Filmmaker Kim Longinotto

    • set 3 documentaries

    British documentarian Kim Longinotto (b. 1952) uses her work to stand up for female victims of suppression and discrimination.

    As a 17-year-old, Longinotto ran away from a boarding school for girls. After spending a year on the streets, she was accepted to the National Film and Television School in Beaconsfield. Armed with a camera, she went back to her former school to reveal its bizarre rules in Pride of Place. The school was closed down a year later.

    Longinotto has continued her fight against injustice worldwide. Her style is discreet and direct, with minimal crew and no commentary – no interviews, no voice-over. In this manner, all the attention goes to her heroes, like the taboo-busting Iranian women who file for divorce in the BAFTA winner Divorce Iranian Style. Or the young Kenyans who fight against female circumcision in The Day I Will Never Forget, for which Longinotto won the Amnesty International DOEN Award at IDFA.

    In 2005, Longinotto gave a master class at IDFA and won the Audience Award with Sisters in Law, about family court in Cameroon. Two years later, her film Hold Me Tight, Let Me Go, the story of a school for troubled youth, won the IDFA Special Jury Award. Two awards at Sundance followed: a Grand Jury Award for Rough Aunties in 2009, about a South African women’s organization that combats child rapists, and a Direction Award in 2015 for Dreamcatcher.

    When Longinotto took part in IDFA’s Female Gaze program in 2014, she offered her take on the matter. “It's not just women who have a female gaze: in the early 1930s, men made films starring strong women and with a female point of view. It's hard for men to do that now, because it's not acceptable for men to act female. That's why we need to get rid of those terms ‘male’ and ‘female.’”

    Screened at IDFA (with year of production): Pride of Place (1976, co-dir short); Hidden Faces (1990, co-dir short); The Good Wife of Tokyo (1992, co-dir short); Dream Girls (1993, co-dir short); Shinjuku Boys (1995, co-dir short); Divorce Iranian Style (1998, co-dir); Gaea Girls (2000, co-dir); Runaway (2001, co-dir); The Day I Will Never Forget (2002); Sisters in Law (2005, co-dir); Hold Me Tight, Let Me Go (2007); Rough Aunties (2008); Pink Saris (2010); Love Is All: 100 Years of Love & Courtship (2014).

    Documentaries in this selectie

    Divorce Iranian Style

    • Kim Longinotto, Ziba Mir-Hosseini
    • 1998

    Three Iranian women meet with strong opposition when they want to divorce their husband.


    • Kim Longinotto, Ziba Mir-Hosseini
    • 2001

    Female directors Kim Longinotto and Ziba Mir-Hosseini, who previously collaborated on the memorable documentary DIVORCE IRANIAN STYLE, are back in Teheran. This time they are visiting a centre for girls who have ran away from home. Treating their heroines with a great deal of understanding and respect, the filmmakers enter their troublesome lives. The film crew obviously succeeded in gaining the full trust of the girls, because we see them opening up without being bothered by the presence of the camera. In spite of being raised by their family and society to obey and never talk back, these girls have found the courage to stand up for their freedom. By leaving their homes, they are trying to turn a new page in life. But what are their chances? As an official institution in Iranian society, this Centre also has to play according to the rules. Nevertheless, the charismatic and firm Mrs Shirazi, who runs the place, always finds a way to renegotiate the relationships between the parents and the runaways. Without being voyeuristic, the filmmakers follow certain cases from the moment the girls enter the Centre until the moment they go back home. The story told in between reveals the pain, humiliation and anger of Iranian girls harassed by their nearest and dearest

    Rough Aunties

    • Kim Longinotto
    • 2008

    A gripping documentary about the activities of a group of South African women who offer help to young victims of sexual abuse and work to bring the offenders to justice.