A brief history of the F-Rating 

 

The F-Rating is a film rating which is awarded to films directed by and/or written by women. If the film also stars significant women in their own right, the film is Triple F-Rated, our gold standard.

The aim of the rating is to highlight films where the main person telling the story is a woman; to encourage film exhibitors to F-Rate their programme; to help film goers easily find films directed and written by women and ultimately to change the stories we see on screen – and therefore influence our culture making it more equal.

Born in 2014 at Bath Film Festival (now FilmBath), initially we thought of simply rating our festival films if they passed The Bechdel Test – as Ellen Tejle, the director of Bio Rio, an art-house cinema in Stockholm’s trendy Södermalm district had in 2013.

But, The Bechdel Test (does the film have 2 women in it, who have a conversation with each other, about something other than a man) is of course not a test but a cartoon from 1985 by Alison Bechdel, and these three questions miss an awful lot and significantly they tell us nothing about the storyteller – arguably the most influential person in the production.

Following on from the Hollywood Report which in 2013 showed that fewer than 5% of the top 200 films were directed by women we wanted to ignite discussion about who is telling the stories we see on screen as well as looking into the roles of women on screen.

And so the F-Rating was born.

Hoping for some coverage of the F-rating and anticipating a call from the Bath Chronicle, we were suddenly swamped by the world’s media.

Expecting personal death and rape threats (the usual social media reaction to the word ‘feminist’) we were completely overwhelmed by the positivity and support the strand received: no one seemed to have a bad word to say.

The nature of the F-Rating is inherently positive – to highlight and draw attention to all of the amazing women in film.

The year after our launch, in 2015 we invited all of the film festivals and cinemas in the UK to F-Rate their programme. There are now over 60 organisations who use the F-Rating to highlight women’s work in their programme.

In 2016 the founder of the rating, Holly Tarquini was invited to deliver a TEDx talk.

In 2017 the biggest film website in the world – IMDb – added the keyword, F-Rated to over 22,000 titles – and the world’s press went mad again!

Here is the F-Rating online, plus Facebook Page and a Twitter feed. 

If you are an exhibitor, distributor or producer then you can join the F-Rating for free by emailing hello@filmbath.org.uk