Women X Festival 2022

Attending film festivals has been a dream since I was aware they existed. However, it’s always been a distant dream because I can’t travel for them…well without at least spending a bunch of money I don’t have. This past year, thanks to the rise of online film festival attendance as the world was told not to travel, I’ve been able to live out that dream. From September 2nd to the 4th, I was lucky enough to experience a glimpse of the Women X Film Festival founded by Caris Rianne. As a Trans Woman, being a small part of this festival meant the world to me and I hope to attend in person someday. For now, here are some short(ish) thoughts on the amazing projects that I watched.

Head Over Feet: A Series of Shorts

First Kiss With A Girl is a short voiceover with related imagery about a girls first kiss with another girl. It’s really cute, shot in a 6:9 ratio, with the theme of the part at which this case occurred being present but not obvious until it’s stated.

Kiss Chase sees a young girl of colour struggling with a crush on another girl, while a boy develops a crush on her. It’s a classic “nerd to beauty” story done well, made more uncomfortable by the age of those involved, which I’m sure is the point. There’s really no knowing what children get up to and the thought that several of the more intense scenes in here do occur is terrifying.

Silent Pride features a private spat between two best friends at a party. The most notable aspect is that one of the girls is hearing impaired, although that’s never the sole purpose of the story. It is used for a cute little moment of connection though.

Virtual Love sees a female couple playing dom and sub for viewers on a camgirl website until an argument breaks out. It makes excellent use of the website itself, often showing the chat window which is itself a lynchpin of the plot. Despite being in skimpy clothing, the camera never leers, which shouldn’t be noteworthy but it is.

Pitching features a woman lost in her tent on a trail, leaving a desperate voicemail for her former girlfriend. The frame composition is fascinating, having been split into 9 squares, each telling a different story from the relationship. At 17 minutes, it’s one of the longer shorts but the lone voicemail is heartbreakingly engaging throughout.

The Cost of Living focuses on a woman in control of her life finally giving up control for the seductive personification of death. It’s the artsiest film in this series and it’s totally engaging. Seems to have the highest production budget so far but this story would be wonderful regardless.

Pragma sees a woman partaking in a rigorous Partnering Programme but struggling to trust the system. It also has a higher production budget and a longer runtime but it’s also consistently funny. A really interesting take on the two core kinds of relationship (short-term and long-term).

Besties: A Series of Shorts

Scuzz features the surprising friendship of a female rocker and the young teen boy who stole her guitar. It’s super sweet and it demonstrates the kinder side of Scotlands gig scene which could use more prevalence.

Venetian Men is the tale of two 15-year-old best friends’ trip to Venice. It has an excellent blend of photos and footage taken on the trip with interprative dance scenes featuring actress stand-ins. The voiceover is soothing too, telling of an often underappreciated time in young women;s lives.

@scroll_alice features a conversation between two people about the benefits of Instagram. With the stop-motion animation depicting conversation topics and use of AI voices, it comes across as a little horrifying despite the dialogue claiming otherwise. It feels like it lacks humanity but at the same time it tells such a human story. Brilliant.

Run With Her is a short documentation of an Irish teens friendship with her running partner and best friend. This short was also featured in last years EIFF so this is a second watch for me but it’s no less lovely. I hope everything is working out for them.

Farewell She Goes sees two Gregorian women grappling with how to bury a bird at sea whilst a deeper issue lies just below the surface. It never explicitly states that one of thee women wants an abortion but it’s made clear through the dialogue, line delivery and notes about abortions history at the films conclusion. Sad but necessary.

Sequin features a little girl at a bus stop encountering a drag queen who looks just like her Barbie doll. It’s adorable and a perfect demonstration of how accepting children are. It manages that without anyone ever uttering a word, which is a real skill.

7 Bannanas features a woman dealing with the deathvof a friend sh’ed been neglecting to message. It feels real, grappling well with the genuine emotions of grief and guilt. Serves as a poignant reminder to keep in touch with people more.

Homegrown: A series of shorts

GSNE is a small doc centres around the foundation of Girls Skate North East, a group specifically for female skaters in the North East of the UK. It’s about camaraderie and support and being female in a seemingly male dominated space. Very inspiring.

After the break is a monologue about living life away from the tv screens and the music. It’s interesting to listen to with simple but elegant visuals.

The Air in Cyberspace features the beginnings of self organising cyborg existence. Not live-action so it caught me off guard, but the CGI visuals and visuals are very impressive.

The Girl Next Door sees a girl trying to vlog her life whilst her psychotic adopted sister lurks in the background. Shooting it purely from the cameras POV is a great way to tell the story and the performances are wonderful.

A Call to the Void follows 24 hours in a depressed young mans life and is quite the experience. A self-motivational tape plays over the entire short providing this juxtaposition between what the world expects and the reality of life.

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