A cultural history of feminist moving image practice 1970-1990

1968-05-01 00:00:00

Paris: 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)

1969-03-01 16:04:11

The Other Cinema

The Other Cinema was a start up distribution or

1970-02-27 00:00:00

National Women's Liberation Conference

Ruskin College, Oxford hosted the first National Women's Liberation Conference. Ruskin students Arielle Aberson and Sally Alexander worked with historian Sheila Rowbotham with the initial intention to set up a women's history conference. After realising that women's history had hardly ever been recorded they decided to focus the conference on contemporary issues facing women.

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 programmed by women directors, including the re-discovery of Dorothy Arzner and Leontine Sagan as well as foregrounding contemporary filmmakers such as Nelly Kaplan and Jane Arden. Laura Mulvey remembers the Women's Event as a 'tabula rasa' moment where feminist political moving image practice and burgeoning theoretical questions converged (2017).

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.

1973-09-03 00:00:00

The Second Festival of Independent Avant-garde Film

Programmed and organised by David Curtis and Simon Field included a two-week programme of films and over 100 filmmakers who were present to discuss their films. Laura Mulvey (2017) remembers the festival was where she first saw Chantal Akerman's Hotel Monterey (1972) and Yvonne Rainer's The Lives of Performers (1972).

1978-05-06 00:00:00

Feminism, Fiction and the Avant-garde

Organised by Lis Rhodes and Deke Dusinberre, this seminar and screening series at the LFMC was a key moment in the development of feminism film theory and moving image practice. The seminar was presented by three editors from the US feminist film journal Camera Obscura. The editors had 'explicitly acknowledged their debt to the work of British feminists theorists of cinema and stated that they see themselves as following up on the initial research' (Gaal Holmes 2015). International films by women were brought to London especially for the event, including VALIE EXPORT's Invisible Adversaries (1977) and Chantal Akerman's News from Home (1977), Babette Mangold's What Maisie Knew (1975) and Agnes Varda's Daguerrotype (1976).

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. The organisation provided an essential role and network in the promotion, distribution and exhibition of exclusively women filmmakers, supporting filmmaking which varied from political and social documentary to more experimental modes of practice.

1979-01-01 00:00:00

Cinema of Women (COW)

Cinema of Women was set up in 1979 by a collective of six women: Mandy Rose, Fern Presant, Audrey Summerhill, Caroline Spry, Melanie Chail and Maggie Sellers. The group emerged from Cinesisters, a broader group who held consciousness raising meetings at the London Filmmakers Co-op premises from 1978. The collective were keen to get feminist films into first-run cinemas and onto television and they felt that women filmmakers should be able to exercise some control over where and how their films were exhibited. In the 1980s, COW released a string of feminist films, including: Leotine Sagan's Maidens in Uniform (Germany, 1931), Marleen Gorris' A Question of Silence (Netherlands, 1982) and Margarethe von Trotta's The Second Awakening of Christa Klages (West Germany, 1979) and Lizzie Borden's Born in Flames (USA, 1983) and Heiny Sour's Leila and the Wolves (UK/Lebanon, 1984). (Knight 2015)

1979-04-01 00:00:00

Rio Cinema

During the 1970s, 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 exhibition, together with other women artists such as Annabel Nicolson, Susan Stein 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

1979 General Election

The election of the Conservative party under Britain'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 conditions of Britain was rapidly transformed. Neoliberalism and globalisation gathered momentum and funding for arts and culture was cut, including the closure of the Greater London Council in 1986.

1979-08-01 00:00:00

EIFF: Feminism and Cinema Event

Laura Mulvey, Claire Johnston, Lynda Myles programme the Feminism and Cinema Event at the Edinburgh International Film Festival. It was a cultural assessment of the 1970s decade's women's creative practice, feminist film theory and collective activism. The programmers platformed new work by Sally Potter, Thriller (1979) by Sally Potter and Michelle Citron's Daughter Rite (1979).

1981-01-01 00:00:00

Greenham Common Women's Peace Camp

From the first arrivals of Women for Life on Earth in 1981 to the 30,000 women who formed a human chain to Aldermaston in 1983, the Greenham Common Women's Peace Camp became a shining example of non-violent transnational feminist activism, changing both lives and laws. Over the course of 19 years, hundreds of thousands of campaigners travelled to the site to protest the storage of cruise missiles on UK soil, and to campaign for multilateral disarmament and non-proliferation. Greenham Common became a high-profile, long-lasting experiment in feminist co-operative living. “The women of Greenham Common taught a generation how to protest,” noted Beeban Kidron.

1983-02-01 00:00:00

Women's Media Resource Project

Founded in 1983/4 by a friendship circle of feminist artists and activists who went to Greenham. WEFT (taken from a Greenham song) re-named as the Women's Media Resource Project was funded the Women's Committee at Greater London Council and Hackney Council, Greater London Arts and the British Film Institute. The group started working with the Rio Cinema in 1985, programming discursive film and video screenings, running training workshops in sound and video organising benefit screenings and events. The collective launched The Sound Kitchen in 1986, the UK first's women-only 16-track recording studio.

1984-02-01 00:00:00

Rio Women's Cinema

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 women’s experimental early cinema, classic Hollywood and 1970s feminist activist 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. The space was funded by Hackney Council, Greater London Arts and Richmond Scheme, and organised by 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 a number of women including members of the Women's Media Resource Project. The festival was held at the Rio Cinema, Metro Cinema and Acton Screen. The festival screened videos by women, working independently and in workshops, co-operatives and community groups from the across the United Kingdom.

A cultural history of feminist moving image practice 1970-1990

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