Keswick Film Festival


Our programme of films featuring the work of female directors has coincided with the development of the F-rating, a new system designed to flag up the significant involvement of women in film, on either side of the camera.

The F-Rating Manifesto

The stories we see on screen influence our lives. We want to hear stories from everyone, not just from one section of society.

We want diversity in filmmaking, both on and off screen.

The F-rating was founded by Holly Tarquini at Bath Film Festival 2014 where we wanted to highlight films which feature prominent women both behind the camera and in front of it.

Every film which ticks yes to the one of the following questions receives the F-rating of approval:

  1. Does it have a female director?
  2. Is it written by a woman?
  3. Is/are there complex female characters on screen who exist in their own right (not simply there to support to the male lead)?

The F stands for feminist.

Feminism is: "The belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities." We believe that feminism benefits everyone.


Friday 28th February 9:00 PM - Theatre By The Lake
The Nightingale
Jennifer Kent (2019) Austrailia 136 mins 18

At the turn of the 19th century, Clare is an indentured convict held by a British Lieutenant. His abuse of power, delaying her release, leads to horrific consequences.

"Although set some 200 years ago the concerns about violence - towards women, towards indigenous people, towards nature, the repercussions of colonization - they're very much in our mentality and in the way we live now", observed Kent, "but by placing something in the past, you can give people a distance from it, so they can see it without feeling like they're being attacked. Everything that's real and deep about this film is relevant now. Completely."

A quite astonishing film but please be aware it contains scenes of brutality and infanticide.

Thanks to Vertigo Films

Saturday 29th February 11:00 AM - Theatre By The Lake
For Sama
Waad Al-Khateab, Edward Watts (2019) UK/Syria 100 mins 18

For Sama is both an intimate and epic journey into the female experience of war. A love letter from a young mother to her daughter, the film tells the story of Waad al-Kateab's life through five years of the uprising in Aleppo, Syria as she falls in love, gets married and gives birth to Sama, all while cataclysmic conflict rises around her. Her camera captures incredible stories of loss, laughter and survival as Waad wrestles with an impossible choice - whether or not to flee the city to protect her daughter's life, when leaving means abandoning the struggle for freedom for which she has already sacrificed so much.

Keswick Peace and Human Rights Group Screening

Thanks to Cinema for All
NB the 18 certificate relates to disturbing images of death arising from the conflict

Saturday 29th February 6:15 PM - Theatre By The Lake
The Farewell
Lulu Wang (2019) USA/China 100 mins PG

"Based on an actual lie" The Farewell follows a Chinese family who, when they discover their beloved Grandmother has only a short while left to live, decide to keep her in the dark and schedule an impromptu wedding to gather together before she passes. Billi, freshly arrived from the USA and feeling like a fish out of water in her home country, struggles with the family's decision to hide the truth from her grandmother.

Chinese-American director Lulu Wang first turned her real-life family experience into a radio programme, aptly entitled In Defense of Ignorance. She subsequently adapted it into a movie, The Farewell, however the Chinese title is more direct - Don't Tell Her.

Thanks to Entertainment Film

Sunday 1st March 11:00 AM - Theatre By The Lake
Derriere Les Fronts
Beyond the Front Lines
Alexandra Dols (2017) France 113 mins PG

Beyond the Front Lines, takes us on a journey both within our own minds and on the roads of Palestine, led by Palestinian psychiatrist and writer Dr. Samah Jabr. An heiress to anti-colonial psychiatrist Dr. Frantz Fanon, she exposes the psychological strategies of the Israeli occupation and their consequences, and the ways in which Palestinians have learned to cope. In this multi-voiced movie, interviews and columns are intertwined together with poetic escapes suggesting the invisible dimension of Palestinian streets and landscapes.

Keswick Peace and Human Rights Group Screening

Thanks to Hybrid Pulse

Sunday 1st March 11:15 AM - Alhambra
The Kingmaker
Lauren Greenfield (2019) USA/Denmark 100 mins 15

Together with her husband Ferdinand, Imelda Marcos stockpiled assets worth an estimated $5-10 billion from the Filipino people – not to mention that notorious wardrobe-full of shoes.

Yet despite that breathtaking corruption and the brutality of Marcos' martial law-imposing regime, Imelda and her son Bongbong, who is bidding for the vice-presidency, are on the comeback trail.

Thanks to Dogwoof

Sunday 1st March 5:00 PM - Alhambra
Portrait of a Lady on Fire
Céline Sciamma (2019) France 119 mins 15

Winner of the Best Screenplay and Queer Palm at Cannes, this sumptuous film is set at the end of the 18th century with the rugged coast of Brittany as a constant backdrop.

Marianne is an artist commissioned to paint a portrait of a reluctant Lady Héloïse – a portrait that is to be sent to a potential husband in Venice.

As the artist observes her model the glances between the two women become more and more meaningful.

Thanks to Curzon

Sunday 1st March 5:00 PM - Theatre By The Lake
The Souvenir
Joanna Hogg (2019) UK 120 mins 15

Sight & Sounds' best film of 2019 is set in the 1980s. Julie (Honor Swinton Byrne) is a young film student from a privileged background who begins relationship with Anthony (Tom Burke), an older man who manages to insinuate himself into her life.

Whilst the bonds strengthen and the relationship becomes more inward-looking, secrets are revealed.

The Souvenir is a "masterful portrait ...of... love as an addiction for which there is no easy cure. Swinton Byrne and Burke make for one of the year's most intriguing screen couples, although this is a romance based on anxiety, narcissism and opportunism rather than anything resembling genuine affection." Toronto Star

Thanks to Curzon

Supported by Film Hub North, led by Showroom Workstation. Proud to be part of the BFI Film Audience Network

Film Hub North BFI Film Audience Network