punch in / out: iterations of labour
A 4-part programme presented in partnership with Femspectives
punch in / out: iterations of labour is a season exploring how the world of work intersects with class, race and gender.
For many of us, the experience of the past 18 months has profoundly changed the way we feel about work. Yet the dramatic personal, political and economic consequences of the pandemic did not come out of nowhere. As these films demonstrate, the roots of our current crises run deep.
In punch in/out, we use shorts, features and archive to delve into key issues facing women in the workforce today. From a luxury hotel in Mexico City to a school canteen in Sheffield, a garment factory in Dhaka to a Manhattan gym, these films span geographies and histories but are connected by a shared fascination with the working lives of women. These filmmakers show us how a legacy of inequality shapes our present-day experiences of work, but they also offer glimpses of hope. Through small rebellions, large-scale collective action or just the simple act of telling their own stories, these women demonstrate how even in the face of cold hard capitalism, resistance is always possible.
Special thank you to STUC Women’s Committee who consulted and shaped this programme through sharing intimate testimony on the issues their current membership is facing.
Thank you to Film Hub Scotland for supporting this project!
All films in the programme have been subtitled and captioned by AB Silvera, Emilia Beatriz, Nicole O’Reilly and Sarya Wu.
One programme will be released each week between 22 September – 13 October and available to watch on a sliding scale basis.
Rewriting Film History (with the Women in it)
30 July 2021
Online Panel Discussion
While feminist critics have been uncovering and celebrating the work of female filmmakers for decades, the mainstream understanding of film history remains stubbornly male dominated. In this talk, we invited three critics to discuss alternative ways of imagining the story of cinema that provide more space to acknowledge female contributions.
Taking the films of 1971: The Year Hollywood went Independent as a starting point, this conversation explored how tales of female vision, artistry and authorship can be teased out from behind macho myths of maverick male genius. Highlighting the crucial work of women who are not directors (writers, editors, designers), and excavating the often-uncredited contribution of women in husband/wife partnerships (Polly Platt & Peter Bogdanovich, Toby & Bob Rafelson), in order to challenge the inherently patriarchal assumptions of auteur centric criticism.
Guest contributors included Helen O’Hara, author of Women Vs Hollywood: The Fall & Rise of Women in Film and film journalist (Empire), Pamela Hutchinson, author, film historian and critic (Guardian, Sight & Sound, BBC, Criterion, Empire) and writer, broadcaster and film critic for The Observer Simran Hans (Dazed, Sight & Sound, Guardian, New Statesman).
Cinema Rediscovered is an annual celebration of archive film and restorations based at the Watershed in Bristol.
The Future is Female (Film Collectives)
Woman With a Movie Camera summit
17-18 July, Online
After a year hiatus the Woman with a Movie Camera summit returns and is going virtual for the first time, this year powered by Jaguar! Reflecting on the past year, we will be bringing you a programme focusing on revitalisation and rebuilding, as well as upskilling and throwing open film and TV industry doors. Packed with Q&As and panel discussions with filmmakers, curators and creatives, including interactive talks and workshops - all to be enjoyed wherever you are.
Purchasing a weekend pass will give you access to a mix of pre-recorded interviews and panels, as well as live workshops and interactive sessions on each day.
We are beyond excited to be part of this year's Woman with a Movie Camera Summit presenting The Future is Female (Film Collectives) - A fun and chatty journey through the history of film collectives, from early networks between female filmmakers at the birth of cinema, through the swinging second wave collectives of the 60s & 70s, the radical workshops of the 1980s, the Riot Girl VHS networks of the 90s up to the present. It will be a celebration of sisterhood and solidarity in cinema history - and a call to arms! You know we love a manifesto.
The evening before the summit starts, London based attendees can access reduced priced tickets to a Women with a Movie Camera Preview of the new restoration of Claudia Weill’s Girlfriends, and also a screening of Márta Mészáros’s The Girl, both at BFI Southbank.
