Underwire is the UK’s only film festival celebrating female filmmaking talent across the crafts.

Founded in 2010 with the aim to change the face of the industry from the inside out, the festival has awarded training and mentoring opportunities to a decade of filmmakers and has screened over 800 films. Underwire is now a BAFTA recognised film festival.

The Underwire Awards are given in recognition of the teamwork and skill necessary to produce a film, and aims to acknowledge the artistry and vision required in the key production roles. These awards are open to films with women working in each specific category, and we accept a mix of genres: drama, animation, documentary, music video and artist film.

The festival recognises talent across Directing, Producing, Screenwriting, Editing, Cinematography, Sound Design, Composing, Production Design and Animation, and any short film that has a woman in one of those roles is eligible. With women making up only 21.8% of a typical feature film crew it is clear that these talents must be showcased early, to propel the women filmmakers of the future into their feature film careers.

With a clear objective to improve the statistics in front and behind camera, there are also awards for female crew members Under 25, actors, and for onscreen representation with the XX Award that is open to all films that foreground female characters and stories from filmmakers of any gender.

Now gearing up for its eleventh edition, Underwire is looking forward to welcoming more submissions than ever.

Underwire continues to promote collaboration and nurture new talent throughout the year, bringing its community of female filmmakers together at the Wired Women Weekender. A weekend of panel discussions, expert presentations and practical guidance that look at the craft and business of filmmaking, demystify the skills and provide insight into new opportunities on the horizon.

The Underwire Awards are given in recognition of the teamwork and skill necessary to produce a quality short film, and aims to acknowledge the artistry and vision required in the key production roles in short film.

These awards are open to short films with women working in the specific category, and we accept a mix of genres: drama, animation, documentary, music video and artist film.

• Best Director
• Best Producer
• Best Writer
• Best Editor
• Best Cinematographer
• Best Composer
• Best Sound Designer
• Best Actor
• Best Production Designer
• Best Animator
• Under 25: for outstanding work by a female practitioner aged 15-25
• XX Award: for the best onscreen female protagonist

ELIGIBILITY
• Underwire looks to showcase all kinds of film. We accept drama, animation, documentary, music video and artists' film of all production techniques, forms and budgets.

• Short films directed by men are eligible for submission, so long as there is a female head of department in any of the Awards categories and/or there is a female protagonist onscreen.

• The primary contact completing the submission process must be authorised to submit the film for consideration. This includes permission from a distributor or sales agent representing the film and the applicant must have obtained necessary permissions for the inclusion of any copyrighted music and/or images used within the film. With this submission, the applicant confirms that they possess all rights necessary for the screening of the submitted film at Underwire Festival.

UNDERWIRE AWARDS
• Each Underwire Award category is eligible to female heads of department. For example, a film where all the crew is male but the production designer is female would be eligible for the Production Design Award.

• The nominees for each award category will be determined by the Underwire selection panel.

• The winner for each award category will be determined by the award partner or a judge of their choosing.

• The XX Award is eligible for both male and female directors. The Award is for onscreen representation of women, for films which put interesting female characters at their centre.

• Apart from the XX Award, films are only eligible for the category that they have a female creative for. For example: if your film was directed by a man, but has a female production designer, you can submit and be eligible for that category; if your film has an all-female crew, your film is eligible for all the categories.

SUBMISSION FEES
• There is a submission fee to enter your film. All submissions are final and there are no refunds. Underwire Festival is a non-profit organisation and submission fees help us with festival costs.

MULTIPLE ENTRIES
• You may enter as many films as you wish. Each entry requires a separate submission form, fee and separate upload.

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILMS
If the original language of any dialogue or text featured in the film is not English, the preview and screening copy must be subtitled in English, unless this is at variance with the filmmaker’s intention.

SELECTION PROCESS
• All submitted films are viewed by two or more members of the selection team.

• All programming selections are at the discretion of the Festival Director, whose decision is final.

• All submitted films will be notified of the Underwire Festival’s selection in advance of the festival via email.

• Full delivery instructions will be provided on notification of selection.

FESTIVAL SCREENINGS
• All films at Underwire Festival screen from DCP.

• If selected, there are no fees for participating in the festival. Filmmakers are not entitled to claim rental or other fees for the screenings of their films at the festival.

• Films screened at Underwire Festival may also be included in other public programmes, subject to the submitter’s permission.

PUBLICITY AND MARKETING
• Submitting a film gives us permission to use publicity stills provided and up to 1minute of footage for use in all Underwire Festival marketing and publicity.

SHORT FILMS
All short film entries must be:
• Up to 25 minutes long including credits (25 minutes must be the maximum length of the short)
• Completed since November 2017
• Filmmakers must be British or Irish nationals and/or the film must be a UK or Republic of Ireland production, including student/graduation films.
• Films that do not fall within our criteria will NOT be watched.

Here’s an example of what is eligible:
- If the film is directed by a man and produced by a woman, then the film is eligible in the producing category but will not be considered in the directing category.
- If the film is being entered into a category where the entrant shares a credit with a man, it is not eligible for that category.
- Please let us know who on your crew is female so we can consider everyone that is eligible for an award. You do not have to pay the submission fee for each category, just once for the film.

CONTACT
• If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us at underwire@underwirefestival.com

Overall Rating
Quality
Value
Communication
Hospitality
Networking
  • Helen Reilly

    This is an amazing festival celebrating female filmmakers. My film screened on the opening night in the amazing Regent Street Theatre so it was very special and a great location as everyone went to the bar afterwards. I got invitations to loads of events over the almost two week festival but I could not attend as I am not London based so it was a pity there was not more on during the opening weekend. Other than that it was a fab festival experience.

    December 2019
  • Beautifully curated and honoured to be alongside some amazing films. However for a Bafta recognised film festival more visibility was needed, in particular at the Barbican, to indicate screenings were on and a catalogue to celebrate the film makers involved, which may well be a funding issue and why I think it’s necessary to make this apparent to aid future festivals. Overall good communication and networking opportunities were available and fantastic cinema spaces .

    October 2019
  • Olivia Phipps

    THE best festival. Fantastic selection of films on display - well organised, friendly and fab. Thanks so much Underwire!

    October 2019
  • Lovely festival with great organizers that were welcoming and encouraging. Would recommend for any female filmmakers as a great way to see some cool films and meet some likeminded filmmakers.

    September 2019
  • Joseph Hobbs

    Underwire was our very first film festival- and what a fantastic festival it is to be part of! The standard of films were all incredibly high, the volunteers were incredibly helpful and the festival were ready to answer any questions we had! Definitely submit your film into this wonderful festival!

    September 2019