A cultural history of London's feminist film exhibition practices 1970s-1980s

1968-05-01 00:00:00

May '68

May ’68 in France expressed a fundamental version of freedom: not freedom to succeed but freedom to revolt. Political revolutions ultimately betray revolt because they cease to question themselves. Revolt, as I understand it – psychic revolt, analytic revolt, artistic revolt – refers to a permanent state of questioning, of transformations, an endless probing of appearances. (Kristeva 2002)

1972-08-01 00:00:00

Edinburgh Film Festival 1972

Laura Mulvey, Lynda Myles and Claire Johnston co-programmed the Women's Event, the first women's film festival in Europe. 31 films were screened by women directors, including the re-discovery of Dorothy Arzner and Leontine Sagan.

1973-04-01 00:00:00

Women's Cinema at the National Film Theatre

Claire Johnston programmes a season of films 'Women's Cinema' at the National Film Theatre, a continuation of the Edinburgh women's film screenings, symposia and events.

1979-01-01 00:00:00

Circles: Women's Work in Distribution

Circles was the first women artists' film and video distribution organisation in Britain. It emerged from the increasingly politicised cultural climate of the late 1970s, in which the Women's Movement played an influential part, and it provided an essential role in the promotion, distribution and exhibition of exclusively women filmmakers, supporting filmmaking which varied from political and social document to more experimental modes of practice.

1979-04-01 00:00:00

Rio Cinema

After surviving life as a Kung Fu, Elvis and Bollywood revival cinema and a stint as The Tatler Cinema club showing live striptease, in 1979 the Rio starts operating as a community resource and registered as a non-for-profit charity with an elected board of local people who acted as volunteer trustees.

1979-05-01 00:00:00

Lis Rhodes' 'Whose History?'

This question begins Lis Rhodes' essay which is a retort to what she argued as the reductive positioning of women artists in the history of experimental film presented at the Film as Film exhibition at the Hayward Gallery in 1979. Rhodes' withdrawal of her research, curation and films from the show, together with other filmmakers such as Annabel Nicolson and Tina Keane, is one of the contributing factors for the formation of Circles, the feminist distribution collective for women artists working with film and video, tape slide and film performance.

1979-05-04 00:00:00

Election of Margaret Thatcher

The election of the Conservative party under the UK's first female prime minister Margaret Thatcher brought a far right government into power. Thatcher set about dismantling the state, brought in deregulation and broke up the trade unions. Under her helm, the political and economic condition of the United Kingdom was rapidly transformed. Neoliberalism and globalisation gathered momentum and funding for arts and culture was cut.

1979-08-01 00:00:00

Feminism and Cinema Event

Laura Mulvey, Claire Johnston, Lynda Myles programme the Feminism and Cinema Event at Edinburgh Film Festival. An assessment of the decade's filmmaking, theory and activism. Including the premiers of Thriller (1979) by Sally Potter and Michelle Citron's film Daughter Rite (1979)

1981-01-01 00:00:00

Greenham Common Women's Peace Camp

From the first arrivals Women for Life on Earth in 1981 to the thirty thousand women who formed a human chain to Aldermaston in 1983, the Greenham Common Women's Peace Camp is a shining example of non-violent feminist action, changing both lives and laws.

1983-02-01 00:00:00

Women's Media Resource Project

Founded in 1983/4 by a group of women filmmakers and activists who were inspired by the protests at Greenham Common. The WMRP (also known as WEFT) was funded by Hackney Borough Council, the GLC and GLA. The group started working with the Rio Cinema in 1985, programming films, running workshops in sound and video and organising benefit screenings and events.

1984-02-01 00:00:00

Rio Women's Cinema

The Rio Women's Cinema launched by a group of women associated with the Rio. Every third Thursday of the month, the group programmed double bills of early women’s experimental cinema, classic Hollywood and 1970s feminist documentary and art cinema, followed by discussions, frequently playing to women-only audiences.

1986-07-24 00:00:00

The Sound Kitchen

Launch of The Sound Kitchen, the UK's first women-only 16 track recording studio. The Mint Juleps officially opened the studio. Funded through the Women's Media Resource Project.

1987-10-05 00:00:00

First National Women's Video Festival

The first national women's video festival programmed by the Women's Media Resource Project, held at the Rio Cinema, Metro Cinema and Acton Screen. The festival screened work by women, working independently and in workshops, co-operatives and community groups from the across the United Kingdom.

1988-06-01 00:00:00

Making It Public

Supported by the Women's Media Resource Project, Making It Public was a series of discussion screenings held in the basement of the Rio Cinema that focused on taboo topics in lesbian sex such as non-monogamy, disability, butch and femmes in race relations.

A cultural history of London's feminist film exhibition practices 1970s-1980s

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