Tickets go on sale Thursday, 24 June
£5 (Members pay £2 less); 25 and under ticket price, bookable in advance £3
Buy your tickets here
She Shoots, She Draws: A History of Women in Animation
Invisible Women at London Drawing Group
26 April 2021, 6.30pm
In this illustrated talk, we'll be taking you through a brief, partial but fascinating history of women in animation. Using clips and stills, we'll do our best to tell the story of the trailblazers who built the form, often with minimal recognition, working at both the heart of the industry and at its radical fringes. The story of these films, and the women behind them, offers bold, bright and compelling insights into our shared socio-cultural history. Best of all, they offer a cheeky one-in-the-eye to the male gaze - when women hold the pen, all bets are off.
A full decade before Disney’s Snow White, German animator Lotte Reiniger made The Adventures of Prince Achmed (1926), one of the first feature length animations. Her breakthrough set a precedent that has been echoed throughout the history of the form. From Mary Ellen Bute’s computer generated “electronic paintings” to Joy Batchelor’s pivotal role in producing the first British feature length animation Animal Farm (1954), the genre-melting work of art school animators to the protest films of the feminist workshop movement, women have consistently worked at the cutting edge of this most innovative of artforms.
This will be an online lecture via Zoom
Tickets are on donation basis (£12 suggested) and you can get yours here
Check out their full Spring term programme here
The London Drawing Group is a collective of three contemporary artists currently practising in London. Although their practices are individually varied and diverse, they are brought together by their shared love of and passion for drawing.
Their aim as a collective is simply to get more people drawing, making, connecting and engaging with art. They believe that art is for everyone, and that sometimes the only thing keeping people from engaging in the playful, unknown and unpredictable process of art-making, is that it can seem intimidating. Through working to break down contextual barriers through innovative methods of teaching and creating, they hope to make drawing approachable to everyone.
Femspectives 2021: Jane Arden discussion
24 April 2021, 4.30pm
Online film screening / Zoom Discussion
We'll be joining this year's Femspectives Online Festival Weekender for a screening of Jane Arden’s groundbreaking 1972 film The Other Side of Underneath and a discussion about feminist work in the film archive
The Other Side of Underneath (1972)
Jane Arden | UK | English with captions | 133′
An adaptation of Jane Arden’s work with women’s theatre group, The Holocaust, The Other Side of Underneath is a harrowing deep-dive into female psyche, schizophrenia and sexual guilt. Blurring the lines between reality and imagination, the film combines scenes of group psychotherapy sessions with nightmarish fantasies.
Watch the Film
Click here to buy the film via their screening platform partner INDY on Demand.
All films are priced on a Pay What You Can basis.
Join the Discussion
Click here to register for the discussion via Eventbrite.
It’s free to attend, but registration is required.
Discussion of schizophrenia, domestic violence and medication.
Depiction of drowning, resuscitation, violence against women, severe mental distress, forced medication, sex, menstrual blood, crucifixion, psychotherapy, nudity, child nudity, knife blade, axe, open-casket burial, war, fire.
A Nazi Word for a Nazi Things | with So Mayer
29 January 2021
Document Human Rights Film Festival
We were delighted to moderate this illustrated talk and discussion with the fabulous So Mayer, around their recently published short book, A Nazi Word for a Nazi Thing (2020). Framed by a rare screening of Barbara Hammer’s recently restored Nitrate Kisses (1992), we discussed questions around archiving, erasure, queer/feminist politics and cinema!
A Nazi Word explores queer art and cinema in juxtaposition to the historical erasure enacted by the Nazis through the infamous 1937 art exhibition, Entartete ‘Kunst’ (Degenerate ‘Art’), that sought to appropriate and erase the cultural output of minorities. It’s is a lively and exhilarating critique of the power and politics of moving images – particularly in relation to the dynamics of conflict, crisis and emergency that have striking contemporary relevance – and a beautiful, speculative anarchive of queer film history.
