The programme for the 2013 BFI London Film Festival has been announced to great fanfare in Leicester Square. When it comes to women filmmakers, the news is as usual a bit scarce, but there are a few gems and intriguing inclusions.
In the Official Competition, artist-filmmaker Clio Barnard's feature debut The Selfish Giant, a favourite at Cannes, is included in the list of 13 nominees alongside Abuse of Weakness, the latest work of Catherine Breillat, the French multi-hyphenate best known for her exploration of sexuality and distinctively personal style of filmmaking.
In contention for the First Feature Award, women directed 3 of the 12 films included - Chika Anadu's B for Boy, Chloe Robichaud's Sarah Prefers to Run and Vivan Q's Trap Street.
The Documentary Competition includes Jessica Oreck's Aatsinki: The Story of Arctic Cowboys and Kitty Green's Ukraine is Not a Brothel. Green's film followes Femen, the Ukraine's most provocative feminist organisation whose mode of protest involves them going topless to all events, carrying out a naked war against patriarchy. You can sign up here.
As regards Newcomers (a category that is inclusive of actors, writers, producers and directors), Destiny Ekaragha is nominated for her directorial feature debut Gone Too Far.
This year's Debate Gala (vital cinematic dispatches about the concerns of our time, per the BFI) is Kelly Reichardt's Night Moves, which has been receiving hugely positive accolades at Venice over the last week and is in contention for awards when that Festival concludes this weekend.
The rest of the festivals offering are associated with their strands – for the second year, the programme is organised into themed categories. This year the strands are Love, Debate, Dare, Laugh, Thrill, Cult, Journey, Sonic and Family.
Love includes Anne Fontaine's Adore and Rebecca Zlotowski's Grand Central. The Love strand also hosts the UK premiere of Palme d'Or winner Blue is the Warmest Colour. As above, the Debate Gala is Night Moves. Joanna Hogg's London-set third feature Exhibition is in Dare, and Nicole Holofcener's Enough Said is in Laugh. There are no Thrills for women directors and Helen Cattete and Bruno Forzani's homage to giallo cinema, The Strange Colour of Your Body's Tears, is the only inclusion in Cult. They Journey section is bereft of female directing talent. Dori Bernstein's Marvin Hamlisch Documentary squeezes into the Sonic strand, and we're also treated to The Punk Singer, a film about Kathleen Hanna, the lead singer of feminist punk band Bikini Kill (directed by her brother). No women filmmakers are represented in the Family strand.
All in all, there are some very strong films by women directors included in the 2013 BFI LFF programme, with both Clio Barnard's The Selfish Giant and Catherine Breillat's Abuse of Weakness well-position in the Official Selection.
Full selection here.