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14 November 2022

Weekend of film highlights ‘stolen’ global cinema of women filmmakers

Lost, interrupted, destroyed. Stolen, refused, abandoned.

An exciting new curated film festival takes us behind the scenes of filmmaking practice today, showcasing independent films made by women in diverse parts of the world.

Unfinished: Women Filmmakers in Process aims to offer insight into issues of equality and access for women artists and practitioners.

Presented by Cardiff University’s Image Works: Research and Practice in Visual Culture in partnership with Chapter Arts Centre, Unfinished features films made from the 1960s to the present in Afghanistan, Australia, Lebanon, Singapore, the United States, and Wales.

Many of the filmmakers will appear in person, speaking with audiences in post-screening discussions alongside a host of expert speakers from around the world. There is also a series of practical workshops to help aspiring and established filmmakers develop their skills. All events are free and open to the public.

Senior Lecturer in English at Cardiff University, Dr Alix Beeston, is co-curating the festival. Dr Beeston explains: ‘An unfinished film is a sign of things gone wrong. It’s the funding that dries up, the collaborators who can’t seem to get along, the censors who get in the way, the timing that doesn’t work, or, more simply, the luck that finally runs out.

‘But what’s really interesting is how unfinished films can also be more than accidents or failures. Looking at incomplete or censored works invites us to think seriously about process over product, and about who is supported to make films—and who isn’t. It also reveals the adaptability and resilience of women who want to make films, often in the face of enormous obstacles.

‘Not only that, but unfinishedness also emerges as a deliberate strategy and a source of creativity in the work of the filmmakers we’re showcasing. By cultivating the unfinished, these filmmakers question the overarching and supposedly “finished” or closed-off stories we tell about the world.

‘So across the events, we’ll be thinking together about how unfinished works shift our sense of history, society, art, and culture. Each of these things are themselves unfinished, unfolding in still-undetermined ways.’

Unfinished is sponsored by the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at Cardiff University.

Dr Alix Beeston is author of In and Out of Sight: Modernist Writing and the Photographic Unseen (Oxford University Press, 2018). Co-curator of Unfinished, Dr Stefan Solomon, is Senior Lecturer in Media Studies at Macquarie University and author of William Faulkner in Hollywood: Screenwriting for the Studios (University of Georgia Press, 2017).

Dr Beeston and Dr Solomon’s collection of essays Incomplete: The Feminist Possibilities of the Unfinished Film follows from the University of California Press in 2023.

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