Catfish got your tongue? A celebration of female talent in film

Catfish Shorts was co-founded by festival directors Melissa Woodside and Courtney Harmstone. This collaboration had the objective of creating a platform with an inspiring vision to help facilitate and encourage women within the industry to showcase creative writing and short film making talents.

Catfish Shorts first held its debut event in February 2017 at The Tribeca screening room and Soho house, successfully showcasing the work of women as film makers and directors. Hosting its first ever film festival competition, which took place earlier this week in London’s eclectic Brixton, the brand further celebrated female talent and characterisation in film.

As a female ex-banker turned budding filmmaker, particularly inspired by documentary making, I understood the importance of supporting women who are often underrepresented in the industry. I resonated with the female-led film festival’s vision and was excited by its prospects.

I was delighted to be chosen as one of the judge panelists for the short film submissions, based on my love of film, passion for female empowerment and the fact that I’m currently in the process of making a short film myself.

Image credit: Catfish Shorts
Image credit: Catfish Shorts

Festival directors collaborated with event sponsors Rupert Smith from Champagne De Bleuchamp and Film Freeway partner Katie McCullough.

Pre-introductory Champagne fizz kicked off the buzzing atmosphere followed by film screenings with intervals between, offering the chance to mince, mingle and share thoughts on the films with other like minded film buffs.

The short films screened featured powerful themes and strong female characters, effectively subverting traditional narrative structures, thus challenging patriarchal female stereotypes contrived by society.

The winners of the shortlisted films and their directors were as follows;

  • It’s Alright – Nina Knag (Best Picture)
  • Whispers – Jo Lewis and Imogen Doel (Best Director)
  • Honey – Adam Robinson (Best Cinematography)
  • Oysters – Pratyusha Gupta (Best Actress)
  • Destination – Georgia Lee and Hannah Danie (Best Original Screenplay)

My personal favourite was It’s Alright. This film had a very moving storyline portraying the realistic hardship faced by single mothers and the strength these women express during troubled times. The story also showcased the innocence and kindness of children, who in spite of going through hard times have kindness in their hearts and empathy for others – implying that hate is not something we are born with, it is something taught.

The story telling was strong on its own merits and cleverly conveyed within the short time frame of the film with minimal dialogue.

The Visit, which surprisingly didn’t win any awards, also stood out as exceptional. The film very poignantly depicts the reality of mental illness. The script writing cleverly incorporated unexpected twists and moving themes. Well worth a watch.

For more information please visit Catfish Shorts 

It’s Alright main image credit: Karl Erik Brøndbo