Cinemaattic: Catalan Film Festival
27 November 2020
We were delighted to collaborate with Cinemaattic and take part in this year’s Catalan Film Festival. A specially curated Invisible Women programme accompanied the screenings of Nuria Giménez Lorang’s My Mexican Bretzel from 27-29 of November. Our selection of archive shorts was inspired by the film’s slippery use of found footage, mesmerising sound and dreamlike imagery.
Catalan Film Festival returned with a hybrid edition delivering an exciting line-up, as the festival adapts to the new reality by offering its entire programme of films, talks and events online.
The ace-looking selection gathers some of the hottest Catalan and Spanish films of the year. Most of the films selected share a common interest in the recovery and reconstruction of a recent Catalan, Spanish and European historic memory. A political, ethical, social and emotional memory of these Mediterranean territories’ modern history.
On November 27 we joined Cinemaattic to chat about "A and B in Ontario" the experimental 1984 short by the brilliant Joyce Wieland and Hollis Frampton screened alongside My Mexican Bretzel.
Invisible Women at Live Cinema III: The ReOpening
14 September 2020
Live Cinema UK
It was great chatting about the future of live cinema, artists and performance at this year's Live Cinema Conference (14-15 September) in one of many brilliant looking panels. It was brilliant to hear about the many overlaps between cinema and other disciplines at this weird moment in our session on Artists, Audiences and the Future.
Live Cinema III: The ReOpening, is a free online event to reflect on the impact of the lockdown on the live and immersive sectors. Thanks to Live Cinema UK & Live Cinema Network for the invite.
Invisible Women: Mad As Hell
13 October 2019
Brick Box, Bradford
For centuries, women who express their discontent and anger with the patriarchal status quo have been labelled "mad" - hysterical, out of control, in need of treatment. In Mad as Hell, we showcase a programme of films exploring the thin line between madness and anger, and demonstrating how female filmmakers have harnessed their rage through political action. These are films made by angry women, about angry women, for the world.
For The Brick Box and Live Cinema UK, we presented a specially curated new programme of shorts alongside responses from local Bradford artists, making the argument that archive films speak as much to our present and to our futures, as they do to our past.
Bedlam - Clio Barnard (1991, 9 mins)
This imagined meeting between Bertha Mason from Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre and Antoinette Cosway from Jean Rhys’ Wide Sargasso Sea depicts an angry sisterhood rebelling against an establishment seeking to contain and medicalise their “madness”. A blistering early experiment from Otley born filmmaker Clio Barnard, who has since received widespread acclaim for her Bradford set feature films The Selfish Giant and The Arbor.
Give us a Smile - Leeds Animation Workshop (1983, 13 mins)
This playful but righteous short explores women’s experience of street harassment and gendered violence, partly in response to the sexist police and media response to the Yorkshire Ripper murders. An angry, darkly comic and ultimately empowering film from Leeds Animation Workshop, a prolific feminist filmmaking collective who have been producing work for over 40 years.
A Place of Rage - Pratibha Parmar (1991, 52 mins)
A searing doc that draws comparisons between the 60s civil rights movement and the 90s struggle for gender and LGBTQ+ equality. Set in New York, A Place of Rage boasts a blistering soundtrack of Prince and Janet Jackson, and features interviews with Alice Walker and Angela Davis. Educated at Bradford University, Parmar is a prolific director who specialises in giving a voice to the under-represented and marginalised.
We are excited to have had Mandla Rae, a Zimbabwean writer and producer, perform a response to the film A Place of Rage. They are a queer intersectional feminist. Mandla’s performances are personal, poignant and succinct. Drawing from a place of reclaiming her power, Mandla constantly interrogates power dynamics.
Silent Divas: Assunta Spina
Seen & Heard: Invisible Women Raise Their Voices
12 May 2019
Tyneside Cinema, Newcastle
Passion! Jealousy! Revenge!
A Kind of Seeing presents one of Italian cinema’s greatest ‘silent divas’ on the big screen with live musical accompaniment performed by not-so-silent six-piece Italian folk band The Badwills.
