Now in its fourth year, the Dublin Feminist Film Festival has established firm roots on Dublin’s cultural calendar, shining a spotlight on women in film. The DFFF promotes and celebrates female filmmakers, hoping to inspire and empower others to get involved in filmmaking.
This involves considering women on-screen, but also behind the camera, through the dual-aspect of celebrating and showcasing fantastic female filmmaking, as well as demonstrating that women make compelling and complex characters and subjects. The DFFF weekend is a celebratory couple of days and our commitment to inclusive art is reflected in the programme each year, showcasing a range of work, from documentary to drama, short form to feature, films from different places and representing different perspectives, as well as work by women-of-colour.
It is on November 16-18 in Dublin’s New Theatre. In advance of the excellent festival I sent a few questions off to one of the curators
How many people are involved in putting the festival together?
Following the inception of the Dublin Feminist Film Festival by Karla Healion in 2014, we’ve had a diverse array of people in the DFFF team for each subsequent year. We all volunteer our time, so this means that not everyone can commit to each iteration. For example, we have two new members this year, which has meant that we’ve a core group of seven, while additional people also help out in a myriad of other ways.
How is it funded?
Traditionally, the festival has been supported independently through fundraising events that sometimes incorporate fund-matching schemes. However, for this, our fourth year, we successfully applied for Arts Council support, which has enabled us to expand our events base. Some of our past fundraising events have included table quizzes, pot luck dinners, punk gigs, and cabaret shows. Consequently, DFFF could not happen without peoples ongoing support and generosity.
What is the purpose for your involvement?
Personally, having first volunteered for the weekend of the inaugural festival, I was inspired to contribute to the general planning and running of the event for the following year. I strongly believe in DFFF’s mission statement, which is to promote and celebrate the work of women in the film industry, both in front of, and behind the camera. Also, the camaraderie within the group is fantastic, and it’s an exciting and rewarding experience to be part of that.
What is the selection process for the films?
The remit of the festival is to promote films where women have prominent roles in the production. This doesn’t necessarily mean in the role of director, but we are very proud to have programmed films for all the festivals to date that have women at the helm. Beyond that, we aim to have a broad and diverse line up; thematically, stylistically, and with an international focus. Our pulling power is somewhat limited as a small start-up festival, but we strive to screen films that may not normally be shown in Dublin, while we find the obstacles usually open-up opportunities that we might not have otherwise considered.
In the sea of activity and festivals that is Dublin how do you get your own festival to stand out?
Despite the plethora of events on the Dublin calendar, we feel that what we do is unique (for reasons stated above). The DFFF group also do a huge amount of work to promote ourselves to an audience that share a similar outlook and ethos to us. The festival is growing year on year, but we are adamant that as we do, we also stick to our roots.
What is a better medium for change? A political meeting, a political rally, or a chat over a few cups of coffee?
I’ve often found that one begets the other. DFFF started in earnest with an open discussion, a show of hands, and then several brainstorming sessions over cups of coffee, or pints of whatever you fancy. I’ve found that if the will is there, then it just requires an initial bit of organising to get going, and the commitment to make it happen has been contagious.
What is a better media for change? Print, online, or a movie screening?
I think the answer is all three. At this stage, we are acutely aware how many platforms you need to get a message across. We’ve slowly but surely started to get the balance right, but nothing beats people coming together to experience something, which is why the festival has such a positive reputation now.
Cost is not an issue – you’ve been appointed curator of Dublin film festival, what 3 movies would you show and who would you get to do a q+a
Blimey! I think I can speak for all of us when I say that we’d love to have Agnès Varda (legendary experimental filmmaker) to do a Q+A, and then build a programme around that.
Maybe next year…