Woman With A Movie Camera Summit 2019 At BFI Southbank On June 22

Immediately following the summit on Saturday 22 June, as part of PLAYING THE BITCH, BFI Southbank will welcome actor Rosamund Pike, for a Q&A following a screening of Gone Girl.


Following a hugely successful sold-out inaugural event in 2018, the BFI’s WOMAN WITH A MOVIE CAMERA SUMMIT returns to BFI Southbank on Saturday 22 June. The day-long event will kick off with a keynote speech from award-winning director and designer Dr Nelly Ben Hayoun (Disaster Playground) who occupies a unique space between film, politics, design and science. A pioneer in the design of experiences and an all-out explosive thinker, Dr Ben Hayoun will set the tone for the day by inspiring audiences to think in wider and more pluralistic terms about filmmaking practices. Other special guests throughout the day will include director Deborah Haywood (Pin Cushion) and writers Kirstie Swain (Pure) and Emma Jane Unsworth, whose adaptation of her own novel Animals, starring Holliday Grainger and Alia Shawkat and directed by Sophie Hyde, is released in UK cinemas on Friday 2 August. Following the end of the summit there will also be a screening of Gone Girl (David Fincher, 2014), adapted by Gillian Flynn from her best-selling novel and starring Rosamund Pike in a BAFTA and Oscar-nominated performance. Following the screening Rosamund Pike will take part in a Q&A reflecting on the making of the film and her character, the troubled anti-heroine Amy Dunne. This year’s summit will reflect on and look beyond the #MeToo movement and address how it has reframed conversations around opportunities, criticism, conservation and resistance for women in the screen industries.

Leading film critics, thinkers and programmers will also contribute to the summit, with talks focusing on a wide range of topics, from female authorship and cinematic tropes to the memefication of feminism and female representation in superhero movies. Alongside talks and discussions, audiences will also be able to experience playful and interactive pop-ups, including a Feminist Tattoo Parlour, a Grrrl Zine Library, a short film corner and a nail bar. There will also be an installation that pays homage to the late great Agnès Varda, ahead of the BFI release of her final film Varda By Agnès, in cinemas UK-wide from Friday 19 July.

The summit takes places during a month where BFI Southbank has also been celebrating and exploring some of the most wickedly compelling female characters on screen, with a season of films PLAYING THE BITCH. This thought-provoking season developed by Woman with a Movie Camera programmer Anna Bogutskaya, has been showcasing and tracing the rich lineage of self-determining, independent, defiant, but always charismatic anti-heroines in film and TV. Immediately following the summit on Saturday 22 June, as part of PLAYING THE BITCH, BFI Southbank will welcome actor Rosamund Pike, for a Q&A following a screening of Gone Girl (David Fincher, 2014). Adapted by Gillian Flynn from her own best-selling novel, Gone Girl follows Amy Dunne (Pike), who lives a seemingly happy life with her husband Nick (Ben Affleck); however, when Amy goes missing on their wedding anniversary, the police begin to suspect Nick may be involved.


Keynote Speaker: Dr Nelly Ben Hayoun

Dr. Nelly Ben Hayoun is a creative tour-de-force impossible to place in one single category. Dubbed the ‘Willy Wonka of Design’, she is also an award-winning director that occupies a unique space between film, politics, design and science. Her previous film, Disaster Playground, screened at festivals like SXSW, Sheffield Doc/Fest and BFI London Film Festival and she’s has just completed her latest film project, I Am (Not) a Monster, on the origins, power structures and mechanics of knowledge with contributors such as Noam Chomsky and Nadya Tolokonnikova of Pussy Riot. A pioneer in the design of experiences and an all-out explosive thinker, we’re thrilled to have her set the tone for the day, inspire us to think wider and in more pluralistic terms about filmmaking practices.  Dr. Ben Hayoun will share methodologies, long term views of technological developments, but first and foremost, the need and urgencies to think in action and rethink the systems of distribution and filmmaking.

Speaker: Dr. Nelly Ben Hayoun @nellybenhayoun | http://nellyben.com 

12:00 – 12:40, NFT1

Post #TimesUp

It’s been over a year since the online anti-harassment campaign #MeToo broke into the mainstream (despite being created in 2007). A widespread conversation was started and actions were taken. A year on, we ask our panel of speakers: what actions have been taken and where do we take it from here?

