Session Eleven: You’ll Never Work Alone, Cinenova at the EFF, Celebrating the Feminist Film Collective

Date: Tuesday 2 April
Time: 09:30-17:00
Venue: Birkbeck Cinema


This one-day interdisciplinary public screening and symposium celebrates Cinenova, a volunteer-run, non-profit collective preserving and distributing the work of feminist film and video makers. The event showcases the work of Cinenova in the area of archiving and preservation, as well as their mission to keep a feminist film historiography alive and relevant for contemporary audiences. It also inaugurates a broader collaborative project with Birkbeck, which will explore experimental feminist filmmaking practices, the histories of feminist collectives and the essayistic.

The symposium will debate the essayistic as an aesthetic and socio-political formal strategy of collective feminist filmmaking practice and as a means to give representation to women’s lives, both at work and in history. In so doing, the event will also discuss the role of Cinenova as an archive for such work and the issues involved in curating and circulating it for a feminist film historiography in particular and for film culture in general.

To focus such a conversation, the symposium will look in depth at two emblematic feminist filmmaking collectives forging essayistic and experimental film and video-making practices, often against the odds, and practised within distinct national settings. The first is Grupo Cine-Mujer, a Colombian feminist collective (1978-1990s) which aimed to speak for women in cinema through working with the very language of film; and the second is WITCH (Women’s IndependenT Cinema House), a collective based in Liverpool that supported the scripting, editing and distribution of films by women.   

Schedule : registration opens at 9:30

10:00.  Welcome, with Dr. Janet McCabe (Birkbeck, University of London), followed by an introduction to Cinenova, with Louise Shelley and Charlotte Procter

Case Study i: Grupo Cine-Mujer, Colombian feminist collective (1978-1990s)

10: 15. Introduction to Grupo Cine-Mujer, Colombian feminist collective (1978-1990s), with Prof. Catherine Grant (Birkbeck, University of London)

10:15-10:45. Lorena Cervera (UCL), discussing her documentary practice in relation to Cine-Mujer and collective women’s documentary filmmaking practice in Latin America from the 1970s-1990s, including a premiere screening of the documentary, Colectivo Cine-Mujer Colombia (Lorena Cervera 2019, 11mins).

*** 10:45-11:00 : 15min comfort break ***

11:00-11:45. Screening

  • ¿Y su mamá qué hace? (Cine-Mujer 1982, 9 mins)
  • Carmen Carrascal (Eulalia Carrizosa/Cine-Mujer, 1982, 27mins)

11:45-12:15. Dr. Juana Suárez (NYU Tisch School of the Arts), with a lecture on Grupo Cine-Mujer and the archive.

12:15-13:00. In conversation, Juana Suárez and Lorena Cervera, with Catherine Grant

*** 13:00-14:00 : lunch ***

Case Study ii : WITCH (Women’s IndependenT Cinema House)

14:00. Introduction to WITCH (Women’s IndependenT Cinema House), with Charlotte Procter (Cinenova) and Judy Mazonowicz, founding member of WiTCH.

  • You’ll Never Work Alone (WITCH, 23mins).

*** 14:45-15:00 : 15min comfort break ***

15:00. Introduction to the films by Louise Shelley and Bea Freeman (Black Women’s Media Project)

  • A Tribute To Black Women (They Don’t Get A Chance) (Ann Carney/ Barbara Phillips/Black Women’s Media Project, 20mins)
  • How Does an Invisible Boy Disappear? (Rehana Zaman, 25mins)

16:00.  In conversation with Deborah Findlater (Kingston School of Art), Bea Freeman, Judy Mazonowicz and Louise Shelley about community media projects and collective practice, contemporary artist film practice and the essayistic.  Chaired by Ash Reid (Goldsmiths, University of London)

This event is co-sponsored by BIH (Birkbeck Institute of the Humanities), CILAVS (Centre for Iberian and Latin American Visual Studies) and BiGS (Birkbeck Gender and Sexuality).