Fight for diversity to be given top billing at international film festival

Marginalised and underrepresented voices will be given centre stage at an international film event taking place this month.

The Cine-Excess Film Festival led by Xavier Mendik, Professor of Cult Cinema Studies at Birmingham City University, will put a major focus on the struggle for diversity and inclusion from a range of different groups.

Running from October 19 – 24, the Festival titled Bodies as Battlegrounds: Disruptive Sexualities in Cult Cinema, will include a programme of streamed UK film premieres alongside an online conference examining how genre movies depict diverse stories.

Cult cinema has long been recognised as a medium to tell stories of underrepresented communities with the 1970s recognised a ‘golden age’ for the form of storytelling which tackled pressing issues of race, identity and gender.

Today’s era has also given rise to a spate of new cult movies challenging perspectives of under-represented groups, following major equality movements including Me Too, Black Lives Matter and the international Pride celebrations.

Professor Xavier Mendik said: “It certainly seems as though we are experiencing a new golden age of cult and horror cinema, where issues of diversity are at the centre of many genre film narratives.

Complimenting these UK film premieres, confirmed guests at the Cine-Excess 15 include actor/director Pollyanna McIntosh, who receives a special Cine-Excess Innovator of Horror award in a live streamed event on Friday 22nd October, 6pm-7pm UK time.

Widely known for her role as Jadis in The Walking Dead (2017 – 2018), McIntosh received critical acclaim for her role in The Woman (2011), Let Us Prey (2014) and her directorial debut: Darlin’ (2019).

British horror director Prano Bailey-Bond, will also be joining an online discussion of her recent feature film Censor (2021) on Thursday 21st October, 7pm-8pm UK time.

Also appearing is Canadian director Brandon Cronenberg (Antiviral [2012], Possessor ([2020]), who will be discussing his work on Saturday 23rd October, 7.30-8.30pm UK time.

Celebrated Canadian horror filmmakers Jennifer and Sylvia Soska (American Mary [2012], Rabid [2019]) also return to the festival as Birmingham City University Honorary Fellows. The Soska Sisters will be tasking MA Film Distribution students to draw up marketing strategies for the upcoming American Mary TV series, with the winning student entry forming the basis of an episode of the planned show. This panel is on Thursday 21st October, 4pm-5pm UK time.

The Soska Sisters participation in the festival comes at a time when the study of film and cinema is increasingly important for those working across the film industry.

It also follows a partnership between Birmingham City University and British Film Institute announced last year which will provide placement and secondment opportunities for film students based within the University’s Department of Games, Film and Animation.

A full schedule of the Cine-Excess Film Festival and Conference can be found here. Tickets for the event are available here.

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