An ambitious film festival, supported by the BFI (British Film Institute), celebrating the hidden histories of women in Liverpool and how they have shaped the city is set to open this weekend.

The Spirit of Liverpool festival pays homage to women like Kitty Wilkinson and Dorothy Kuya, celebrating their stories and showing audiences how they paved the way for the voices that are shaping Liverpool’s present.

Featuring 13 events, taking place across multiple venues in the city, the festival focuses on archive footage and film, but also includes live music, cultural walks and workshops, which will evoke the powerful voices of women, past present and future.

Festival highlights include; the first public event to take place at new social space Kitty’s Laundrette in Anfield, a Sunday stroll and screening of local archives at Granby Winter Garden, The Punk Singer screening with live music from Beija Flo at Metal Liverpool and a rare screening of Britain’s first black female directed movie Welcome II The Terrordome at VideOdyssey, Toxteth TV.

Festival curator Monika Rodriguez said that during research for the events, she discovered that lots of the archive footage being shown is in danger of being lost and the festival is a call to action to protect these stories for future generations.

She said: “We’re celebrating the role women have played in transforming society by using archive, music, workshops and film.

“We want to pay tribute to all the women in this great city, because there are so many stories that have been buried in the sands of time and without them, Liverpool would not be the amazing place it is today.

“The Spirit Of Liverpool is a call to action, not only to recognise these histories, but for a real change in how gender is represented in cinema and how these stories are told.

“We especially want to reach out to the younger generations, who will be the torch bearers of the future, when it comes to telling the story of today.

“We want to show that Liverpool is a special place, because these stories exist and they must stay alive in our collective memory.

“During our research for the festival, we discovered that many archives are not easily accessible and these histories are in danger of being buried away.

“Liverpool has a rich history of social activism and a great flare for community work. We owe women like Mary Seacole, Kitty Wilkinson or Dorothy Kuya a debt of gratitude and should remember them by telling their stories and commemorating how they paved the way for the voices that are shaping Liverpool’s present.

“The events are designed to leave audiences with a sense of discovery and a curiosity to find out more.”

The Spirit of Liverpool opens this Saturday with Orlando (starring Tilda Swinton) plus introduction and short film Ella at the Unity Theatre and The Seeds of Liverpool: a day of poetry from Amina Atiq and planting seeds in the garden at Toxteth TV, Windsor Street, L8 1XE

Festival Highlights include:

* Orlando (PG) plus introduction and short film Ella – Unity Theatre – May 11th, 7pm
* Granby Stories – Sunday stroll and screening of local archives – Granby Winter Garden, May 12th, 12pm
* Venus Collective presents The Punk Singer (15) with performance by Beija Flo – METAL Liverpool, May 12th, 6pm
* Liverpool Women United; a night of archive films, images and words – Kitty’s Laundrette, May 13th, 7pm
* The Watermelon Woman (15) plus discussion with ROOT-ed zine – VideOdyssey, Toxteth TV, May 16th, 7pm
* Light Night – home movie rituals – VideOdyssey video shop, Toxteth TV, May 17th, 7pm

Find the full schedule at

Festival trailer: