‘Why define femininity if you can just show women?’: Polish women’s film festival opens online

‘Why define femininity if you can just show women?’: Polish women’s film festival opens online
Still from Incognito, by Hungarian director Júlia Lantos

17 November 2020
Top image: still from Incognito, dir. Júlia Lantos

Film festival Demakijaż opens this week, bringing together a diverse online programme of features and shorts directed exclusively by women.

Founded by social activists and cultural programmers Joanna Bednarczyk and Jolanta Prochowicz, the Polish annual film festival aims to give women filmmakers from across the world a platform to challenge gender conventions and create a more diverse picture of what it means to be a woman.

The festival, which usually takes place in the Polish city of Lublin, includes an international feature film contest, and “Caribbean Voices”, a special competition of short films by Caribbean filmmakers. All films in the programme will be available online for free with English subtitles.

Meanwhile, the festival’s short film competition, “Let’s Start the Revolution”, focuses on debut directors and film students whose work tackles issues related to femininity. Offerings include Incognito by Hungarian director Júlia Lantos — a bittersweet animation about a young girl in a tedious office job whose absurd world takes an unexpected turn. Elsewhere, Polish filmmaker Anna Kasińska is showing her debut, Synchronization: a ludicrous quasi sci-fi take on womanhood from the year 2084, when men are nearly extinct and four women must wait for their menstrual cycles to synchronise.

Other festival highlights include Grandma’s Day, a tender, poignant portrait of loneliness, aging, and family relations in the era of smartphones, by Polish filmmaker Ewa Słusarczyk.

Demakijaż is organised by Camera Femina, a Poland-based foundation that advocates for the increasing participation of women in culture and public life through, primarily, the dissemination of the work of female filmmakers, cultural events, and year-round workshops. The festival is jointly organised by the Camera Femina Foundation, Homo Faber Association, and the Centre for Culture in Lublin, and the “Caribbean Voices” section is curated in partnership with Hairouna Film Festival in Saint Vincent. The Calvert Journal is an official media partner of Demakijaż.

The festival is running from 18 to 22 November. Discover the full programme and watch the films online on outfilm.pl.

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