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A Magazine for Sheffield

SQIFF / Trip Along Exodus

Glasgow, 29 September–2 October

Last month we journeyed to Glasgow for two days of queer film screenings at the Scottish Queer International Film Festival (SQIFF) with a view to programming more great queer film in 2017 at our own women-focused events here in Sheffield.

Glasgow Women’s Library hosted our highlight, Braw Butches, where a strong selection of shorts were showcased, including the heartwarming Bootwmn, an account of day-to-day life for Deana McGuffin, a masculine-presenting third-generation cowboy bootmaker living and working in New Mexico.

The main feature, Gender Troubles: The Butches by Lisa Plourde, interviewed masculine-of-centre women who shared experiences and reflected on the strange dichotomy of being hypervisible in everyday life, yet totally invisible in media representation. The film benefitted from limiting the number of interviewees, giving us a real sense of these women and the struggles they face, while celebrating their unique place in the queer community. The event concluded with a discussion of butch and masculine queer identities, with panelists including poet and activist Jo Johnson, filmmaker and spoken word artist Azara Meghie, and My Genderation’s Naomhán O’Connor.

Other highlights included the Web Series Showcase at the Centre for Contemporary Arts. This event demonstrated how this independent medium is used to get queer voices out there. We fell in love with Emmy-nominated Her Story, a view into the lives of two trans women starring Jen Richards. Made by and about trans women, it’s authentic and beautifully shot.

The last film we caught was Sekiya Dorsett’s Women and the Word: The Revival, following a group of LGBT women of colour as they tour their slam-style poetry show, The Revival, across America. Uplifting and informative in equal measure, this is one film we really hope to screen in Sheffield.

The strong programme and inclusive atmosphere SQIFF created meant that we said goodbye to Glasgow and our new queer friends and allies thoroughly pleased we’d made the journey.




Hind Shoufani is a well-known poet and journalist. She founded multi-lingual group, Poeticians, in 2007. She’s also one of an increasing number of successful Palestinian women filmmakers and her award-winning film, Trip Along Exodus (2015), is in the Cinema Palestino programme, screening at the Showroom with Q&A on Wednesday 7 December.

Hind’s film is personal and historically fascinating. Her early life in Lebanon, Jordan and Syria was somewhat nomadic, the partial result of her grandparents being made refugees in 1948 by the creation of Israel in Palestine. Equally impacting, which she only learned about as an adult, was that in the 1970s, her father, Dr Elias Shoufani, left a safe American Ivy League academic job and became a member of Yasser Arafat’s Palestinian Fatah party.

For the protection of the family, the details of his new life were always hidden, the family had bodyguards, and his presence was only occasional. Later, after political disagreement with Arafat, Shoufani became a leading analyst of Israel’s policies and practices towards the Palestinians and published seminal books on the subject. He died in 2013.

His hidden, and their separate, history is the subject of Hind’s documentary. In it she combines personal photos, 8mm home movie footage, interviews with her father and others, archive material, and cartoons in a video art style to explore her father’s life and their relationship. The film was awarded Best Non-European Documentary at the European Independent Film Festival, and won the Audience Award at the Cairo International Women’s Film Festival.

You may have caught an earlier Cinema Palestino screening at the Showroom last month, 3000 Nights by the renowned documentary filmmaker, Mai Masri. You can see more Palestinian films in early December at Leeds Palestinian Film Festival.


Trip Along Exodus trailer:

Film Listings

Hosted by Samantha Holland

Matt Crocker & James Dean, 2012
Thu 8 December | 7pm | Regather Works | £7/£5

ShAFF presents this feature doc exploring how Californian cool arrived on Britain's bracing beaches and grew into a serious obsession with waves, revealing how British surfers have created one of the most unusual and colourful surfing scenes globally.

Kyle Patrick Alvarez, 2015
Fri 9 December | 7:30pm | Film Unit | £3
This film presents a fascinating version of the alarming and sobering insights into human behaviour that arose from the notorious 1971 experiment by Stanford psychologist Dr Phillip Zimbardo, in which 24 volunteers took on the roles of guards and inmates in a makeshift prison system.

Joshua Oppenheimer, 2014
Thu 15 December | 6pm | Showroom | £8.50

A sequel to 2012's The Act of Killing, about Indonesia’s 1960s death squads, this film shows a mild-mannered optometrist challenge those in his community who murdered his brother. An incredible and stunning indictment of not just ‘history’ and the human capacity for monstrous behaviour, but also of the obfuscations of memory and the human mind.

Lenny Abrahamson, 2016
Mon 26 December | 3.35pm | Showroom | £7.50

Showing as part of the Showroom’s very welcome ‘Best of 2016’ series, this powerful study of the bond between parent and child and the devastating effects of crime has drawn critical and popular praise. Also screening as part of the Best of 2016 series: Mustang, The Pearl Button and American Honey.


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