Support Women Filmmakers by Joining the 2018 #DirectedbyWomen Worldwide Film Viewing Party

Developmentally Edited by Alexandra Hidalgo
Copy Edited and Posted by Jessica Gibbons

It’s finally here! September is Woman Director Awareness Month, and to celebrate, #DirectedbyWomen is hosting its fourth annual Worldwide Film Viewing Party. The viewing party is a global celebration that recognizes the astounding achievements of women filmmakers across the world. It’s the perfect opportunity to watch, share, and fall in love with all of the captivating films directed by women.

Something new and exciting for this year’s celebration is that Barbara Ann O’Leary, the catalyst behind #DirectedbyWomen, has put together a Letterboxd list where she’s been writing about films that are streaming on various platforms. This gives people the opportunity to explore and actually watch the films she’s discussing. By the end of the month, there will be 43,200 minutes worth of films #DirectedbyWomen on that list, which is one minute for each minute in September!

The viewing party is an important opportunity to highlight and promote the work of women in the film industry. As O’Leary explains, “There is power in global celebration. As we invite film lovers to bring attention to the work of women directors we dream a new world into being—a world where women’s authentic creative expression can thrive—for the benefit of all.”

Marian Evans (Wellywood Woman), a long-time supporter and ally of #DirectedbyWomen, is organizing two events in New Zealand. When discussing the celebration, Evans explained that she has “talked with so many women in various contexts, lots of them feminists, who choose their reading matter according to the gender of the author, but often cannot name a woman director beyond Jane Campion or someone similar and certainly do not have a favorite woman director.” She went on to explain that she hopes that “if they/we are exposed to more women-directed work PLUS conversations about it and how it was made, including the additional challenges women directors have, preferably conversations between each woman director herself speaking with another woman director, more women will start looking at who directed the movies they’re offered in cinemas and online and take note of their differences.”

Sounds fantastic, right? What’s even better is that you have the opportunity to be a part of this community and participate in the countless wonderful events that are taking place around the world throughout the month of September. #DirectedbyWomen is a mixed gender community and open to everyone who wants to explore, celebrate, and enjoy films by women directors. There are only a few criteria for participation in the #DirectedbyWomen Worldwide Film Viewing Party: activities have to focus on films by women directors, they must respect intellectual property rights, and they need to be celebratory in nature.

You can find the entire list of events on the #DirectedbyWomen Worldwide Film Viewing Party calendar. There is also a map view so you can choose based on location. Also, if you are organizing an event yourself that celebrates the work of women directors, you can add it to the calendar. Here are a few of events that are taking place this September:

  • #DirectedbyWomenSpain is holding several events through the month of September. One of the highlights is the Directed By Women Spain Film Festival, which will run from September 13-16 in the Cinemateca de Matadero Madrid. They will be screening fiction and documentary features and short films, all directed or co-directed by women.
  • Marian Evans is organizing two events in New Zealand for the viewing party. On September 19 from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm NZST, there will be a screening of The Bookshop followed by a live Skype Q&A/discussion with director Isabel Coixet. There will also be an invitation-only screening of two works about women and employment at the New Zealand Parliament on September 21. Both events are also part of #aotearoa’s Suffrage125 program, which celebrates of the 125th anniversary of women’s suffrage in New Zealand.

  • There are many events throughout the month of September in the United Kingdom because for the fourth year in a row, #DirectedbyWomen will be collaborating with Scalarama—a celebration of cinema that takes place every September where cinemas, film clubs, and film festivals (plus various organizations and individuals who have a love for movies) unite to celebrate and encourage watching films together. One event to note this year is Reel Girl Film Club’s screening of Susan Seidelman’s electrifying debut, Smithereens (1982). This screening will take place on September 30 from 7:30 pm to 10:00 pm BST at the Norton Park Conference Centre in Edinburgh.
  • The African Movie Academy Awards 2018 has several films #DirectedbyWomen that were nominated for awards including: Isoken directed by Jadesola Osiberu, The Blessed Vost (Les Bienheureux) directed by Sofia Djama, The Adventures Of Supermama (South Africa) directed by Karen Van Schalkwyk, My Mother’s Story (Malawi) directed by Flora Suya, and many more. The event will be on September 22 in Kigali, Rwanda.

  • The Mama Afrika Film Festival will be in Nairobi, Kenya, and the theme for 2018 is Legendary Women. The festival will “provide an empowering journey to show the public, girls, women, and young aspiring filmmakers that there can be an alternative to the limited and limiting female role models offered in mainstream media.” This event will run September 27-30, and daily screenings will be at the Multimedia University of Kenya, Kenyatta University, and the Kenya Institute of Mass Communications.
  • A Global Cavalcade of Animated Shorts #DirectedbyWomen screening will be held at The Indiana University Libraries Screening Room. This event will be curated by filmmaker Laura Ivins and O’Leary. The event is free and open to the public, and will take place on September 27 at 7:00 pm EDT.

These are just a few of the hundreds of events taking place this month, so be sure to check out the full calendar of events on the #DirectedbyWomen website to find an event near you. No matter how you are joining the viewing party—re-watching your absolute favorite film that was directed by a woman, attending an event, or connecting with other film lovers who appreciate women-directed films—be sure that you are sharing your enthusiasm and spreading the word about the celebration on social media by using the hashtag #DirectedbyWomen.

There’s no better time than Woman Director Awareness Month to support and encourage all of the brilliant women filmmakers around the globe. It’s pivotal that we work together to create a more inclusive film industry that recognizes and appreciates the achievements of all filmmakers, no matter their gender, and participating in the viewing party is one step towards realizing that goal.

Visit Jessica’s profile and Barbara’s profile to learn more about them.