Skip to main content

Women X Film Festival 2022: The Rundown

by Natalie Greener

Women X is part of Rianne Pictures, a volunteer run organisation set up in 2013 to support women in film. Taking place in Darlington Hippodrome, we got to take part in the 3 days of festivities!

In a creative industry that’s rife with inequalities and misgiven equities, Women X Film Festival brings a safe viewing space for all those film lovers across the North East. Based at the beautiful Hippodrome - Parkgate, the sold out event hosted a pre-screening party at Dr Inks Cocktail Bar and an award ceremony at Mercure’s Kings Hotel. From karaoke, panels, quizzes, supporting local businesses and even a lounge to chill in, the festival proved a must do for Darlo’s independent film enthusiasts. Pleasantly surprised with the creative and cultural landscape of such a small town, arriving in Darlington coincided with two arts festivals. A heavenly coupling of music and film, the location housed Last Train Home as well as #WXFF22. Over the course of the weekend (2-4th September), the North East was the place to be!

With such a rich schedule, it was a representative program that highlighted different creative, sociopolitical and individualistic outlooks. The key genres for film nominations include; ‘Maternal Conflict’, ‘Besties’, ‘Give Us A Smile’, ‘Turn the Big Light On’, ‘Home Grown’ , and ‘Head Over Feet’ - all showcasing short films that centralise upon such important film rhetorics. My personal highlight of the weekend was the panel addressing the future of programming, that truly resonated with my lived experience in the music sector as an event promoter. Echoing my sentiments, curators Carmen Thompson, Isra Al Kassi, Moss Mpetha, Lily Paving Franks and Chris Rhianne helped navigate a panel that really represented an authentic practitioner’s perspective. Working across film festivals in the UK, audiences gathered to unionise in conversation about how we can demystify the art of programming and open the floor to opportunities in the craft. 

Key notions negotiated by the panel touched upon diversity within the sector and how it particularly applies to the art of programming. Opinions acknowledged that there’s a collective ego in the film industry - similar to music - where narcissi fuels a desire to tell people what is right and good. There is an industry urge amongst positions of power to be tastemakers, but a fear of stepping out of the box. A lack of diversity in programming can make it mundane, showing the need for collective efforts in audience participation in the making of a filmmaker’s career.

When attending such an insightful event, the main topic of conversation appeared to be the proactive future of the industry. These safe spaces for art consumption are so crucial to the freedom of expression that the creative industries can bring us. Environments like the Women X Film Festival facilitate important conversations about the industry's forever changing landscape, helping one another understand why we all value film in our own individual ways. 


Most Popular

‘Make Tattooing Safe Again’: Sheffield Based Tattoo Artist Exposed for Indecent Behaviour

 by Emily Fletcher TW: SA, Animal Abuse, Transphobia Photo Credit: @ meiko_akiz uki Recently, an  Instagram account  has been created to provide a  ‘space to safely give a voice to those who want to speak out about the behaviour of one, Sheffield based tattoo artist’. A  total of 40+ posts have been made by the above social media account regarding  one of Sheffield's most popular tattoo artists .  Thankfully, all posts are prefaced with a Content Warning prior to sharing screenshots of the messages that have been sent anonymously to the page. The majority of Content Warnings refer to sexual behaviour, abuse, and sexual assault. It is clear that there is a reoccurring theme within each submission, as many clients appear to have had the same experiences with the tattoo artist. Women, mostly, are being made to feel uncomfortable while being tattooed. One of the most vulnerable positions anyone can be in, tattoo artists should make their clients feel comfortable and safe during the pro

Eurydice’s Last Words

by Kate Bradley I do not want to return To sit in the stalls, Of an empty black box Strewn with petals Leave the ghost light on, Let it shine like a call home, But I will not come back To turn it off alone. I learn this as we walk Our ever so solemn path Our thudding funeral march, You think we’re going back. As I trace my old steps, I fear of the day When the symphony swells, And I land my gaze On you, yet you will be Enraptured by the sound, If you did twist To turn around, You would not see me. So I am not sorry, I speak out into the empty air And I am not sorry. “Turn Around.” You do, you look You think  I fall But I run on, Arms wide open To fall in love With it all “Perhaps she was the one who said, ‘Turn around.” On the X45 bus, back from the Tyneside Cinema, I wrote a poem entitled “Eurydice’s Final Words”, after having seen “Portrait of a Lady on Fire”.  That poem was terrible, so I wrote a new one, as my response to the beautifully poignant film.  In one scene, Héloïse, an 18

Single Review: ‘Tell Me’ - Jay Moussa-Mann

by Ilana Hawdon The feeling of pure betrayal and heartbreak is perfectly captured in Jay Moussa-Mann’s latest single, ‘Tell Me’. Jay Moussa-Mann is the folk dream we have been waiting for. A favourite on BBC Introducing, Radio 6 and BBC Radio Tees, Jay ’s sound is easy on the ears but delightfully addictive. With a background in writing and film, she began her solo musical venture when she released her debut album, ‘Little Deaths’ in late-2019, and since then, Moussa-Mann has defined herself as an artist with unbelievable range and promise.    ‘Tell Me’ is completely timeless; with notes of Carole King and Joni Mitchell, Moussa-Mann creates a folk-inspired track which is simultaneously heart wrenching and strangely empowering. Beginning as a simple guitar tune, ‘Tell Me’ builds with layers of luscious strings and twinkling piano, tied together with Jay ’s vocal line which is equal parts melancholic and divine. The song feels unwaveringly intimate; the lyrics ask, ‘what was I worth?’