Debut film festival celebrates role played by women in cinema

It will be argued that despite all the female stereotyping played out by Marilyn Monroe (above) and Jane Russell, 'Gentlemen Prefer Blondes' is in fact a feminist film
It will be argued that despite all the female stereotyping played out by Marilyn Monroe (above) and Jane Russell, 'Gentlemen Prefer Blondes' is in fact a feminist film

Seaford Community Cinema stages its first film festival from Friday, June 29, until Sunday, July 1, with a programme that aims to have something for everyone from the Big Scream opening event to its open-air finale.

Besides 11 feature-length films there will also be free workshops where you will be able to meet people working in the movie industry.

The festival theme is Women and Film, with the programme chosen to honour female directors, screenwriters and cinematographers as well as feisty performances by women.

Inclusivity begins on Friday at 11am at The Barn Theatre with the Big Scream event specifically for parents and carers of babes in arms. They will be able to laugh at The Big Sick without having to worry if their infant disturbs anyone. All you need is £3.50 for your own ticket as babies are free.

At 2pm learn about movie costumes by meeting period clothing supplier, Lewes-based Catherine Darcy, then stay at The Barn for the 4pm showing of The Party, directed and co-written by Sally Potter, and Molly’s Game, at 7pm, a crime-drama filmed by Charlotte Bruus Christensen based on the true story of a woman who ran a high-stakes poker game for a decade before being arrested in the middle of the night by gun-wielding FBI agents.

Saturday begins at 11.30am with a Singalong for children to their favourite animation, Frozen, co-directed by Jennifer Lee who also wrote the screenplay.

The action transfers to the Constitutional Club at 2pm for a short film by Brighton Film School graduate Vivien Goddard-Stephens who will be talking about how she made Days Without, about the film school and various jobs in the industry. Staying at the Con Club, there’s another short at 3.30pm, The Wider Sun, with some scenes set in Lewes, directed by Sophia Carr-Gomm and made by a team of mainly women, followed by a Q&A.

Meanwhile back at The Barn at 3pm local historian Kevin Gordon will be talking about his special interest in the Suffragette movement, this being followed at 4.30pm by the film Suffragette, directed by Sarah Gavron and written by Abi Morgan.

The 6.30pm spot goes to campaigning documentary Open Bethlehem in which director and writer Leila Sansour spent five years gathering a huge visual archive during the building of the Israeli wall. Saturday concludes at 8.30pm with Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, the film that won a Bafta for its its star, Frances McDormand, who portrays a woman who fights like a tiger to find the person who raped and killed her daughter.

Sunday starts at 10.30 with coffee and a croissant before The Hurt Locker, the film about the psychological effects of an Iraq war bomb disposal team who are targeted by insurgents, directed by Kathryn Bigelow who became the first female director to win a Best Picture Oscar.

At 2.30pm you can meet Alice Rhodes, the director of Golden Girls, filmed in the shared house of three local women, Andrea Hargreaves, Sally-Mae Joseph and Lyn Sands who moved in together in a communal living adventure. This is followed at 3.30pm with the ‘golden oldie’, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, when Girls on Films founder Rebecca Ellis will be arguing that despite all the female stereotyping acted out by Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell, this was a feminist film.

The festival concludes with two films, one for families and the last for adults, on an outdoor screen in the grounds of Florence House, Southdown Road. First up at 6pm is Beauty and the Beast, free for under 10s, followed at 8.30pm by iconic road movie Thelma and Louise. A bar and food van will be available and bring warm and/or waterproof clothes in case of inclement weather because the shows will go on.

Workshops are free and most tickets to films are £5 or £3.50 for under 25s. For tickets go to Seaford TIC, buy them online at www.seafordcinema.org or on the door.