Rebel Dykes

Directed by Harri Shanahan, Siân A. Williams

UK | 2021 | 92 minutes | Color | DVD | English |

REBEL DYKES is a riotous documentary about the explosion that happened when punk met feminism, told through the lives of a gang of lesbians in post-punk, 1980s London.

SYNOPSIS

A rabble-rousing documentary set in 1980s post-punk London, REBEL DYKES reveals the explosion that happened when punk met feminism. The film follows a tight-knit group of friends who met at Greenham Common peace camp and went on to become artists, performers, musicians, and activists in London. A heady mash-up of animation, archive footage and interviews tells the story of a radical scene: squatters, BDSM nightclubs, anti-Thatcher rallies, protests demanding action around AIDS and the fierce ties of chosen families. This is an extraordinarily privileged glimpse into a bygone world by those who not only lived out their politics with heartfelt conviction but lived to tell the tale.

PRESS

“This boisterous oral history of a little-known underground London lesbian scene which spawned from a collision between punk and feminism is a blast.”

SCREENDAILY

“A rousing documentation of anarchic lesbian power set against the backdrop of Eighties England."

EVENING STANDARD

“A hugely entertaining and unique documentary.”

THE FILM MAGAZINE

"Delightfully sex-positive, richly detailed, and lovingly-crafted."

THE QUEER REVIEW

SCREENING HIGHLIGHTS AND AWARDS

  • Feature Film Winner, Iris Prize
  • Best Documentary, MiX 35 Film Festival
  • Special Jury Mention, Best Documentary Feature, Kashish Mumbai International Queer Film Festival
  • Best Documentary, Porn Film Festival, Berlin
  • Best Documentary, GAZE
  • Best Documentary, Some Prefer Cake Film Festival
  • Nominated: Best Feature Film at the Scottish BAFTA Awards
  • BFI Flare London LGBTQ+ Film Festival
  • Frameline Film Festival
  • NewFest - The New York LGBT Film Festival
  • Outfest - Los Angeles Lesbian and Gay Film Festival
  • Revelation Perth International Film Festival
  • Roze Filmdagen: Amsterdam LGBTQ+ Film Festival
  • Edinburgh International Film Festival

ABOUT FILMMAKER(S)

Harri Shanahan

Co-Director, Editor & Animator) : (they/Them) "I’m an artist, filmmaker and animator from Manchester. I studied filmmaking at university but before Rebel Dykes, I mostly made post punk/experimental music videos and artist moving images. I began teaching myself to animate because of the narrative needs of Rebel Dykes and fell in love with the art form. In 2019 I gained a Masters degree in animation and now create animation for the education sector. I wanted to tell the story of the Rebel Dykes because I felt a kinship with their punk rebelliousness and their DIY approach to art and culture (having fronted my own feminist queer post-punk group ILL for some years). It has been an amazing experience to meet these amazing, trailblazing, kickass people and to have the opportunity to be part of telling their story." (12/22)

Siân A. Williams

SIÂN A. WILLIAMS (Co-Director, Editor & Colourist): "I’m a filmmaker and professional archivist based in Manchester, UK. For this project we used creative recreation sequences, animation and unseen personal archive to to bring the ephemeral queer histories of 1980s dyke subcultures to life. I trained in photography and artist moving image at University of Wales and have also gained masters in critical theory and digital heritage, informing both my practice and archives career. I have over a decade of experience working in audio visual preservation and archive post-production, working at the BFI National Archive and Archives+ Manchester.I wanted to make the film because I’ve always felt a connection to the ethos of the rebel dykes. Their art and music was a formative influence when I was playing in DIY post-punk bands, and I was especially excited by the Rebel Dyke photographers that play with gender and identity and documented queer communities, all of which inspired my own visual art practice at the time. I devoured books like Del LaGrace Volcano’s ‘Love Bites’, ‘Nothing But the Girl: the Blatant Lesbian Image’ by Susie Bright and Jill Posener, and Tessa Boffin’s ‘Stolen Glances: Lesbians Take Photographs’. Sex, desire and politics are all really important in the film, and especially the creative worlds and family that they build around them." (1/22)

Credits: 

Directors: Harri Shanahan, Siân A. Williams 

Producer: Siobhan Fahey  

Camera: Harri Shanahan, Siân A. Williams 

Editors: Harri Shanahan and Siân A Williams 

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