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Femspectives Film Festival: Interview

Femspectives is a film series and festival in Glasgow. It provides a platform for feminist storytelling and safe spaces for conversations about feminisms, social issues, and politics.

The second edition of their annual film festival takes place 20-23 February 2020 at Civic House in Glasgow, and we're proud to support a strand in this year's festival with with BFI National Lottery and Screen Scotland funding. We spoke to founders and programmers Kathi Kamleitner and Lauren Clarke about their upcoming festival programme.

This is the festival’s second edition! What led to the founding of Femspectives, and why do you think the festival is so important for Scotland? 
Lauren and I met working together at other film festivals and really bonded over our shared love for feminist cinema. I went on to do a PhD about women's film festivals at the University of Glasgow and through that, we came up with the idea of starting a feminist film festival in Glasgow. The city has such a vibrant festival scene already, but we felt that the one thing that was lacking, was a space dedicated to celebrating work by womxn and to creating spaces for conversations about feminisms, politics and social issues. We hope that Femspectives adds to the cultural landscape in Scotland by providing these opportunities to use film as a spring board for wider discussions.


How did you select and programme the films for this year’s festival - were there particular filmmakers or themes that you wanted to feature?
We started out by broadly thinking about current themes and issues that we find over and over again in the media, in feminist spaces, but also just within wider public discourses. We then combed through programmes at other feminist film festivals around the world, thought about potential archive titles and spoke to several directors and distributors about upcoming work and projects. It all came together very naturally and organically. Even though we did not strictly narrow our research to the themes we discussed initially, we found that a lot of the films we watched, touched on one or several of these subjects anyways.

 We ended up programming three strands:

  • It's Complicated about the complexities on womxn's relationship on and off screen
  • Collective Memories: Trauma & Nation about the role memory plays in resistance
  • and Autonomy which is about different struggles with the right to self-determination. 

Could you share some of the highlights from this year’s programme? There are also plenty of opportunities for womxn to network and share over brunch, etc. at the festival - could you talk a little about those?
It's hard to choose favourites, but we are very excited to welcome several guests to the festival this year. We will have two directors with us during the festival, who will also be doing post-screening discussions with the audience – Beryl Magoko of IN SEARCH... and Jo Schmeiser of MOMENTS OF RESISTANCE.

We are repeating our Womxn's Networking Brunch, which was such a welcome addition to the festival programme last year – it was great seeing so many womxn in the room, exchanging ideas and contacts. We will also have two Open Forum Discussions, which are a great way to get involved, share experiences and hear from other people with different backgrounds and lived experiences. We have one about reproductive rights on Saturday (together with a screening of I TOLD MY MUM I WAS ON AN R.E. TRIP) and one about womxn's relationships and intergenerational dialogue on Sunday.

In addition to that we are very happy to host the festival at Civic House this year, where festival guests can grab a tea or a drink from the bar and meet others between screenings. 


How has Film Hub Scotland’s support benefitted the festival and your wider activity with Femspectives?
Film Hub Scotland has been a huge supporter of Femspectives and our mission from the get go. As a young organisation it is hugely beneficial – of course – to receive some financial support, but also being able to gain access to training and workshops, network with other member organisations and learn how to improve and grow.


What are your plans for the rest of the year, including your screening at GFF?
The week after the festival, we are partnering with Glasgow Film Festival to present Chiara Malta's debut feature SIMPLE WOMEN. The screening is on 28 Feb at 6.15 pm at the CCA and Chiara will join us for Q&A after the film.

We’re also excited to be working with Kairos, a womxn’s group in Johnstone, to collaborate on some community-focused events.

After that, we are will continue working on our year-round programme partnering with festivals and producing other one-off events in and around Glasgow – nothing confirmed yet, but make sure to follow us on social media to learn about our next events! @femspectives


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