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An Ulster University programme aimed at redressing the imbalance of gender perspectives in the film industry is now open for registration.

Belfast Feminist Film School (BFFS), now in its second year, will take place from 11-15 September 2023 and is an initiative that supports women to write and make films about subjects which are significant to, and informed by, a female frame of reference. The programme actively seeks to bring the University’s training and resources to women who would otherwise be unable to attend conventional training courses.

Taking place at the Belfast campus, the five-day film school is open to those who are:

  • Female-identifying
  • Interested in filmmaking and feminist filmmaking approaches
  • Would like to explore this through making a short film
  • Want to try different roles such as directing, camera and cinematography, sound and editing.

Leading the Belfast Feminist Film School for a second year, Dr Jolene Mairs Dyer, Lecturer in Media Production at Ulster University, said:

"We are delighted for a second year running to be able to offer women across Belfast and further afield the opportunity to get involved in feminist filmmaking. We believe that actively investing in and resourcing female-identifying filmmakers, who otherwise not have access to such resources, is the best way of developing a thriving filmmaking culture within the region.

"While we aim to address gender imbalance in this field, we also recognise that women are a not a monolith and the gender perspective is made up of an intersection of class, race, disability, sexuality. It’s for this reason we strive to populate our feminist film schools with female-identifying people from a wide range of backgrounds who are interested in feminist filmmaking. We are a unique programme in that we seek to actively invest in the communities we serve.”

BFFS recognises financial conditions and caring responsibilities act as barriers to engaging in filmmaking, and these disproportionately affect women. Therefore, the programme  provides bursaries of £200 to 50% of their participants. There is a small registration fee of only £25 per person and participants are provided with breakfast, lunch, snacks, tea and coffee each day. In addition, BFFS participants retain unique access to a full camera and sound kit as well as access to post-production facilities after completing the film school.

A participant of last year’s Belfast Feminist Film School, Clare O’Neill, said of their experience:

"This was easily the most edifying week in my life, so I can't thank you enough. I think it's a fantastic and much needed network in Belfast.”

Another, Laura Morgan, added:

“I had such a brilliant week and it has lit a fire under me. Thank you so much for setting it up and all the brilliant teaching.”

The film school is led by a team of Ulster University staff - Dr Jolene Mairs Dyer, Dr Jennie Carlsten, Oonagh Parish and Jan Uprichard, who introduce participants to feminist film theory and provide hands-on workshops on screenwriting, cinematography, sound recording and editing.  Participants work in small groups to produce feminist-themed short films that are screened at the end of the week, followed by a pizza party and feminist-themed disco.

Registrations are open until Monday 28 August. For more info and to register, visit: Belfast Feminist Film School 2023 | Ulster University Online Store

Belfast Feminist Film School is supported by Ulster University’s Community Engagement Access Ambassador funding, the Centre for Communication, Media and Cultural Studies and Ulster Screen Academy.