#Festival: WANDA, Belfast’s feminist film festival, takes place November 1st to 4th

WANDA, Belfast’s feminist film festival, will present a second collection of exciting, diverse, new and retrospective films directed by women. WANDA runs from Thursday 1st – Sunday 4th November, with sponsors including by the Belfast Film Festival and Film Hub NI.

Over four days the festival will feature films, panels, and a quiz at locations across the city such as Queen’s Film Theatre, Black Box, Beanbag Cinema, and the Accidental Theatre.

The festival features the Irish premiere of Rafiki by Kenyan filmmaker Wanuri Kahiu as its closing film this year. Banned in its country of origin due to its depiction of a lesbian relationship, Rafiki is a stunning and nuanced film with a cracking female-led soundtrack.

Opening the second edition of WANDA is Marjane Satrapi’s unmistakably stylish modern classic, Persepolis. An autobiographical animation based on Satrapi’s graphic novel of the same name, it charts the period of her life growing up in Iran during the revolution of 1979, the Iran/Iraq war that followed and her time alone in Europe.

The festival will also feature screenings of Lynn Hershman Leeson’s Teknolust, which stars Tilda Swinton in four roles; Gillian Robespierre’s Obvious Child, which accompanies photographer and award-winning abortion rights activist, Emma Campbell’s (Alliance for Choice) discussion about abortion on screen; Lelia Doolan’s Bernadette: Notes on a Political Journey, the gripping account of the tumultuous political career of Northern Irish activist and feminist Bernadette Devlin McAliskey; Claire Hackett and Michele Devlin’s A Kind of Sisterhood, which sees female political prisoners in the Armagh and Maghaberry jails share their stories; Julie Dash’s Daughters of the Dust, a seminal film as it was the first feature film directed by an African-American woman; and Maeve Murphy’s Silent Grace, which was inspired by Nell McCafferty’s book, The Armagh Women, and is based on events during the Troubles in Armagh Gaol.

We are excited to present our new programme, which explores some of Northern Ireland’s leading debates, discussing abortion on screen and the fight for equal marriage rights. We want these important films to reach a new audience in Belfast and promote discussion about the things that affect women’s lives here and around the world every day.
Laura O’Connor, Co-director

The festival will include a fundraising event for the newly formed Rape Crisis NI. The festival will also team with Film Hub NI to launch their new initiative for young film programmers. Women Run the Screen will be a mentoring programme facilitated by Film Hub NI. Young women (18-30), who wish to learn more about programming and exhibition will be assisted by more experienced members of the sector to deliver a tour of NI members. Programming will adhere to F-Rating standards (already adopted by QFT) within the parameters of British, independent and specialised film.

Building on the back of last year’s successful approach of positioning older films with new works – both politically motivated and of local interest – our hope is this year’s programme continues to find an intergenerational, engaged and enquiring audience. We felt film and film theory and practice was the perfect way to open into wider conversations about reproductive rights, domestic labour and the telling of women’s stories and giving space to women’s voices.
Rose Baker, Co-director

The full programme and tickets are available at www.wandabelfast.com.