This week Gangster Girls will be screening at the Era New Horizons International Filmfestival in Wroclaw, Poland.
thursday, 30th of July 1 p.m.
saturday, 1th of august 11 p.m.
- the first manifestation of an ongoing project about women in prison, criminal justice, politics and campaigning for penal reform
Exhibition at +44 141 Gallery, Studio Warehouse*, Glasgow, 6 - 14 June 09
The exhibition features the Human Sculpture made up of women’s clothes, donated by friends from around the world, other art works by Eva Merz, an archive of books, reports and statistics and a variety of films, including newly released Gangster Girls, a documentary from a women’s prison in Austria.
Preview night: Friday 5 June, 6 - 9 pm + Party with music by Q-Burns Abstract Message from Orlando, Florida
Public Debate: Thursday 11 June, 6 - 8 pm How to reduce the numbers of women in prison? with speakers: Baroness Vivien Stern, a life-long penal reformer, Henry McLeish, former First Minister and chair of independent commission on a report about Scotland’s prisons and Ian Gunn, former Governor of Cornton Vale, Scotland’s only women’s prison.
“What started off as a small making-of feature about a theatre project has become a major film containing a great deal of what the cinema does best: depicting crimes, everyday life and major emotions. Using art to make reality more penetrating, as if it were no art at all.”
(Veronika Franz, Kurier)
“Women under the influence: Tina Leisch’s excellent prison documentary. […] In her cinematic debut theatre director Tina Leisch has made a surprisingly compact, multi-faceted milieu study which succeeds to a considerable extent in breaking away from its own shackles: “Gangster Girls”, which arose from one of Leisch’s theatre projects, presents accounts and personal stories of women behind bars without any patronising commentary. The film-maker does not dramatise or sanitise the material, relying entirely on the fascinating protagonists - who conceal their identity behind their garish theatre make-up.
(Stefan Grissemann, Profil)
“In the case of Gangster Girls the escape into the external stylisation of prototypical beauty is not something desired by the mass of these women but the final consequence of overcoming their own individual lives – which is accorded to every person as a matter of course but not permitted to these women.” (Elfriede Jelinek)
GANGSTER GIRLS is a film which makes its grandiose ‘characters’ readable as what cinema characters always are: something with a double, multiple brilliance. On the one hand something entirely individual (the very particular women and girls in the Schwarzau prison), and on the other hand something which (above and beyond the individual biographical nature) takes on the character of the ‘archetypical’. This in turn leads to another truth which is far beyond the yearning for authenticity contained in usual ‘genuine documentary elements’. So GANGSTER GIRLS is also a profound, electrifying film about the cinema itself (and naturally about theatre). About what is or what could be: ‘being myself’, ‘being you’; playing, acting, imitating, bearing witness, making films.”
(Alexander Horwath, Director of the Austrian Film Museum)
Gangster Girls will have theatrical release in Austria March 27th.
Distribution Company: Stadtkino Filmverleih.
“Gangster Girls by Tina Leisch is testimony to how truly invaluable the use of theater work can be in an Austrian penitentiary, the women’s prison in Schwarzau. The formal trick of masking the protagonists allows the film to unmask a legal system and its execution. We bestow this film with our honorable mention and wish it many viewers!”
Jury of the Vienna Film Price
“With Gangster Girls, the Viennale has actually been able to make an Austrian discovery: Perhaps it is not perfect, but this documentary film by emerging director Tina Leisch remains interesting throughout, offering fascinating insight into an Austrian women’s prison.”
Michael Höck, ORF.at
“Gangster Girls (Tina Leisch) is the most fascinating discovery among the documentary films coming out of Austria at this year’s Viennale. Inmates at the women’s prison Schwarzau with thick layers of make-up on their faces perform stories on the stage, in the kitchen, the sewing room, and in the cells. Are they their stories, and where does the theater start?”
Salzburger Nachrichten online / 17 October 2008
“Right from the start, this film reveals more than simply overcoming the contradiction between visual chronicle and the necessity of anonymity: Mouths, faces disappear under heavy, skillfully applied make-up; hair is hidden under wigs or caps. In this way, people become fictional characters to a certain extent, but the circumstances under which they live remain real.”
Isabella Reicher, Der Standard / 17 October 2008
“Gangster Girls—the artistic product of months of close collaboration is now available, impressive, disturbing, touching, maybe even beguiling.”
Barbara Huemer, Augustin online 10/2008
“With Gangster Girls, Tina Leisch sets new standards in the cinematic exploration of the Austrian penal system.”
Ramón Reichert, Viennale Falter ‘08
“The film opens a whole new perspective for everybody involved.”
Julia Pühringer, Kurier online / 20 October 2008