Get to know your neighbours: Women Over 50 Film Festival

Get to know your neighbours: Women Over 50 Film Festival

Who are they?

Festival director, Nuala O’Sullivan: “I've lived in Walthamstow for almost 20 years and it was about 6 years ago that I came up with the idea of starting a film festival. I’d been a writer and producer, mainly for radio and theatre, for quite a few years when I wrote and produced a short film, Microscope, in 2014. I wrote it in my early ‘50s and it was about a middle-aged woman examining her life and marriage.

With my producer’s hat on, I started going to short film festivals to see where I thought the film might fit and found I wasn’t seeing many older women on the screen or amongst the people in the bar afterwards. Not many people talked to me. I felt lonely and isolated, which was the exact opposite of how I expected to feel in a room full of people who had the same interest and passion in storytelling.

It got me thinking about questions like: Who’s not running film festivals? Who’s not on the screen? Who’s not behind the camera? Who’s not in the room? I was talking to some pals about how I was feeling about my film and the festivals I've been to, and we decided to do something positive and fun about this lack we were all noticing. We said, "Why not start our own film festival?” And that’s how Women Over 50 Film Festival began.”

What are they up to at Leytonstone Loves Film?

On the afternoon of Saturday 28th September, they’re screening their best in class - from documentary to comedy, drama to animation and the more experimental, all from an older generation of women storytellers with women over 50 at their centre. The screening will be dementia-friendly meaning the lights will be up, chatting encouraged, and people can come and go as they please. Pop by for one or two, or stay for them all.

Their favourite Leytonstone memory?

“Though I'm not a huge Hitchcock fan, I do love the mosaics at Leytonstone Station that show scenes from some of his most famous films. Each time I come out of the tube at Leytonstone and see them, they bring back really happy memories of watching his films on TV with my family when I was growing up in Glasgow. I loved the excitement of trying to spot Hitchcock's cameo appearances in his films - of being the one to point at the telly and shout, ‘There he is!’”

How can you get involved?

The next edition of the festival is in fact taking the place the weekend before Leytonstone Loves Film! They’ll be parking up 20-22 September at Depot, Lewes with shorts, panels and workshops tackling ageism and sexism. Interested in volunteering? Drop Nuala a line by 1 Sept.