Screen industry celebrates International Women’s Day

By 8 March 2016The latest

From inspiring documentaries to silent films and audio portraits, Australian filmmakers and actors are joining in the chorus of voices recognising International Women’s Day.

In the past year, the campaign for gender equality on and behind the camera has been building, with Screen Australia’s own Gender Matters initiative announced in December.

It’s no surprise then, to see filmmakers, actors and programmers celebrating International Women’s Day on March 8 with a variety of events. Here’s just a sample of them:


The inspiring story of Australian Olympic gold medallist, ground-breaking female aerial skier and mother-of-two Lydia Lassila will have make its premiere in Melbourne on International Women’s Day, ahead of a national release in cinemas from March 10.

A sports doco with a social impact edge, it follows Lydia’s tumultuous career, which didn’t end with her gold medal, or becoming a mother. The Will to Fly is a tale of female empowerment and striving for gender equality in sport, and filmmakers Katie Bender and Leo Baker have developed an impact strategy to have it rolled out in schools and used in the corporate sector and community groups.


Directed by Judy Rymer, powerful documentary I Will Not Be Silenced will screen at 9.30pm on ABCTV as part of their programming for International Women’s Day. It follows Australian aid worker Charlotte Campbell-Stephen’s gruelling fight for justice after she was brutally attacked and gang raped over an eight-hour period in Kenya.

“One of the detectives said to me, no one wins rape cases in Kenya,” Campbell-Stephen said and she was advised to leave the country. She didn’t and I Will Not Be Silenced follows her legal battle and how it challenged the legal systems in Kenya. It has since been shown to 400 magistrates and judges at a legal seminar in Nairobi to help change the system.

It has been acclaimed in more than 20 festivals and also hits home in Australia, where it shines a light on the critical issue of domestic violence.

HAVING IT HER WAY – Radio National PocketDocs

ABC Radio National celebrates International Women’s Day with this series presented by The Sapphires and Logie-winning Love Child actor Miranda Tapsell, who is also on the Screen Australia Gender Matters taskforce.

Tapsell tells the audio portraits of six Australian important women in our nation’s history who you may not know about, including:

  • senior Warlpiri law woman Dolly Nampijinpa Daniels
  • scientist Claire Weekes
  • bushranger/spy Mary Ann Bugg
  • Actor, writer, performer and teacher Rose Maud Quong
  • Stuntwoman, gossip columnist, POW and broadcaster Andrea Jenner
  • Stolen Generations advocate, community leader and healer Carol Kendall


From 2pm at the State Library of NSW, 21 short silent films will be screened courtesy of the British Film Institute (BFI). These films show how suffragettes were shown on screens as they fought for their rights in real life and are accompanied by a specially commissioned score by Lillian Henley.

From newsreels and documentaries to early comedy, cinema was emerging just as the Suffragette Campaign was growing stronger, so women were keen to have their voices ‘heard’ on camera, even though the films themselves were silent.

Admission to special screening for International Women’s Day is between $15.30 and $20.30.