The Short Hot Flush Film Festival is the world’s first festival for women over 50 and celebrates both women in front and behind the camera. The brainchild of two friends, Nuala O’Sullivan and Maggi Healey, the festival will showcase 27 international short films by or about women. There will also be a panel event with industry experts and academics discussing why over-50s women are so underrepresented in the industry and how we can change this.
The rules for entering the festival were simple; each film had to have a woman over 50 as the central character or a woman over 50 in the core creative team, such as the director or producer. Submissions have come from all around the world including England, Slovenia, Peru, Sierra Leone and Canada, amongst others.
Speaking about the event, O’Sullivan said, “The quality and quantity of the submissions was quite incredible. We had a massive 68 film submissions which for a new film festival is really impressive. It’s now clear that from the filmmakers’ point of view the over 50s market is there. Now it’s about finding out if there’s an over 50s audience for the films.”
Indeed, there has been a recent spotlight on the issue of ageism and gender in Hollywood and the entertainment industry. Meryl Streep, Helen Mirren, Julie Walters and Maggi Gyllenhaal have all publicised the ageism they have faced over the years.
Maggi Gyllenhaal, 37, was recently turned down from a role for being too old to play the lover of a 55 year old man. Speaking of the experience, she said, “It was astonishing to me. It made me feel bad, and then it made me feel angry, and then it made me laugh.”
Gyllenhaal’s interview raised support from fellow actress, Helen Mirren who said, “It’s ridiculous – honestly. It’s so annoying and ‘twas ever thus. You know, we all sat there watching as James Bond got more and more geriatric and his girlfriends got younger and younger.”
Short Hot Flush Film Festival will feature some of the finest female, over 50s in the industry including BBC Imagine documentary maker, Jill Nicholls and actor, Sophie Ward. They will also feature the poet, Alice Denny who has created work specifically for the event. There will be prizes awarded for best drama, documentary and animation.
The film festival takes place on Saturday 3rd October in Brighton.