The Berlin Feminist Film Week is a week-long annual film festival held in Germany’s capital city.
If you’re interested in filmmaking with a feminist perspective (and even if you aren’t), then this is the film festival for you.
Here we’ll take a look at what the Berlin Feminist Film Week actually is, along with why its mission is so important in a male-dominated industry.
So let’s get started, shall we?
What Is The BFFW: A Brief Rundown?
The Berlin Feminist Film Week (or BFFW) was launched in 2014 by founder, director, and curator Karin Fornander, and is an annual international film festival that focuses on feminist and female-led films.
Its main purpose is to challenge the male-dominated film industry and tackle issues regarding diversity and representation in mainstream films.
It originally started as a single film night to showcase feminist cinema, but was turned into a fully-fledged festival due to its positive reception and growing audience.
Despite its growth, however, it stays true to its grassroots DIY beginnings and receives little funding
The film industry is overwhelmingly controlled by male directors and filmmakers, with white male-oriented stories making up the vast majority of mainstream cinema.
The BFFW aims to tackle this hegemony of films made by male directors for a male audience by shining the spotlight on feminist cinema, particularly those created by and featuring female, PoC, and LGBTQ+ filmmakers in the film industry.
On top of showcasing a variety of short and feature films, the BFFW also includes a selection of live performances and panels with various female, PoC, and queer filmmakers that cover a range of topics of feminist discourse.
It also includes several workshops and Q&As to get the audience involved in the discussion of these important topics.
The films on display at the BFFW don’t just deal with strictly feminist issues, however, and are just as focused on giving female, queer, and PoC filmmakers a space to share their stories and amplify their voices.
Creating a discussion around these topics is just as important as scrutinizing them, and sharing a wide range of perspectives means that these topics are given the attention they deserve.
Like any other film festival, awards are given out to the best and most insightful films based on audience choice.
With an increasing number of entries and attendees each year from all around the globe, the BFFW showcases the greatest female-driven films the industry has to offer.
When Does The BFFW Run?
If you’re in Berlin and are interested in attending the BFFW, it runs during the week of International Women’s Day.
This was designated as an official holiday in Germany in 2018, and is undeniably the perfect time for this festival!
Typically running in the first or second week of March, the Berlin Feminist Film Week usually runs from 11 am to 10 pm each day of the festival (though this varies depending on the length and number of entries).
Can’t make it during the week of the festival? Don’t worry!
Not only is the festival streamed online for international audiences, but there are also several one-off events throughout the year hosted by the BFFW organizers.
Keep an eye out on the BFFW newsletter or follow their social media pages to stay up to date with the latest from these events.
How Much Does It Cost To Attend?
With a focus on inclusion, it makes sense that attending the Berlin Feminist Film Week is free!
There may be some screenings and workshops with an entry fee attached, but the festival itself is free of charge and you can see which events are paid entry in advance.
If you’re considering submitting a film for screening at the festival, then you will have to pay a submission fee; otherwise, you can enjoy the range of subversive and progressive films on offer free of charge!
Why Is The BFFW So Important?
The Berlin Feminist Film Week plays a crucial role in centering the voices of people who are critically underrepresented in the film industry.
In Hollywood alone, more than 78% of film directors are men and almost 70% are white; additionally, as little as 29% of films produced by major studios have a female leading actor, and even fewer have an ethnically diverse and/or explicitly LGBTQ+ main cast.
By shining the spotlight on films directed, written, produced by and starring women, PoC, and LGBTQ+ people, the BFFW challenges the diversity issues present in the film industry and gives an opportunity for minority groups to shine both in front of the camera and behind it.
The BFFW tackles the patriarchal hegemony of white, cis-gendered male directors and filmmakers that have an overwhelming control of the film industry by not just aiming to increase the diversity in films being made, but also encouraging discussions about why authentic diversity and representation is so important.
These are incredibly important issues to take both inside the film industry and outside of it, and looking at why these structures exist is just as crucial as challenging them through film.
Its engaging mix of panels, workshops, and (of course!) films make it a great addition to film festivals and to the film industry as a whole.
One of the best parts of the BFFW is that it is welcoming to everyone.
When discussing important issues regarding the representation of women and minorities in film, there’s something for everyone to learn and take away from.
If you’re in Berlin during the week of the festival, it’s well-worth attending!
If you’re looking for introspective, insightful, and subversive films made by the best female, PoC, and LGBTQ+ filmmakers in the industry, then the Berlin Feminist Film Week is definitely a festival worth your attention.
With its wide range of feminist films that challenge the current male-dominated film industry and a variety of engaging workshops, panels, and Q&As, there’s an incredible selection of media on show that is sure to offer some unique perspectives on issues that affect us all.
So whether it’s showcasing stories about challenging gender norms, exploring the diversity of female identity, or giving a voice to women in minority groups, the BFFW’s important work and fantastic films are something anyone visiting Berlin should consider attending!