Women's Histories
Celebrating International Women's Day through film

Putting overlooked female filmmakers in the spotlight on International Women's Day.

Happy International Women's Day! We're getting into the spirit of the occasion with another update on our nationwide season of film celebrating women within the UK's screen heritage collections. Our March screening highlights span the length of the country but share a common theme: searching the archives for overlooked female filmmakers, putting their work back on the big screen where it belongs - and setting it all to a killer soundtrack.

Taking place on International Women's Day itself, South Norwood's community cinema Screen25 present Batchelor Party: The Animated World of Joy Batchelor, a retrospective focusing on the often unseen driving force behind pioneering UK animation house Halas & Batchelor. The evening begins with a pre-screening DJ set from Sisters of Reggae before launching into a programme of Batchelor's extensive shorts output, a panel discussion featuring leading animators and animation curators, and finishing with a screening of Halas & Batchelor's most celebrated feature, Animal Farm.

In the North East and Scotland, archive screening specialists A Kind of Seeing are taking one of Italian cinema's greatest - and often overlooked - silent divas back on tour with a recently commissioned live score from Italian musical collective The Badwills. Assunta Spina sees the formidable Francesca Bertini turn in a powerful performance as the titular heroine, a beautiful laundress torn between men who can't control her passions, in a role typical of an oeuvre of fully formed, but now somewhat forgotten, female protagonists. Accompanying the main feature is a selection of short films showcasing UK filmmakers whose contributions to cinema history, like Bertini's, have gone uncredited or under-appreciated. Drawing on collections from the BFI National Archive and the National Library of Scotland's Moving Image Archive, and programmed by archive activists Invisible Women, the programme screens in Inverness (2 March), Dundee (3 March) and the North East (date TBC).

We'll be spending the rest of International Women's Day developing more exciting projects as part of our Women's Histories season and will be announcing upcoming events shortly. If you're interested in getting involved through a screening of your own, our Women's Histories Film Menu is still accepting bookings. The Menu offers a diverse selection of work from female filmmakers at reduced rental rates and makes available up to £500 of funding to enhance screenings with things like guest speakers, accompanying shorts and live music.

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