I attended BFI Future Film Festival 2018 on Fri 16 Feb. I have attended the festival before and even had one of my own short films screened as part of the 2016 festival. I found that attending the festival once more, two years later and when I have a bit more experience in the film industry, was just as eye-opening as the first time.
The day began with a Keynote speech from Kate Leys whom has worked as Script editor and consultant on various brilliant films throughout the years including brilliant British films such as Dark River, Lady Macbeth and I Am Not A Witch. Her speech set the tone of the day, that particularly at the moment, the world is eager to hear new voices. To hear new, young, voices. What was so inspiring about Leys was her grasp of the difficulties that many young people face in the industry, she didn’t patronize of over-simplify but instead gave measured advice to the room about how she came to be where she is today.
Another important aspect of Kate Leys being the Keynote speaker of the day was the fact that she was a woman. Now, this may see a null point to you, or may just annoy those who view the #MeToo movement as a so-called ‘witch-hunt’ but the presence of woman onstage, especially in as underrated a profession as script editing is, is invaluable to me. In my short experience within the film industry, I can count on my two hands the number of women I have worked with in production houses. Which is why it is always vital to me to see other women talking about their role in the industry, or other women being integral to the industry.
The rest of my day, unintentionally, followed this pattern of hearing female voices talking in and about film. I watched the short films selected as part of the Female Portraits strain of the festival, some of who I had had the pleasure of seeing before. Many of which were new to me. BFI Future Film gave the unique forum for all these women to be presented onscreen as they were, not distorted by a male gaze, and it showed a glimpse of what forthcoming filmmakers can do for female representation onscreen. I saw women discussing race, championing friendship, open dialogue on periods and so much more. Walking out of the screening I came to the quiet realisation that a lot of the subject matter I had just seen so honestly and openly playing out onscreen, I can’t recall seeing in any mainstream film.
I then attended an all-female panel called ‘Your Career Path in Post-Production’, where the trailblazing editing company Clear Cut. In this Q+A session, the women on the panel spoke candidly about how they all stepped into their career paths. Post-production is a part of the industry that I have yet to properly delve into beyond editing on my laptop, and the session proved enlightening but slightly intimidating as it opened up the often forgotten, and most certainly lesser-celebrated, part of the film industry.
The final session I attended on the day was a masterclass with Robyn Slovo, producer of many pioneering British films such as Lynne Ramsey’s ‘A Romm for Romeo’ and ‘Ratcatcher’ as well as the British spy thriller ‘Tinker, Tailor, Solider Spy’. As nearly all the speakers had that day, Robyn Slovo spoke candidly about her experience in the film industry. She opened up about the struggles she had, had working with bigger Hollywood production companies as opposed to smaller British productions and the prejudice she had encountered due to her gender.
Unexpectadley my day at the BFI Future Film Festival had presented not only emerging filmmakers talent but also reassured me of the current female voices within the industry. I love that BFI gave such an accessible platform for young filmmakers to attend and hear these voices in the industry.