Initiative from Film London and the British Council aims to address gender disparity within the film industry.
Two films have been commissioned for the Shakespeare’s Sister initiative, aimed at female filmmaking talent and part of a range of projects marking 400 years since Shakespeare’s death.
Film London and the British Council have commissioned Marina and Adrienne and WYRDOES, following a selection process which received 265 applications.
They will both receive £15,000 ($22,000) in production funding, along with mentoring from Film4 and membership to Women in Film & TV.
The films will also tour internationally as part of the British Council’s Shakespeare Lives strand, providing a global platform for their work.
Marina and Adrienne written/directed by Lucy Campbell and produced by Loran Dunn, inspired by Pericles, Prince of Tyre.
The film sees fugitive lovers Marina and Adrienne posing as fishermen and finding work on a trawler. Far out at sea, a ferocious storm picks up and Marina, revealed to be female and pregnant, gives birth on board, amongst the oil, ice and fish, to the shock and wonder of the old fishermen, but dies in childbirth.
In the grip of the merciless storm, and driven by superstition, the fishermen insist the body goes overboard, with the baby – the only way to placate the sea’s fury.
WYRDOES is a comedy inspired by Macbeth, written and directed by Nat Luurtsema and produced by Jennifer Eriksson and Iona Westlake.
It centres on three sisters – Elsab, Magrit and Merope – who battle poverty and rumours that they are witches just because they’re a little ‘wyrd’. Through accidental tragedy, murder and war, the downtrodden Wyrdoes finally fight back.
Deborah Sathe, head of talent development and production at Film London, said: “Let’s be frank: audiences are missing out when the film industry ignores the voices and talents of female storytellers, and a significant part of Film London’s work lies in trying to ensure that the capital’s industry is as vibrant and diverse as the city itself.
“With women still so woefully underrepresented in lead creative roles – despite their huge bankability – we think Shakespeare’s Sister will serve as a calling card for the filmmakers we’ve selected and as a showcase for female talent as a whole.”
Shakespeare’s Sister is part of Film London’s Shakespeare on Screen programme.