Feminist Film Festival: Equality in Filmmaking Is Not So Frightening This Halloween


Joy Redmond previews the second Feminist Film Festival, which takes place 30th October – 1st November at Dublin’s The New Theatre.


The origin of Ireland’s only Feminist Film Festival reads like a Hollywood script – Karla Healion, a graduate traveling through Asia meets and is “blown away by a group of amazing former female victims of human trafficking” in Nepal. Back home and embarking on a Masters in Film Studies, Karla wants to raise money for their charity – SASANE which they established in 2008 by to train, educate and support other women who need help.

Noticing the many one-off events, premieres and talks but the absence of a full festival/weekend and just so the Feminist Film Festival is born.

Running from Friday to Sunday over the Halloween weekend in The New Theatre in Temple Bar, Karla maintains “it’s all about raising a few quid for these women while celebrating and supporting women in film. While we might get some great representation of women on screen, the vast majority of principal roles (director, editor, producer) are men so it’s good to support women behind the camera. It creates more of an equal industry. Having said that, it’s not a whinge fest – our first screening will be followed by a free talk on the ‘Achievements of Women in Film’ with Dr. Jennifer O’Meara (Maynooth University) because we have much to celebrate.”

Now in its second year, the programme has something for everyone, including the Irish premiere of Mary Dore’s She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry, a documentary charting the U.S. women’s movement between 1966-1971.

“This year, all films are directed by women so it’s really important to make sure they get the exposure they deserve if we consider that only 5% of big budget films are from female directors or even closer to home, that 13% of films funded by the Irish Film Board are written by women so it’s all about trying to get more parity. The upside to the lack of blockbusters headed up by women is that when you approach the companies regarding the licence or the possibility of a premiere, we end up talking to actual filmmakers themselves, it’s interesting like that and makes it kind of intimate.”

The programme is eclectic to say the least and is the result of the work of a group of volunteers over the last few months.

“Instead of an overt theme, we wanted to be representational, e.g. a film that represented the non-western experience (Shinjuku Boys), something Irish (Bernadette: Notes on a Political Journey), an Irish premiere (She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry), which is a real coup for us considering it sold out in the London Feminist Film Festival – it’s really inspiring and shines a bit of light on the journey since the early ’70s and, indeed, what hasn’t changed. We were delighted to include the 1962 classic Cléo from 5 to 7 by Agnès Varda and because of the weekend that’s in it, we had to include a Halloween Horror special with Jennifer Kent’s The Babadook.”

One learning from last year was the lack of appropriate material for younger girls so Whip It should prove popular: “It’s a coming-of-age movie which should resonate with 12 year olds and up. It’s a really powerful message to younger audiences that the filmmaker behind the character is a woman and we want them to walk out and think ‘that was made by women, i could do that’. The festival is about empowering people of any age and getting the point across that women can be cultural producers and not just consumers of art or being objectified.”

It’s not all moving pictures either with a fair smattering of talks and panel discussions chaired by academics and film makers. Karla’s personal favourite of the weekend’s line-up, the closing panel discussion chaired by Professor Maria Pramaggiore (Head of Media Studies, Maynooth University): ‘Forms of Feminist Film: Fiction, Non-fiction, Experimental’ with Lelia Doolan (filmmaker; director of Bernadette: Notes on a Political Journey), Dr. Maeve Connolly (Co-director ARC programme, IADT), Jesse Jones (filmmaker and visual artist), and Tess Motherway (documentary filmmaker and festival director at Dublin Doc Fest).

So put the Halloween weekend in your diary for Dublin’s second feminist film festival in the New Theatre in Temple Bar.

“We’re really happy to be back in this intimate environment – the layout is friendly/close knit, everyone is on the same level so the venue is very appropriate venue to our ethos, no podiums and mics just everyone sitting together and chatting.”

With intimacy comes a limited capacity of just 66 seats, so audiences are advised to book in advance to avoid disappointment. Tickets can be bought online or free talks booked here

Just like the 2014 festival, ALL profits from the Feminist Film Festival will once again go to Sasane and the Sasane SOS/Sisterhood of Survivors, Nepal. No money will be taken for admin, handling or processing from the profits, the event is run voluntarily.


If you can’t make the festival, you can DONATE DIRECTLY HERE:

Further details and information about the Feminist Film Festival is available on their Website: http://feministfilmfestivaldublin.com

Or you can contact them directly via Email: info@feministfilmfestivaldublin.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FeministFilmFestival or

Twitter (@FemmoFilmFest)




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