Kelly Holmes profile

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Kelly Holmes

Brunel University London (2023)


Dr Paul Moody


The First Step or Short Vision?: The Influence of the British Film Institute on British Women’s Filmmaking


Building on recent work in feminist British film history (Bell et al 2020; Wreyford & Cobb 2017; Gledhill & Knight 2015; Mulvey & Backman Rogers 2015), this project will focus for the first time on the women filmmakers who were funded by the BFI’s production schemes, to examine how women’s films were shaped by the BFI’s funding and its institutional barriers. The core research will be based on an analysis of the BFI National Archive’s holdings of the 82 BFI-funded titles directed by women between 1952-2000, when state funding was transferred to the UKFC. This period includes work by renowned filmmakers Sally Potter, Gurinder Chadha and Ngozi Onwurah, through to lesser-known productions such as The First Step (Felicity Gray, 1961) and Short Vision (Joan Foldes, 1956). This unique lens will enable the development of an historiographical framework with which to explore the various obstacles faced by women filmmakers during this period, and how they intersected with other factors such as class, race, age and disability (Crenshaw 2017). To answer these questions, I will develop a creative methodology, combining skills of archival research, interviews, and media practice, to produce a thesis which explores ways in which multimedia responses (eg. an interactive documentary film) can inform the interpretation of the material in the BFI’s collection and reveal deeper insights into the work produced by British women filmmakers.