A quick Q&A Suffragette director Sarah Gavron

2016-01-19 07:00

Cape Town – The Suffragette movement is a tale that everyone knows about but the story has never been told on the big screen.

Director Sarah Gavron was moved to tell the story of the women's movement who fought for the female right to vote at large personal cost and sacrifice.

During a telephone interview we spoke to the award winning director about her latest film.

The Suffragette story has never been told before. Why do you think that now is the right time for the story to be told?

It is amazing that the story has never been told. It is a vital piece of our history and it truly echoes issues still relevant in the 21st century like inequality in pay, domestic violence against women, sexual abuse and police brutality. These are all still relevant today. 

What attracted you to this project?

The passion to tell this story, we are still in debt to these women for the role they played in history and their fight against equality. 

What surprised you most about the Suffragette story?

The lengths to which these women went - they protested for 14 years some were imprisoned, which came at a great cost to their health, they lost their jobs, their homes, their families. Their cause came at a great personal cost to many of them. Another thing that surprised me was the level of brutality the police and government went to quieting these women, they were force fed, and beaten. 

Feminism has taken the spotlight, why do you think it has become so prevalent again?

This resurgence of feminism is really interesting actually. In the UK although it’s a totalitarian society there are still some many inequalities. I also think the digital age has allowed many voices to be heard. 

I read that it took 6 years to make this movie, what were some of the challenges you faced?

Many challenges! From the story perspective we had to get to the heart of the story, screenwriter Abi did a good job at focusing on an individual working woman to be the heart.

From a filmmaking perspective their slogan was ‘deeds not words’ it was quite difficult to recreate 1912 England: the shop windows thrown in, the bomb at the Lord’s house and the Darby. We had to use up to 3-4 cameras to film and we were on a tight schedule and strict budget. 

What was it like working with stars like Carey Mulligan, Meryl Streep and Helena Bonham Carter?

We have a brilliant cast and it’s the first time that so many of them have worked together. They were all really committed to the movie and gave their all. There was a wonderful sense of camaraderie. I really enjoyed working with them. 

What do you want people to think about when they are leaving the theatre?

I want people to be reminded and inspired by the fight these women fought, we owe them a lot and there is still a lot to be done, not just in terms of gender equality but all inequality.

Watch the trailer here:

The film can be seen in cinemas nationwide.

(Photos: Getty Images)

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