12:30 – 13:30, NFT2

Female Authorship

The question of authorship in film is deep, complicated and often ends in heated debate. There is much scholarly work on who is the true author of a film text, or if there even is one. With women often not being in the director’s seat, this panel discussion will debate whether we should allow other versions of female authorship to come into play and allow space to recognise female creative contributions to cinema outside of the director’s chair.

14:00 – 15:00, NFT2

Let’s Talk About Thirst

Thirst is female desire, and this year it’s created a – pardon the pun – heated debate in the critical community about female desire onscreen, and what it means for women (critics, audiences, fans) to openly lust after screen actors and characters. Presented by film critic and writer Christina Newland, who has lead this conversation in the UK, we explore what lust at the movies means for female critics and audiences alike.

Speaker: Christina Newland @christinalefou

15:30 – 16:30, NFT2

Diva Directors

When does a director get labelled a ‘diva’ and what are the industrial and cultural repercussions of this? Is there an expectation for female directors to be ‘nice’ to avoid this gendered labelling? Writer and programmer Miriam Bale goes through what a director has traditionally been allowed to look and behave like, and how the set of expectations placed on women directors is inherently different and difficult.

Speaker: Miriam Bale @mimbale

17:00 – 18:00, NFT2

Not All Superheroes Wear Skirts

From Wonder Woman to Captain Marvel, female representation in mainstream is just as important as in the arthouse world. These badass super-heroines are more-than-often written by men, but their widespread appeal to female audiences is not to be sniffed at. They matter, and the gaze of their female fans matters even more. In this talk, writer Helen O’Hara traces back the shifting representation and the importance of superheroines.

Speaker: Helen O’Hara @HelenLOHara

12:20 – 13:20, NFT3

Lethal Lesbians and Bad Bisexuals

Ever since the earliest days of silent cinema, the big and small screen has been fascinated – some might say obsessed – with queer women who kill, kidnap, maim, blackmail or torture. Moving from 1990s psycho dyke dramas like Basic Instinct, which caused outrage in the queer community, to more recent and celebrated portrayals in Lizzie and Killing Eve, in a reprise of her popular talk from BFI Flare, Festival programmer Emma Smart takes a not-entirely-serious look at these deadly onscreen stereotypes and asks that ever important question: Why do we love them so much?

Speaker: Emma Smart @smartlibrari

13:50 – 14:50, NFT3

My Not-So-Big Break

What does ‘making it’ mean in the screen industries? Making one film, two, or ten? Making money or winning awards? In this panel discussion, we talk with directors, writers and actors about what expectations are placed on the so-called ‘big break’, and how to deal with the industry’s idea of success.

Speakers: Deborah Haywood @blytheface, Alana Hutton-Shaw, Kristie Swain @thekirstieswain

Hosted by Rhianna Dhillon @RhiannaDhillon

15:30 – 16:30, NFT3

There’s Something About Janelle

Singer, actor, designer, artist, icon. To try to define Janelle Monáe is to set oneself up for failure. In this talk, super-fan and writer Grace Barber-Plentie explores the imagery and iconography of Janelle Monáe, how she’s used moving image in her work and transitioned into an award-nominated actor, why she occupies such a unique place in popular culture (amidst a movement of black female musicians using moving image) and why she just might be the feminist hero we all need.

Speaker: Grace Barber-Plentie @gracesimone

16:50 – 17:50, NFT3

Lady Business

There’s been a surge of film companies focused on making, distributing and promoting female-made and female-fronted work. In this panel discussion with some of the producers, distributors and marketeers behind this, we will talk about the pros and cons of branding your company as such, and the business that makes film flourish.

12:30 – 13:30, Studio

Adapting Animals

Adapting a successful book for screen is a challenge – adapting your own successful book for screen is a whole new level. In this conversation, we go in-depth on the creative process of writer Emma Jane Unsworth into adapting her own novel into a film. Animals, directed by Sophie Hyde and starring Holliday Grainger and Alia Shawkat, centres on the intense friendship of two 30-something women as they navigate booze, boyfriends, wild nights and blurry mornings. After its European premiere at Sundance Film Festival: London in June, Animals will be hitting UK cinemas on 2 August.

Speaker: Emma Jane Unsworth @emjaneunsworth

Hosted by Sophie Monks Kaufman @sopharsogood

13:50 – 14:50, Studio

Defining Cinematic Tropes

There are tropes, stereotypes and archetypes that apply to female characters onscreen. Some of them well-defined and studied, some of them still being traced. In this dynamic panel discussion, we will go through a list of the roles that women have been shoe-horned into, and the ones that are yet to be defined.

