Europe! Voices of Women in Film

Traversing the continent from Ireland to Denmark and Portugal to Macedonia, the program highlights 10 stellar new features from vital European talents leading the charge for change.

Cinema has always brought a variety of stories and subject matter to the silver screen, but when it comes to representing a range of different voices, gender diversity still takes a back seat.

That’s not just a historical observation. Sadly, it’s also a reflection of the current status quo. In 2016, only 7% of the 250 top-grossing films were directed by women — a decrease from 9% in 2015.

The industry-wide underrepresentation of female filmmakers is a disparity that can’t be ignored. Indeed, shining a spotlight on the women attempting to redress the imbalance is what this showcase is all about, and why Screen International is honoured to join forces with European Film Promotion and the Sydney Film Festival.

Sarah Ward, Film Critic, Screen International 

For additional information on the featured films and filmmakers, scroll below or visit

Sydney Film Festival welcomes the following film artists to the 2017 Festival: Rachel Braunschweig, Rusudan Glurjidze, Hope Dickson Leach, Teona Strugar Mitevska, Neasa Ní Chianáin, David Rane, Shahrbanoo Sadat.

Supported by 

European Film Promotion logo

Media Partner 

 Screen International logo


A lyrical introduction to the traditional world of Japan’s free-diving fisherwomen. A multiple award-winning documentary from Portuguese director Cláudia Varejão.

Axolotl Overkill

A wild ride though the hedonistic Berlin party scene, based on director Helene Hegemann’s controversial novel written at 17. Winner of the Sundance cinematography award.

The Divine Order

Women of a small Swiss village band together to campaign for the women's right to vote, ahead of the crucial 1971 ballot, in this rousing, inspirational film.

House of Others

Winner of the East of the West Grand Prix at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival, this is a visually stunning drama about two families struggling to adjust in a post-war world.

The Levelling

Ellie Kendrick (Game of Thrones' Meera Reed) stars in this emotional drama set on a Somerset dairy farm beset with troubles.

Mister Universo

Humorous Italian docu-fiction set in the world of the circus, in which a young lion tamer sets out to retrieve a lucky charm from a former Mister Universe.

Sami Blood

The moving story of a reindeer-herding Sámi girl who severs ties with her family and her culture. An award-winner and hit at the Toronto, Sundance and Venice Film Festivals.

School Life

A spirited documentary featuring two soon-to-retire teachers at an Irish boarding school who view their charges with equal parts eccentricity and care.

When The Day Had No Name

A night out for a group of teenaged boys is the starting point for this devastating look at ethnic tensions and the effect of the cycle of violence on young Balkan men.

Wolf and Sheep

This debut feature by a groundbreaking Afghan woman director, a Cannes Director's Fortnight-winner, is an extraordinarily daring and rare view of Afghan rural life and mythology.

Vivid Ideas & SFF Present: In conversation with European Women Filmmakers

Directors in our Europe! Voices of Women in Film program speak about the gender gap. Moderated by Screen International’s Sarah Ward.