Dublin Feminist Film Festival 2018 REFRAME/REFOCUS

21st & 22nd November 2018 - Light House Cinema Smithfield Dublin 7
Launch & Special Events 20th November - The Generator Hostel Smithfield Dublin 7

Dublin Feminist Film Festival has established firm roots on Dublin’s cultural calendar, shining a spotlight on women in film. 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.  DFFF 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.

About 2018's festival

The theme for #DFFF2018 is REFRAME/REFOCUS. Rather than foreground particular topics, our programme this year will feature films not only directed by women, but also shot by female cinematographers. In emphasising the role of the cinematographer, we aim to expand the notion of who 'makes' a film and what 'Films by Women' means, while also raising questions about whether and how films shot by women feature a different or other gaze.

Why Cinematography?

In 2018 something remarkable happened: Rachel Morrison garnered an Academy Award nomination for Cinematography for her work on the film Mudbound. At first glance, this might not seem so out of the ordinary. Over the last four decades, women have regularly and increasingly been nominated for and won international awards for production roles that had previously been male-only domains. Not so with cinematography, however. Morrison was the first woman ever to be nominated for her work behind the camera in ninety years of Oscars! Awards aren’t everything of course. But historically speaking, cinematography has been the most difficult filmmaking role for women to break into.

And yet for the past several years, some of the most visually exciting films in world cinema have been shot by women. Long-standing talents like Ellen Kuras, Agnés Godard, Caroline Champetier, and Mandy Walker have in recent years been joined by a huge influx of international cinematographers like Quyen Tran, Nanu Segal, Reed Morano, Morrison, and many more.

For the Fifth Dublin Feminist Film Festival, we have decided to highlight the role of the female cinematographer. In coming to this decision, we thought about it from several different angles. Does a woman’s camera “see” differently? If much of what makes film so compelling is the visual, can a film be “by” its cinematographer as much as its director? And institutionally and structurally speaking, why has the field of cinematography in particular been so reluctant to accept women into its ranks?

Thus we present REFRAME/REFOCUS, wherein we hope to reconsider, not simply the role of the cinematographer in general, but very specifically the role of the female cinematographer and how she lights, frames, and moves through the onscreen space that constitutes our visual filmic experience.

To that end, all the films we screen this year – features and shorts – were directed and shot by women. As part of the festival, we’re also featuring a talk by an esteemed academic on female cinematography, and a roundtable discussion with two Dublin-based female cinematographers.

It’s important to celebrate the work of Rachel Morrison, and we heartily congratulate her on her achievement. However, as we continue to reconsider the fantastic work that female cinematographers are doing around the world, we hope it will become increasingly clear that one nomination in ninety years simply isn’t good enough.