Magazine article Screen International

Female Directors Sweep East End Film Festival Awards

Magazine article Screen International

Female Directors Sweep East End Film Festival Awards

Article excerpt

Female filmmakers have swept the awards at the 15th East End Film Festival (June 23 - July 3) for the first time.

The films, which also each focus on a female protagonist, include As I Open My Eyes, Sonita, Adult Life Skills and The Third Dad.

"It's fantastic to see so many women represented," said EEFF director Alison Poltock. "With women making up less than 14% of filmmakers in the UK, it shows that whilst the quantity may be low, clearly the quality is extremely high."

Leyla Bouzid's As I Open My Eyes won the festival's best feature prize. The film, which centres on an 18-year-old girl who fights family pressure in Tunisia, was chosen by a jury comprising EEFF director in residence Tolga Karaçelik (Ivy), film writer and producer Kaleem Aftab, Bangladeshi filmmaker Mostofa Sarwar Farooki, US actor Ron Perlman, and British director Sarah Gavron (Suffragette).

"This told an important story in a way that engaged me emotionally," said Gavron. "It has a very naturalistic improvised feel, was culturally revealing, and captured the complex political moment in Tunisia through a personal story. Fascinating in terms of the themes it explores around political censorship and the role of women. …

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