Assunta Spina tells the dramatic story of our eponymous heroine: a beautiful laundress in 1910s Napoli torn between men who can’t control her passions. The great Francesca Bertini stars as Assunta and has since been credited as the film’s co-director. Though Bertini was a powerful woman in the industry at the time, her films filled with strong female leads are now rarely seen.
This beautiful version was recently restored by Cineteca di Bologna with the original colour tinting. Complementing the film’s striking setting in busy Neapolitan streets, The Badwills’ brand new live score reflects the passion on-screen by drawing on folk music and songs of the era rooted deep in the band’s repertoire of traditional southern Italian dances such as the tarantella.
Accompanying the feature will be a selection of short films programmed by archive activists, Invisible Women (aka Camilla Baier and Rachel Pronger) who seek out and champion the work of female filmmakers who have been overlooked, un-credited or left out of the history of cinema.
12 May 2019, 6.30pm
Supported by Newcastle University, PRS Foundation’s The Open Fund for Organisations and Film Hub North, part of the BFI’s Film Audience Network and funded by BFI and Creative Scotland.
Presented in partnership with Live Cinema UK, supported by Film Hub North, proud to be part of the BFI Film Audience Network.
Invisible Women at Flatpack Festival
4 May 2019
MAC Birmingham - Hexagon Theatre
For Flatpack 2019 Invisible Women present a new programme of boundary-pushing animation spanning the 20th century. From art school experimentation to feminist workshops, these shorts reveal a revolutionary vein of playful, subversive filmmaking using this most versatile of forms to interrogate gender politics, sexual identity and social dynamics.
Co-curated by Rachel Pronger, Camilla Baier and Noémi Lemoine-Blanchard
MAC Birmingham - Hexagon Theatre
4 May 2019, 4pm
Image of Interview (dir: Caroline Leaf & Veronika Soul) courtesy of the National Film Board of Canada
Silent Divas: Assunta Spina |
Seen & Heard: Invisible Women Raise Their Voices
2 & 3 March 2019
Eden Court, Inverness & DCA, Dundee
A Kind of Seeing presents Francesca Bertini, one of Italian cinema’s greatest (and often forgotten) ‘silent divas’ starring in the 1915 silent drama ASSUNTA SPINA. Touring on the big screen with live musical accompaniment performed by not-so-silent six-piece southern Italian folk band The Badwills.
Alongside the feature film Invisible Women will be presenting the programme Seen and Heard: Invisible Women Raise Their Voices.
Female Filmmakers have frequently been erased from cinema history, their films ignored or forgotten, their labour uncredited. In these films, women can be seen pushing back at their erasure, whether by placing the strength of the British housewife at the heart of a propaganda film or by overtly campaigning for equal rights, these filmmaker fight to be more than just the subject of the camera’s gaze – they will be seen and heard.
2 March 2019, 3pm
DCA, DUNDEE as part of DUNDEE WOMEN'S FESTIVAL
3 March, 2019, 6.45pm
Consensus | Edinburgh Art Festival
31 July 2018
Urbane Art Gallery
How is a consensus reached? How is a canon built? Archive Activists, Invisible Women, explore the dynamics of gender, time and memory in this pop-up screening.
Women have always made films, but their contributions have often been undervalued, their stories forgotten, their work buried. Often women have worked uncredited alongside famous men or have only been awarded acclaim decade later. In Consensus, Invisible Women present a fascinating selection of archive shorts to explore why some films are embraced by the canon while others disappear from view. Weaving a path from Scotland to Canada, Consensus forces us to consider how gender and time shape perceptions of worth, drawing a parallel from our complex cinematic history to present-day inequality in the film industry.
EYE International Conference 2018
26 - 29 May
EYE Film Institute Amsterdam
Invisible Women: How can Curators Address the Issue of Gendered Gaps in the Archive through Exhibition and Practice?
by Camilla Baier & Rachel Pronger
Abstract: Invisible Women is a collaborative project that examines how curators can address gendered absence in the archive through public exhibition. This case study centres on a pilot screening of work by ‘forgotten’ female filmmakers (1930s-1970s) that took place in Edinburgh in July 2017. Combining analysis of the socio-political implications of archival gender inequality with practitioner interviews and research into archives in Scotland, England and Canada, this project takes us on a journey of loss, discovery and frustration.
