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In conversation with Anna Smith

As our Celebrating Women in Global Cinema programme continues so do our interviews with inspiring women from the film industry.

We caught up with film critic and broadcaster Anna Smith ahead of her next Girls on Film live podcast recording here at HOME. Anna hosts Q&As with film stars in cinemas all over the UK and is also chair of the London Film Critics’ Circle and a regular critic for BBC News, Sky News, BBC Radio, Metro, The Guardian, Sight & Sound and more. Before specialising in film, Anna was the launch editor of Wax, making her the first woman ever to edit a dance music magazine in the UK. She has dedicated herself to film criticism since 2000.

Q: Tell us about why you started Girls on Film?

A: For decades, I’ve been dreaming
of a show featuring women talking to women about lm – now the world nally seems ready! There’s been an increasing amount of press about the fact that the majority of critics are men. Many of these men are terri c critics, but the gender imbalance doesn’t seem helpful to women and girls trying to decide what to watch – nor does it necessarily serve the female lmmakers struggling to be seen. As Chair of The London Film Critics’ Circle, I’m lucky enough to know lots of amazing female critics – and I’m also lucky to have the support of a talented, passionate female team for Girls On Film – Executive Producer Hedda Archbold and audio producer Jane Long. It’s exciting working with such a dedicated team in these changing times. And I’m delighted that we have fabulous listeners of both sexes.

Q: What are some of your favourite lms directed by women?

A: Fish Tank by Andrea Arnold, We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lynne Ramsay, The Falling by Carol Morley, The Piano by Jane Campion, Leave No Trace by Debra Granik.
Q: And your top Bechdel Test passes?

A: O the top of my head, 9 to 5 is
a real winner – women learn to collaborate, share their problems and their pleasures and learn not to judge each other. And it’s hilarious! I also really love the conversations in Secrets & Lies between Brenda Blethyn’s character and both her daughters – painful, bittersweet, beautifully-judged.

Q: What can Manchester audiences expect from Girls on Film Live?

A: Excellent new lm recommendations, thought-provoking angles on classic movies, entertaining feminist rants, audience question time and lots of laughter.
Q: When you’re not at work, where are you most likely to be found?

A: As a happy freelancer I’m often at work; thinking about movies if I’m not watching them. But I do love
a long walk to a nice pub on a sunny day. Oh, and music festivals, karaoke, fancy dress parties, or a combination of all three. There you go, I do have a life.

Our next Girls on Film podcast event is on Tue 11 Jun. Find out more and book tickets here.

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