choice, Sheffield Film Co-Op, Great Britain, 1982, 18 minutes

A documentary portrait of two cleaning women, a school cook and a lollipop lady that reveals the limited employment opportunities available to English women with families in their care in the early 1980s.

- Give Us a Smile, Leeds Animation Workshop, Great Britain, 1983, 13 minutes

This collective stands out for its collaborative work in the field of animation and also for its often humorous approach to the different situations of discrimination experienced by women. Give Us a Smile shows the effects of the daily harassment suffered by women, from comments in the street to gender stereotypes in the media and physical violence. Tackling real statements of cases of rape and sexual abuse in Leeds during the seventies and early eighties, the protagonist of this animated film manages to turn the situation around and restore women’s safety.

8 pm

- Scuola senza fine, Adriana Monti in collaboration with the ‘150 Ore’ training programme, Italy, 40 minutes

Between 1974 and 1982, the so-called 150-hour training courses took place in Italy. Initially these were aimed at factories and farm workers but were later also extended to pensioners and housewives. Scuola senza fine is based on a pedagogical experiment, taking the form of classes given to a group of housewives through collaboration between the director, the students and their teacher, Lea Meandri. The aim of the film is to show the close relationships established between the women, the discussions regarding how they are represented and how they wish to be represented, and, in short, how the course served as a place for self-awareness and to reappraise the values that give meaning to their lives.

- The Life and Hard Times of Susie P. Winklepicker, Deborah Hall and the Women and the Law Collective, United Kingdom, 1986, 35 minutes

A combination of documentary, black comedy and musical, this highly original piece, made in collaboration with the Women and the Law Collective, shows some of the ways in which, throughout history, national states have designed systems that encourage women to be economically dependent on men.


Digital projection, original language with Spanish subtitles.

Sessions introduced by the programming team of the International Women’s Film Festival.

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