The Wotever DIY Film Festival is starting on Saturday! There’ll be everything from love to politics to porn, deeply committed drama, bizarre comedy and insightful documentaries all rolled into one. We asked the festival’s two chief programmers, Kay Fi’an and Tara Brown, to tell us a little more about the festival and why they think this year will be especially amazing.
Why do you feel the Wotever DIY film festival is important? What does it mean to you?
Kay: WDIYFF is important because it is accessible, giving queers who are new to filmmaking a platform to showcase their work. It’s accessible in many different ways. Our emphasis is on low budget films, rather than slick commercial films with high production, and this determines the feel of the festival. WDIYFF is also a community platform; it’s a sharing of experience and an expression of who we are as a community, as well as individually.
The festival is personally important to me because it was the first film festival I ever submitted my work to – partly because it felt accessible to a low budget filmmaker like myself. I feel as though it has been a really important festival for me on my film making journey.
Tara: WDIYFF is important because it really makes an effort to showcase and celebrate film that is about and the queer community. We also really work to involve marginalised communities within the queer scene, like people of colour and trans people of colour. So often we show film that just don’t get shown anywhere else and it really reflects the lives of our peers.
What specific considerations have gone into programming this year’s festival? Was there anything in particular you wanted to focus on?
Kay: This year we have focused on the stories of queer, black femmes. When programming the festival, we are alert to the potential issue of it becoming too pinkwashed. We are always looking for a portrayal of diverse experiences.
Tara: One thing that were really important to me was highlighting trans people of colour. I had noticed that although we had a fantastic range of trans and non-binary films, queer and trans people of colour weren’t as represented. This year we’re delighted to have Major! as our opening night film, shining a bright light on Ms Major, a Stonewall veteran who’s been fighting for black trans women for over 40 years.
What’s the highlight of this year’s festival? What in the programme are you most proud of?
Kay: My highlight has to be the opening night. A Vow of Silence, directed by B Steadwell, really blew me away. It is a great short to be showing before our main feature, Major! a fantastic documentary about the lifelong work of Miss Major Griffin-Gracy. I also have a soft spot for the Queers vs The Patriarchy segment. I love the fact that we have films made by men about men’s experience in a feminist programme.
Tara: As well as Major! I’m really excited for all the films this year. We’ve had amazing submissions – Boxx, Primavera Rosa and I’m New Here all come to mind – brilliant films, all different with QTPOC from all walks of life. As someone who is a sucker for films that investigate the ideas of families, and all the dramas and loves that come with it, I’m also really excited for people to see the Queering Families strand.
The Wotever DIY Film Festival is this weekend, the 3-4 September, at the DIY Space for London. Read more about the event and about the venue and what we’ve been working on to provide as significant access as possible. Tickets are free, but please pre-book through Eventbrite.