Blue Moon Film Festival - A Celebration of Women and Film (21 Oct - 25 Nov)

Blue Moon is a new film festival showing internationally acclaimed films that haven’t been shown in Newcastle before, ranging from comedies to documentaries, as well as featuring unique live events that celebrate women filmmakers.

Women are still in the minority in the filmmaking world: only one woman has ever won the Oscar for Best Director in the last 85 years; only one woman has won the Palme D’Or at Cannes since the start of the festival in 1946; women account for only 5% of all filmmakers in Hollywood. The aim of this season is to show recent films made by women that have been acclaimed at film festivals all over the world, but haven't been shown in the North East; to hold exciting unique events with live music and discussions; and to encourage women to tell their stories and to celebrate women’s voices.

The programme includes two exclusive documentaries, one French comedy that has only been shown a couple of times in the UK, one exciting silent film-and-live-music event, and one open film night for local women filmmakers to discuss and show their short films.

Newcastle is lucky to have no fewer than three excellent independent cinemas: The Tyneside Cinema (Central Newcastle), Side Cinema (Quayside) and Star & Shadow Cinema (Byker). Blue Moon will show films in these three amazing venues, to celebrate thought-provoking films and the spaces that allow them to be shown.

Please note that these are not women-only events: men are more than welcome to attend and the organisers welcome them to join the debate.

When: Tues 21 Oct – Tues 25 Nov

Where: Star & Shadow Cinema, Tyneside Cinema, Side Cinema, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne

For more information about the festival and details of how to buy tickets, please click here


The Programme


Tue 21 Oct, WONDER WOMEN! The Untold Story of American Heroines 2013, USA, documentary, dir. Kristy Guevara-Flanagan, 70 min

Side Cinema, 7.30pm

“With the narratives of iconic superheroes rooted deep in our psyches, Guevara-Flanagan exposes our cultural obsessions and shifting values through populist mediums and, in particular, the way women’s roles have been reflected over the decades.”  ArtsHub 

After its world premiere at the South by South West Festival in Texas, and following screenings at festivals all over the world, this will be the Newcastle premiere of this exceptional documentary about one of the very rare American female Superheroes, Wonder Woman. The film follows the fascinating birth, evolution and legacy of the Wonder Woman figure, from its creation in a comic book in 1940 by William Moulton Marston, to how she became a television hero and a famous icon. The film goes through the changes that her character went through, looking at how it mirrors the place of women in history, through wars and the feminist movement. Featuring rare interviews with Lynda Carter herself, the incredible American feminist Gloria Steinem or the Bionic Woman actress Lindsay Wagner, this film is funny, instructive and very inspiring.

"No matter how old we get, we all have a secret stash of heroes and heroines that help us walk taller and feel stronger in our daily lives." Kristy Guevara-Flanagan

Kristy Guevara-Flanagan’s first feature-length film was an acclaimed documentary covering four years in the lives of four adolescent girls. GOING ON 13 was an official selection of Tribeca, Silverdocs, and many other international film festivals. It received funding from ITVS and was broadcast on public television in 2009. Kristy has also produced and directed several short films, including EL CORRIDO DE CECILIA RIOS, a chronicle of the violent death of 15-year-old Cecilia Rioswhich was an official selection of the Sundance Film Festival.


Tue 28 Oct, SALMA

2013, UK, documentary, dir. Kim Longinotto, 90 min

Side Cinema, 7.30pm

"Kim Longinotto showcased a beautiful and tragic film about Tamil poet Salma. As a film critic... it's very rare that something can resonate and leave me in an overwrought state of fulfilment like this film did....I was left impassioned; I wanted to know more about this exceptional woman." Huffington Post

This incredibly powerful documentary was part of the official selection of the Sundance Film Festival, the Berlin Film Festival and Sheffield Doc Fest, and won prizes and praise all over the world. Following the story of an Indian woman who was locked up by her family for 25 years before becoming an acclaimed poet and a public figure, it is incredibly powerful and will impassion anyone who sees it!

When Salma, a young Muslim girl in a south Indian village, was 13 years old, her family locked her up for 25 years, forbidding her to study and forcing her into marriage. During that time, words were Salma's salvation. She began covertly composing poems on scraps of paper and, through an intricate system, was able to sneak them out of the house, eventually getting them into the hands of a publisher. Against the odds, Salma became the most famous Tamil poet: the first step to discovering her own freedom and challenging the traditions and code of conduct in her village.

