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Red Flannel Films

Film Collective

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Disgruntled by their marginalisation and encouraged by the work of other women filmmakers outside Wales, a group of women working at Chapter Arts Centre in Cardiff formed their own group in November 1981 called the South Wales Women's Film Group - the first women's film organisation in Wales. The Group formed with the intention of sharing skills, supporting ideas and enabling women to play a more active part in filmmaking.

Following the miner's strike in 1985 - when many women were given a taste of political activity - Clare Richardson, Claire Pollak, Carol White, Michele Ryan, Penny Stempel and Frances Bowyer, joined by Caroline Stone from Open Eye Workshop in Liverpool, Eileen Smith from Chapter Video Workshop, and Pearl Berry, a miner's wife, went on to form Red Flannel Films as a Channel Four workshop in 1986.

They were granted a year's development funding, followed by a four-year contract, which covered salaries and overheads. The group established community activities, film clubs and training for women in video and computer skills. The members worked with women in the Penrhys and Rhydfelin estate, documenting their lives in an attempt to promote a more positive image than had previously been displayed in the media. Their combined practice of working locally and producing broadcast material was supported by South East Wales Arts and the Equal Opportunities Commission.

Films such as Mam (1988) and Special Delivery (1991) uncovered the domestic and public histories of Welsh women, investigating their roles and status in the family, the labour market, reproduction, women's organisations and political parties.

At the end of the Channel 4 contract, Clare Richardson, Carol White and Caroline Stone moved the company to Cardiff and went on to produce four documentaries for BBC Wales.

Emma Hedditch

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From the BFI's filmographic database

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Selected credits

Thumbnail image of Mam (1988)Mam (1988)

Documentary examining the archetype of the Welsh 'mam'

Thumbnail image of Special Delivery (1991)Special Delivery (1991)

Feminist critique of medical approaches to childbirth

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Thumbnail image of Women's Film and Video CollectivesWomen's Film and Video Collectives

Feminist filmmakers get organised

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