Speakers: Arifa Akbar @Arifa_Akbar, Melanie Hoyes @melhoyes, Rebecca Nicole Williams @sorceressoffilm

15:30 – 16:30, Studio

Reframing Film History

Erasure from film history (or any history in general) is easy, sometimes deliberate, sometimes accidental, but there is a reason why certain aesthetics, certain stories and certain points-of-view have ruled the texts that have informed course curriculums, canons, and taste for decades. In this illustrated talk, academic Kathi Kamleitner looks into the how and the why behind certain names not making it into the history books.

Speaker: Kathi Kamleitner

17:00 – 18:00, Studio

Combatting the Manosphere

In this talk, Glitch founder, Seyi Akiwowo, will discuss the micro and macro iterations of online harassment, how it affects women of different communities in different ways, and some of the mechanisms that can be used to protect oneself (and others).

Speaker: Seyi Akiwowo @seyiakiwowo, @GlitchUK_

12:30 – 13:30, Blue Room

Memefication of Feminism

Meme culture is inextricable from fourth wave feminism, and pop culture. Little White Lies Associate Editor, Hannah Woodhead, will go from Beyoncé gifs to Insta-inspo to #girlpower meme slogans, this talk will explore the context in which memes are used to provide viral inspiration, how a new generation of film fans are connecting with cinema through meme culture – and how they’re being used for more commercial purposes. Much feminism. So girl power. Very woke.

Speaker: Hannah Woodhead @goodjobliz

14:00 – 15:00, Blue Room

WITCiH Salon

WITCiH (Women in Technology Creative Industries Hub) is an inclusive platform supporting womxn in tech that aims to explore & expand our knowledge of women working at that intersection between science, technology and the arts- past, present & future. Founded and directed by interdisciplinary musician/artist/perfomer BISHI, WITCiH is an online & real world platform for ideas, research, performance, creation & networking. For this year’s Summit, we present a special edition of the WITCiH Salon, with speakers on AR, VR, Games and interactive media.

Speakers: Phoenix Perry @phoenixperry, Leslie Deere @LeslieDeere, Laura Kriefman @elfkay

15:30 – 18:30, Blue Room

Short Film Corner

Whenever you fancy a break in between sessions, join us in the BFI Foyer to explore a selection of shorts that reframe femininity, in all its dynamic, complicated, messy and sometimes hilariously gross complexity.


Mothering (Dir. Lucy Bridger); Constellations (Dir. Anna Maguire); Girls don’t poo (Dir. Molly Denton); Hairy (Dir. Megan Domaille & Jack Powley); Absent Wound (Dir. Maryam Tafakory); Future First (Dir. Naomi Grant); Mercury (Dir. Kyla Simone Bruce); Blood Activist (Dir. Rebecca Brand).

12:00 – 18:00, Foyer

Feminist Flash Tattoo Parlour

Take a seat in our feminist tattoo parlour. Choose your temporary ink from our specially curated flash card, with 6 new designs by illustrator and tattooist Sophie Mo that celebrate classic female characters from the screen. This workshop is an original idea and hosted This Must Be For You, an organisation who leave anonymous gifts for strangers to find.

@MustBeForYou / sophiemo.com

12:00 – 16:00, Foyer

Grrl Zine Library

Grrrl Zine Fair harnesses the values of intersectional feminism and DIY culture to showcase work created by women, non-binary, Trans and queer people throughout self-publishing, contemporary art and music. Transforming the BFI foyer, browse the Grrrl Zine Library and learn about the history of zine making and its importance as a political tool, a self-care ritual and a documentation of feminist culture.

@grrrlzinefair / grrrlzinefair.com

12:00 – 18:00, Foyer

Varda by Agnès

In advance of the BFI’s release of the last film by revered director Agnès Varda, we pay tribute to one of the greatest visual storytellers that ever lived with an installation that lets you sit in the director’s chair. Varda by Agnès will be in cinemas from 19 July.

All day – Foyer

Pop up Nail Salon

Standing for much more than glossy manicures, come to this pop-up salon and get nail art with attitude. Celebrity nail technician Izabelle Bellamy will be offering Quick Fix Manicures, with a dash of nail art inspired by today’s powerful women, for a special rate of £10.


12:00 – 17:00, Mezzanine

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