"I was desperate to tell her story, because it's happening to millions of girls all over the world, and we never talk about it. I see it as a crime that's going on worldwide that is just not acknowledged." Kim Longinotto

One of the foremost documentary filmmakers working today, Kim Longinotto is renowned internationally for her compelling human portraits and her sensitive and compassionate treatment of unknown topics. By seeking out, observing, and following the untold stories of women’s daily lives, she has created cinema vérité portraits of the larger society and cultural customs.

Studying at the National Film & Television School in the 70s, Longinotto made her debut with the controversial Pride Of Place, filmed at the girl’s public school where she’d once been an unhappy pupil. Her prize-winning subjects have spanned the globe - from Divorce - Iranian Style (for which she won a BAFTA with co-director Ziba Mir-Hosseini) and female circumcision in Kenya (The Day I Will Never Forget) to Shinjuku Boys and Gaea Girls in Japan. Hold Me Tight, Let Me Go, set in the remarkable Mulberry Bush school in Oxfordshire that deals with excluded and emotionally scarred children, was a rare excursion back on home soil. It won the Best British Feature at the BritDoc Festival in 2007.



Star & Shadow Cinema, 6.30pm

6.30pm: Panel Discussion

7.30pm: Break/Drinks in the bar

8.30pm: Open Film Night

6.30pm: Panel Discussion

At the start of the night, the organisers will welcome a panel of experienced female filmmakers who will talk about their career, their films and how they got there. Confirmed names include the very successful artist Cecilia Stenbom, who recently won The Journal Culture Award's Visual Artist of the Year, and Ellie Land, excellent filmmaker of animation films and animated documentaries. Other names TBC soon.

Then there will be an opportunity for local women filmmakers to bring short films they’ve made, to show them on a big screen, and to introduce and discuss them. Men are welcome to attend and watch the films! So if you’re a woman and you make films, whether you are an experienced filmmaker or an amateur, whether you’ve made 15 films or only ever made one, you’re welcome to come and show your short film – it just has to be 10 minutes long maximum.



Star & Shadow Cinema, 7.30pm

This unique Silent Films + Live Music event will showcase films made by women and the music of female local bands. The programme will include a mixture of some of the best silent short films made by women, from early silents to experimental films and animation. Films include Hansel and Gretel (1955, UK, 10 mins), a beautiful silent animation film from Lotte Reiniger; Maya Deren’s experimental cult film Meshes of the Afternoon (1943, USA, 14 mins); Lois Weber’s early silent and very enjoyable film Suspense (1913, USA, 10 mins) and Germaine Dulac’s experimental masterpiece The Seashell and the Clergyman (1928, France, 41 mins).

A live score will be composed and performed by female trio Iceni, purveyors of disco-infused power pop, run almost entirely on good vibrations, keyboard riffs and cups of tea. Other bands will participate too – information to follow.



2012, France, Fiction, Comedy, 120 min, Eng subtitles, dir. Noemie Lvovsky

Tyneside Cinema, 6pm

"Charming French rom-com parties like it’s 1985" Hollywood Reporter

Surprise hit at the French box office, winning an award at the Cannes Film Festival and nominated for no less than 13 Cesars (French BAFTAs), this wonderful heart-warming comedy has an excellent soundtrack full of 1980s hits and is at once playful, hilarious, sad, surprising, joyful, and in 2 words – very touching.

What would you feel if you were transported back to being 16? Imagine going back to school with your best friends, going to parties, having sex for the first time, being told off by your teachers? If you knew how your life was going to unfold in the future, would you try and change things so that your future life is different?

The main character in Camille Rewinds is in that situation: she magically goes back to being 16, in 1985, and tries to fight what she knows will be her destiny. The film is a personal tour de force for writer, director and main actress Noémie Lvovksy. Devotees of French cinema will appreciate the sprinkling famous cameos, including François Truffaut’s long-time screen alter ego Jean-Pierre Léaud (the boy in 400 Blows) as a magical watchmaker and Mathieu Almaric as a creepy teacher.



Blue Moon Festival has been organised by White Mane Productions, a company set up by Stephanie Oswald with the aim of producing original, exciting and unique film events in Newcastle. The aim is to show films that would not be shown otherwise, and to show them in various venues in Newcastle, trying to mix and share audiences between the three independent cinemas in the city, and also to bring new audiences to these venues. It plans to organise Blue Moon Festival on an annual basis. 


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