What The Femme!

A class series unpacking the empowering and problematic depictions of women in horror, sci-fi, and fantasy cinema.

March 2 - April 27, 2019

Welcome to What The Femme!; a SIFF Education series exploring female character archetypes in cinema through analyzing the roles of women in horror, science fiction, and fantasy films. Each session will explore one female character archetype through three primary films, though more will be referenced. This education extension of SIFF's WTF Festival programming is curated by Colleen O'Holleran.


Saturday, March 2, 2019

SIFF Film Center

Mothers in Horror 1:00 PM

Saturday, March 30, 2019

SIFF Film Center

Warrior Women in Fantasy & Science Fiction 1:00 PM

Saturday, April 27, 2019

SIFF Film Center

Female Cyberbodies in Science Fiction 1:00 PM

Class Specifics:
$20 | $15 SIFF Members - Individual Class
$51 | $39 SIFF Members - Three Class Set
Get Your Three Class Pass

Each WTFemme session will explore through lecture and conversation: How does the male gaze influence the dimensionality of the character? How have these character archetypes evolved or changed over time based on societal politics and norms? What are thematic similarities or differences in plots with a particular archetype? Prepare to analyze female characters in your favorite films while expanding your list of movies to watch as you discuss both the problematic and empowering depictions of women in genre cinema.   


Mothers in Horror
March 2, 2019 | 1:00PM- 4:00PM | SIFF Film Center
Mothers in horror films have been portrayed in a range of ways: strong and protective; cloying and possessive; weak and paranoid; and insane and murderous. Programmer Colleen O'Holleran will present on some notable examples of mothers portrayed in horror including Rosemary Woodhouse in Rosemary's Baby, Margaret White in Carrie, and Amelia in The Babadook. We'll consider how some many depictions of mothers in horror cinema fall into common tropes, how other depictions defy convention, and how all arguably play on our deepest fears.
Recommended Pre-viewing: Rosemary's Baby (1968); Carrie (1976); The Babadook (2014)

Warrior Women in Fantasy and Science Fiction
Saturday, March 30 | 1:00PM - 4:00pm | SIFF Film Center
While fantasy and science fiction films predominately portray males in the role of the strong fighter character, there have been notable examples of warrior women in genre cinema. This class, led by programmer Colleen O'Holleran, will look at warrior women in fantasy and science fiction with a particular focus on the female badasses in Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. and Serenity.
Recommended Pre-viewing: Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome (1985), Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000), Serenity (2005)

Female Cyberbodies in Science Fiction
Saturday, April 27, 2019 | 1:00PM - 4:00PM | SIFF Film Center
Female androids have been present in cinema since since the early days of film. Since Fritz Lang's Metropolis (1927), female cyberbodies have highlighted gender norms of the times. In this session, programmer Colleen O'Holleran will lead a discussion on the depiction of robotic women in science fiction with a focused analysis of The Fifth Element , both versions of The Stepford Wives, and Alex Garland's Ex Machina.
Recommended Pre-viewing: The Fifth Element (1997)The Stepford Wives (1975 and 2004), Ex Machina (2014)

About the Instructor:
With over 10 years' experience supporting the arts as a board member and consultant, Colleen O'Holleran pairs her industry background in genre cinema with the passion of a die-hard fan. Colleen is a program manager for Landesa where she leads capacity development and network-building projects related to women's land rights. She has worked in Africa, Asia, and the Americas as an instructor and facilitator. As a programmer for SIFF's WTF lineup, Colleen is committed to curating the very best films from around the world for audiences to enjoy.