Club des Femmes: Two Decades of Dyke Shorts from the British Underground: The 80s
Sat Nov 16, 13:30
Film,Q+A, Stoke Newington Library Gallery, £6
Club des Femmes celebrates 40 years of Circles and The Cinema of Women (COW)/Cinenova - feminist film distribution, with an event that showcases some of the films from the catalogue. The screenings feature a number of short low-budget experimental films, that represent embryonic explorations into identity, race and desire (Focii) and early work of British based lesbian filmmakers. Taking their inspiration from the black, gay/lesbian and women's liberation movements of the period, the films are concerned with resistance & activism, as well as with passion & poetry. At the time, film was able to provide a voice and a visibility for the community of lesbians that was growing in Britain, and internationally. Circles/Cinenova gave crucial support to a diverse range of feminist filmmakers, by making work available, and so helping build an audience; a role that continues to this day.
The programme will provide an introduction that will situate the films historically, and explore their links with contemporary queer cinema. Some of the filmmakers as well as former Circles/Cinenova workers will be attending the event.
Jeanette Iljon, Focii, UK, 1975, 9mins
Jacqui Duckworth, An Invitation to Marilyn C, UK, 1983, 12mins
Caroline Sheldon, 17 Rooms (Or What Do Lesbians Do in Bed?), UK, 1985, 10mins
Ruth Novaczek, Tea Leaf, 1986, UK, 10mins
Bev Zalcock & Sara Chambers, East End Underground Movement, UK, 1985/95, 4mins 30sec
This programme is presented in collaboration with Cinenova, who celebrate the 40th anniversary of their parent organisations, Circles – the UK’s first artists’ film and video distributor for women and COW – the UK’s first feminist distributor.
Cinenova is a volunteer-run charity preserving and distributing the work of feminist film and video makers. Cinenova was founded in 1991 following the merger of two feminist film and video distributors, Circles and Cinema of Women, each formed in 1979. Cinenova currently distributes over 300 titles that include artists’ moving image, experimental film, narrative feature films, documentary and educational videos made from the 1920s to the late 1990s. The thematics in these titles include oppositional histories, post-colonial struggles, representation of gender, race, sexuality, and other questions of difference and importantly the relations and alliances between these different struggles.
Cinenova offers access to an extensive archive and advice relating to moving image work directed by makers who identify as women, transgender, gender non-conforming and gender non–binary. Cinenova is informed by its history as a key resource in the UK independent film distribution sector and internationally.
The Cinenova Working Group, founded in 2010, oversees the ongoing work of preservation and distribution, as well as special projects that seek to question the conditions of the organisation.