FFS is committed to fair treatment and transparency in its programming. As festivals eke revenue from submitting filmmakers, we think it’s only fair that we disclose how we program and why.

:: ETHOS ::

FFS want to present a globalised vision of the complex identities and experiences of female and female identifying creatives. We have no preference for what’s on screen but we do have a minimum quota for who made what ends up on screen. We prioritise the films that have been submitted to us first and then we work with distributors and filmmakers to present a catch up on what’s been happening abroad in female film.


FFS works closely with academic findings and literature to understand what parity looks like on film sets. We found that the regular ‘three tick test’ (that is three of the following four roles of writer, producer, director and lead protagonist) excludes a key role that often can tip the balance in favour of ethical best practice - cinematographer.

We add that role into our minimum requirement meaning films that have three of the following five roles - writer, producer, director, cinematographer and lead protagonist, filled by female or female identifying creators are eligible for inclusion. Parity is not about women working exclusively with women (we do that already, not by choice but by necessity) but more so about creating balanced teams of creators all committed to creating great onscreen stories.


Last year FFS had a total of 336 submissions across all its programming streams (features, shorts, online) and from that we programmed 28 works and sourced a further 20 works direct from distributors or filmmakers. That means that if you submitted to FFS you have roughly an 8% chance of being programmed, or a one in twelve chance of getting screened. Other Festivals are yet to get on the transparency bandwagon but rest assured, they are gonna have to. Oh, and just for comparison sake, if you’re a female filmmaker and submitted to Sundance as a relative unknown you would have roughly one in five hundred chance of being selected. We’re not saying don’t submit but do remember that the festival circuit, like all parts of the film industry, is influenced by unconscious and unfortunately conscious bias, and often it’s the fees of the smallest fish that end up paying for the big parties.