Whilst developing this exhibition, we sought to find new ways of presenting absence to an audience and embraced activism, drawing up an Invisible Women manifesto to inform future practice. An exploration of the complex relationships between the archivist and the curator exposed the unique role exhibition can play in highlighting the relevance of our cultural history to contemporary gender politics, that stretches as far as #MeToo. Ultimately, we argue that the curator has a duty to address archival gender inequality. To do so they must embrace the live political nature of the archive and apply a creative, collaborative approach to practice.
Camilla Baier and Rachel Pronger work in contemporary art and film exhibition and are based in Edinburgh. Invisible Women is their joint Master’s thesis, completed at the University of Edinburgh in August 2017.
Taken from the EYE International Conference 2018 programme.
Read the full programme here
Scope Critical Group
17 May 2018
Wee Red Bar, Edinburgh College of Art
Curators Camilla Baier and Rachel Pronger present: Invisible Women, a screening project which aims to find a way to raise awareness of forgotten female filmmakers in Scottish archives. From this example of how a lost story of women in film was uncovered and screened to a public audience, we hope to initiate a discussion about the power of the archive and the potential repercussions archival absence might have for representation in our present-day film industry.
In an age of #MeToo and #OscarsSoWhite, it seems like the issue of representation in film has never been more current. Yet, whether we are conscious of it or not, this topical discussion is underpinned by our understanding of our cinematic past, a history that is built from our moving image archives. Far from being a neutral record, archives are highly political spaces which reflect the inequalities of their moment of collection and inevitably offer incomplete narratives.
Camilla Baier and Rachel Pronger founded 'Invisible Women' in 2017 as part of their joint Masters Thesis while studying MSc Film, Exhibition and Curation at the University of Edinburgh.
This talk will be presented in a longer format at the prestigious EYE film Institute Annual Conference in Amsterdam later this month.
Scope is a platform for critical engagement in cinema that aims to explore diverse filmic cultures through regular screening events and discussion forums.
Find out more about them here
Invisible Women | Pilot Screening
13 July 2017
Whitespace Gallery, Edinburgh
An evening of short films by female filmmakers of the 1930s and 40s.
As men marched to war, women picked up cameras, creating work that pioneered genres, pushed the boundaries of form and explored the political power of film. These early female filmmakers created and innovated, working alone or with better known male contemporaries, often with few resources and no credit. Much of their contribution has been lost, buried in dusty archives or left uncatalogued.
Invisible Women seeks to reinsert these forgotten makers back into the story of film.
Taking as it’s starting point the work of Ruby and Marion, the forgotten filmmaking sisters of “Father of Documentary” John Grierson, this night of shorts traces a thread from Scotland to England to Canada, across genre, time and space.
Buried histories of courage, creativity and celluloid; Invisible Women will give these forgotten makers a voice, allowing them to tell their stories, in their own words.
They Also Serve (Ruby Grierson, 1940)
Beside the Seaside (Marion Grierson, 1935)
Ebb-Tide (Mary Field, 1936)
Around the Village Green (Marion Grierson & Evelyn Spice Cherry, 1937)
Highland Doctor (Kay Mander, 1943)
The Hoarder (Evelyn Lambart, 1969)
Jenny's Dog Team Journey (Jenny Gilbertson, 1975)
Archive Material licensed from the Moving Image Archive at the National Library of Scotland, the British Film Institute and the National Film Board of Canada.
Jenny's Dog Team Journey © Helen Thomson & Ann Black
Curated by Camilla Baier and Rachel Pronger
MSc Film, Exhibition and Curation, University of Edinburgh.
Watch a short video of Invisible Women - An evening of short films by female filmmakers of the 1930s and 40s here: