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Celebrate International Women’s Day with a portrait of the women behind major new film Suffragette

06 March 2015

To celebrate International Women’s Day on Sunday 8th March 2015, Pathé is proud to release this portrait of the women behind SUFFRAGETTE – the first feature film to tell the story of the ordinary British women at the turn of the last century who risked everything in the fight for equality and the right to vote.

Depicted in the photograph are the stars of the film Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne-Marie Duff and Meryl Streep; the director, Sarah Gavron; the screenwriter, Abi Morgan; and the producers, Faye Ward and Alison Owen.  They are joined by Helen and Laura Pankhurst, great-grand-daughter and great-great-granddaughter of Emmeline Pankhurst, leader of the Suffragette movement.  The photograph was taken by Brigitte Lacombe in London on 12th February 2015.

The theme for International Women’s Day 2015 is ‘Make it Happen’ - the filmmakers depicted in the photograph did just that.  According to the BFI (British Film Institute), in the 7 years from 2007 to 2013, the average percentage of British films released each year that were directed by women was 12%; and for films written by women the percentage was little better at 14.8%.  Perhaps the small number of female voices in the industry is why no feature film has ever been made about the women who 100 years ago fought for the right to vote.  Their strategy of passive resistance inspired political leaders from Gandhi to Martin Luther King.  It is a story that should not be forgotten.



Meryl Streep, who plays Emmeline Pankhurst in SUFFRAGETTE, commented: "Every daughter should know this history, every son write it on his own heart"

Sarah Gavron, director of SUFFRAGETTE, stated:  “International Women’s Day celebrates the achievements of women throughout the world and I am overjoyed that my film can be part of that celebration.  The story of the ordinary British women who were willing to sacrifice everything in their fight for the right to vote is an inspiration to all of us in our ongoing fight for equality.”

Helen Pankhurst is a Special Advisor on Gender Equality for Care International.  On International Women’s Day, a number of the filmmakers will be joining Helen and Laura Pankhurst for the CARE International “Walk In Her Shoes” event – a public walk to show solidarity with women and girls worldwide who still endure inequality and injustice. The public are invited to join the start of the walk at The Scoop outside London’s City Hall at 10am on 8th March 2015.

Suffragette Film Page

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SUFFRAGETTE is an intense drama that tracks the story of the foot soldiers of the early feminist movement, women who were forced underground to pursue a dangerous game of cat and mouse with an increasingly brutal State as they fought for the right to vote. These women were not primarily from the genteel educated classes, they were working women who had seen peaceful protest achieve nothing.  Radicalised and turning to violence as the only route to change, they were willing to lose everything in their fight for equality - their jobs, their homes, their children and their lives.  MAUD was one such foot soldier.  The story of her fight for dignity is heart-breaking and inspirational and as gripping as any thriller.

SUFFRAGETTE stars Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham-Carter, Brendan Gleeson, Anne-Marie Duff, Ben Whishaw and Meryl Streep. The film is directed by Sarah Gavron (Brick Lane), written by Abi Morgan (Brick Lane, Shame, The Iron Lady), and produced by Ruby Film’s Faye Ward and Alison Owen (Brick Lane, Jane Eyre, Saving Mr Banks). 

The film is produced by Ruby Film for Pathé, Film4 and the BFI in association with Redgill Productions and with the participation of Canal+ and Cine-Cinema.    Executive Producers are Pathé’s Cameron McCracken and Film4’s previous head Tessa Ross.  Christopher Collins was the lead executive for the BFI.


All around the world, International Women's Day represents an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women while calling for greater equality.

Each year International Women's Day (IWD) is celebrated on March 8. The first International Women's Day was held in 1911. Thousands of events occur to mark the economic, political and social achievements of women. Organisations, governments, charities, educational institutions, women's groups, corporations and the media celebrate the day.

“Make It Happen” is the 2015 theme for encouraging effective action for advancing and recognising women.

Various organisations identify their own International Women's Day theme, specific to their local context and interests. Many charities, NGOs and Governments also adopt a relevant theme or campaign to mark the day.  For example, organisations like the UN, Oxfam, Women for Women, Care International, Plan and World Association of Girl Guides & Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) run exciting and powerful campaigns that raise awareness and encourage donations for good causes.

Walk In Her Shoes is the annual campaign by the leading aid and development charity CARE International. It encourages people in the UK to walk 10,000 steps a day for a week in March, in solidarity with women and girls in the developing world who must walk many miles every day to collect water for their families.  These gruelling and sometimes dangerous walks affect women and girls in innumerable ways, including leaving little time for earning vital income or going to school. Funds raised by participants will support CARE’s work in providing water facilities closer to homes, and working with women and girls, their communities and government for lasting social and economic change. The 2015 campaign will launch on International Women’s day, Sunday 8th of March, with a London-based walk open to all, led by Helen Pankhurst and her daughter Laura. The walk honours the suffragette campaign led by the Pankhurst family over a century ago, and brings together current day activists involved in UK and international work to finish what the suffragettes started: achieving equality.

Pathé operates as a fully integrated studio and has a presence in France, the UK, the Netherlands and Switzerland.  It is involved in all aspects of filmmaking, from development and production through to international sales, distribution and exhibition.

Films produced/distributed by Pathé range from THE QUEEN to SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE and from THE DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY to THE IRON LADY and PHILOMENA.   Most recently Pathe has produced/distributed Matthew Warchus’ PRIDE and Ava DuVernay’s SELMA.

In recent years Pathé’s productions have won 15 BAFTAs (61 nominations) and 12 Oscars (44 nominations).  

Pathé International handles the international marketing and sales of Pathé’s own productions and also acquires third party films for worldwide representation.  As one of Europe’s leading sales agents, Pathé International has a significant presence at all major film markets and festivals.

Twitter @patheuk

is Channel 4 Television’s feature film division. Film4 develops and co-finances films and is known for working with the most distinctive and innovative talent in the UK, whether new or established. 

Film4 has developed and co-financed many of the most successful UK films of recent years, Academy Award-winners such as Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave, Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire, Martin McDonagh’s In Bruges and Phyllida Lloyd’s The Iron Lady in addition to critically-acclaimed award-winners such as Mike Leigh’s Another Year, Chris Morris’ Four Lions, Shane Meadows’ This is England, Ben Wheatley’s Sightseers, Clio Barnard’s The Selfish Giant, Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin and David Mackenzie’s Starred Up.

Film4’s recent releases include Mike Leigh’s Mr. Turner, Lone Sherfig’s The Riot Club, Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard’s 20,000 Days on Earth, Yann Demange’s ’71 and Alex Garland’s Ex Machina. Forthcoming releases include Peter Strickland’s The Duke of Burgundy, Sarah Gavron’s Suffragette, Paolo Sorrentino’s Youth, Andrew Haigh’s 45 Years, Louise Osmond’s Dark Horse, Todd Haynes’ Carol, Daniel Wolfe’s Catch Me Daddy, Justin Kurzel’s Macbeth, Debbie Tucker Green’s Second Coming and Ben Wheatley’s High-Rise.

With over £26m to invest a year, the BFI is the UK's largest public investor in film - supporting first-class film-making through development and production, to distribution and international sales.

Recent releases backed by the BFI Film Fund include Mike Leigh’s critical and box office hit, Mr. Turner; Matthew Warchus’s Pride; Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin; Yann Demange’s ’71; Randall Wright’s Hockney; Lone Scherfig’s The Riot Club; Amma Asante’s Belle; Stephen Frears’ Philomena; John Michael McDonagh’s Calvary; Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard’s 20,000 Days on Earth; and André Singer’s Night Will Fall.

New films supported by the BFI Film Fund include Andrew Haigh’s 45 Years which premiered in competition at the 2015 Berlin Film Festival and picked up two silver bears; John Maclean’s Slow West, Louise Osmond’s Dark Horse and Jerry Rothwell’s How to Change the World which all premiered at Sundance; Rufus Norris’ London Road; Sarah Gavron’s Suffragette; Peter Strickland’s The Duke Of Burgundy; Carol Morley’s The Falling; Guy Myhill’s The Goob;  Duane Hopkins’ Bypass;  Daniel Wolfe’s Catch Me Daddy; Debbie Tucker-Green’s Second Coming; Gerard Johnson’s Hyena; John Crowley’s Brooklyn; Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Lobster; Terence Davies’ Sunset Song; Richard Bracewell’s Bill; Brian Hill’s Thomas Quick; Jon Wright’s Robot Overlords; Morgan Matthews’ X+Y;  Ben Wheatley’s High-Rise; Omer Fast’s Remainder; Esther May Campbell’s Light Years; and David Farr’s The Ones Below.

The BFI is the lead organisation for film in the UK with the ambition to create a flourishing film environment in which innovation, opportunity and creativity can thrive by:

• Connecting audiences to the widest choice of British and World cinema

• Preserving and restoring the most significant film collection in the world for

•  Today and future generations

• Investing in creative, distinctive and entertaining work

• Promoting British film and talent to the world

• Growing the next generation of film makers and audiences

Ruby Film & Television, headed by Academy® nominated Alison Owen and Faye Ward, is one of the UK’s leading independent production companies. Producing award winning and critically acclaimed films and television for over a decade, Ruby has maintained a reputation for producing high quality original work. Alison Owen has recently formed a new production outfit, Monumental Pictures, currently developing a slate of films and television of the same range and high standard.

Ruby’s latest feature, Saving Mr Banks for Walt Disney Pictures, directed by John Lee Hancock (Blindside) and written by Kelly Marcel, stars Tom Hanks as Walt Disney and Emma Thompson as author P.L.Travers. The film tells the emotional and heartfelt journey behind the Making of Disney’s beloved classic Mary Poppins. Also being released this year is Tulip Fever, the long awaited film of Deborah Moggach's best-selling novel, starring Alicia Vikander, Jack O'Connell, Christoph Waltz and Dame Judi Dench.

Most recent films include: Moira Buffini’s screen adaptation of Charlotte Brönte’s classic Jane Eyre directed by Cary Fukunaga (True Detective, Sin Nombre) starring Mia Wasikowska, Michael Fassbender and Judi Dench, Stephen Frears’ Tamara Drewe (Official Selection Cannes Film Festival 2010 - Out of Competition) adapted by Moira Buffini from Posy Simmonds’ graphic novel. Other features include The Other Boleyn Girl starring Natalie Portman, Scarlett Johansson and Eric Bana, Toast Starring by Helena Bonham Carter, Five Minutes Of Heaven starring Liam Neeson and James Nesbit And Brick Lane directed by Sarah Gavron and written by Abi Morgan.

Recent Television credits include: Stephen Poliakoff’s Dancing On the Edge, a thrilling drama that follows the trials of a black Jazz Band in 1930s London, starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Matthew Goode, John Goodman and for which Jacqueline Bisset won the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress, Case Histories starring Jason Isaacs; Temple Grandin for HBO with lead Claire Danes, which went on to win a Golden Globe And 7 Emmy® awards; and BAFTA nominated Small Island written by Paula Milne which went on to win an International Emmy® for Best TV Movie/Mini?Series.