Underwire Film Festival XX Award: Free Period

We teamed up with Underwire Film Festival to support their XX Award

30 November 2017
BFI NETWORK are very proud to support Underwire Film Festival’s XX Award, awarded for the best female representation. From a brilliant shortlist, we are delighted to announce that this year’s winner is Free Period, written and directed by Alison Piper and produced by Anna Fraga McLucas. 
When schoolgirl Leanne (Jasmin Riggins) menstruates in full view of her class, she overcomes humiliation with a shocking act of rebellion - against a bully, a teacher, and against the stigma that acts as a barrier to her needs.
A faulty tampon machine in Leanne’s school bathroom forces her to improvise with more ‘DIY’ sanitary care. When this fails and her period interrupts an English presentation, Leanne is taunted by a bully and let down by her friends and her teacher. Pushed to the limit, Leanne acts out in a bold and controversial series of actions.
a girl holding tissue looking angry in front a boy at a desk with a teacher sat behind her
“I wanted to make a film about periods as a way to question menstrual taboos and to highlight the tangible effects these taboos have, particularly on young women,” says Piper. “Menstrual blood is very rarely seen on screen and I wanted to depict very simply, the ritual that young women go through when they don’t have access to menstrual products.” But rather than suffering in silence, Leanne calls out the inequalities she sees in the world around her, refusing to be embarrassed by her peers or shamed by her teachers, and challenging the status quo in the microcosm of her school. 
a girls face on a monitor
Free Period is a very deserving winner of the XX Award: a refreshing portrait of a younger generation challenging supposedly taboo subjects and taking hold of their agency with both hands. And this is just the start of things to come. “I hope to continue making films that are politically motivated,” says Piper, “and which encourage young people to stand up for what they believe in.” We can’t wait!
You can watch Free Period below now!