Read on to learn about Leeds Animation Workshop’s programme for Anim18. In the year it celebrates its fortieth anniversary, this not-for-profit, filmmaking collective is still active in conceiving, producing and making animated films on social and educational issues. Leeds Animation Workshop are a women’s filmmaking collective that continues to prove that feminism is an engine for wider social justice when they make audiences laugh, feel angry or deeply moved.
These are films with a message, designed to get people thinking and talking. They are researched and distributed collaboratively with partner organizations and those directly involved with the subject. Many of the films release previously unheard voices: these stories may be about class, race, gender and sexuality but remain, first and foremost, people’s stories.
Give Us a Smile (1983) 13 minutes | Music by Lindsay Cooper; Singer: Maggie Nicols.
Give Us a Smile shows the effect of the harassment women live with every day, ranging from stereotyping to actual physical violence. Made by women during the effective curfew of the so-called Yorkshire Ripper, it is an angry film; its mixed-media style adding impact to its persuasion. It still has immediacy in today’s ‘everday sexism’ debate around harassment, online and on the street. A long-standing festival favourite (including the inaugural London Feminist Film Festival).
Working With Care (1999) 15 minutes | Narrated by Alan Bennett.
‘Oh dear,’ said Ella, ‘my fairy godmothers need fairy godmothers themselves.’ Juggling career and children, high-achiever Queen Ella thinks she has the best of both worlds – but life becomes difficult when her fairy godmothers start to experience age-related health problems. Desperate for support, she is advised to contact ‘the services at the bottom of the garden.’ Part of a trilogy, with Through the Glass Ceiling and No Offence, Working With Care entertains with a dry humour that brings to life the realities of women (mainly), caught between the demands of children, caring responsibilities, and working life.
Waste Watchers (1996) 12 minutes | Narrated by Maureen Lipman
In a distant solar system, observers discover an atmospheric emergency on one of the inhabited planets, and Special Agent Three is sent out on a rescue mission. Landing on Earth she begins to help people solve their fuel-related emotional problems and to face up to climate change. Waste Watchers is designed, with humour, to encourage energy conservation in the home, the school and the workplace.
Did I Say Hairdressing? I Meant Astrophysics (1998) 14 minutes | Narrated by Alan Bennett.
Difficult, dangerous, dirty and damaging to the environment – isn’t that what the STEM subjects: science, technology, engineering and maths, are like? So outsiders tend to think – particularly women and girls. And Zod, great man of science, would confirm their worst suspicions. But his children – the twins, Joanne and Joseph – have other ideas. An entertaining, thought-provoking film, still relevant when women need to battle science-community attitudes that recently cast them as emotional and distracting in the laboratory. Winner of the Audience Favourite Award at the London Feminist Film Festival, 2017 – nearly 20 years after its first release!
They Call Us Maids: the Domestic Workers’ Story (2015) 7 minutes, colour, DVD.
‘All our stories are the same.’ In a globalized world, They Call Us Maids keeps us at the heart of women’s experience of trying to provide for their families. Working with the autonomous campaign group Justice 4 Domestic Workers, LAW have produced an affecting representation of women who have travelled to work thousands of miles from their homes. Shown at many festivals, including The London Feminist Film Festival, this beautiful piece of animation won the “Unchosen” Best UK Film on Modern Slavery Award, 2017.
Screening costs options are:
Not-for-profit screening: £25; Community cinemas £50; All other venues £75. The films can be supplied either as DVDs or as digital files, as preferred.
For more information, please contact Terry Wragg at Leeds Animation Workshop:
Telephone: 0113 2484997
The website can be found at: www.leedsanimation.org.uk