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Needle from Anahita Ghazvinizadeh
Still from Anahita Ghazvinizadeh's NeedleAnahita Ghazvinizadeh

The BFI Future Film Fest is calling all girls

Partnering with Women in Film and TV for its eighth edition, the fest is determined to give young women a platform

If you're dismayed the total lack of women in Hollywood but don't know what to do about it, the BFI Future Film Festival might be your first stop to change the game. Taking place over three days from February 20-22, the festival – open to anyone between the ages of 15 and 25 – is packed with 70 separate workshops, masterclasses, Q&As and screenings featuring the best films by upcoming filmmakers and, most importantly, providing opportunities to connect with the industry and kick-start your career in film.

This year, the Future Film Festival's eighth, will go ahead with one major point of difference: girls will be at the forefront. Teaming up with Women in Film and TV, their stellar programme features talks with speakers like documentary filmmaker Kim Longinotto and The Great Hip Hop Hoax director Jeannie Finlay. Not to mention the scores of young female filmmakers up for awards the BFI gives out, like Hannah Gautry and the Oscar-nominated Daisy Jacobs.

One other talking point is a panel discussion by director Destiny Ekaragha and the BFI's own Matimba Kabalika about how young people from minority ethnic backgrounds can get their foot in the door, which will be explored in "Fight The Power: How to Be Black in the British Film Industry".

"We’ve been making sure that we support a diversity of filmmakers for ages now, and the (lack of female representation) has been an issue that’s been on our mind increasingly over the years; every year we try to make sure that we get a good number of female industry speakers at the festival," says BFI Education Programmer Noel Goodwin.

Anahita Ghazvinizadeh's short film, Needle

While the stats may indicate otherwise, Goodwin says that, actually, their female audience is only growing. "Over the last few years we've seen that our audience is more and more young women, and we wanted to make a real statement about it this year, so we thought we’d team up with Women in Film and TV, who we worked with on the festival in previous years, to deliver keynote speeches by leading women filmakers."

What's the best way to get ahead as a young filmmaker? "For anybody, whether you're a young woman or a young man, it's about not taking 'no' for an answer, having real goals in mind and working towards them," says Goodwin. "I think there are more opportunities for women to get into film now, and potentially the only barriers are yourself – you just need to knuckle down and have faith, be focused, be determined, don't take no for an answer."

The BFI Future Film Festival runs from 20-22 February

Liked this? Head this way to read more stories about women (or lack thereof) in film:

Fewer women land lead roles in Hollywood now than in 2002

Why are there no female filmmakers?

Women directors, take action!