Female directors may have been few and far between at Cannes, with only three films directed by women in competition, but the upcoming Sundance Film Festival: London promises a refreshing change. The British iteration of the famous festival brings a condensed lineup, but women are front and centre as 58% of the films showcased are directed by women. Films starring women will also be gracing the 4-day festival including Hereditary and Eighth Grade. The festival will also host panels and discussions on the state of the film industry and whether it is making steps towards inclusivity. For this Sundance preview, we highlight all of the female-directed films in the lineup.
THE TALE dir. Jennifer Fox
Jennifer Fox’s harrowing autobiographical look at sexual abuse will be opening the festival following its premiere on HBO last Saturday. Laura Dern stars as Jennifer, a woman who is forced to reconcile the sexual relationship she had as a 13-year-old. In the age of Time’s Up and #MeToo, films like these feel timely, but it’s necessary that women get to tell their own stories in their own words.
GENERATION WEALTH dir. Lauren Greenfield
For a quarter of a century, Lauren Greenfield has focused her photographic lens on economic excess in all forms. With this documentary, she expands on her existing work, examining materialism and capitalist culture across the globe. Her ambitious film seeks to explore the detrimental effects of money on a personal and societal level, and our obsession with fame and fortune.
HALF THE PICTURE dir. Amy Adrion
It’s no surprise to anyone that the film industry is overwhelmingly dominated by white men in the director’s chair. Women account for 50% of moviegoers, but out of the top 100 grossing films of 2017, women only accounted for 8% of directors. Amy Adrion’s comprehensive documentary investigates why women have been offered so few opportunities to direct major films, from discriminatory hiring practices to workplace sexism.
LEAVE NO TRACE dir. Debra Granik
It’s been a long eight years since Debra Granik’s last film Winter’s Bone launched Jennifer Lawrence to stardom. Luckily, she’s back to bless our lives again with the wilderness tale Leave No Trace. Ben Foster and Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie star as a father and daughter living an unplugged existence off the grid (save your Captain Fantastic comparisons). In our review, we praised “Granik’s ability to sensitively display the lives of people with real problems and real emotions.” Expect the film to provide a deeply empathetic, humanist touch to a unique father-daughter experience.
THE MISEDUCATION OF CAMERON POST dir. Desiree Akhavan
The second film from Appropriate Behaviour director Desiree Akhavan won Sundance’s Jury Prize and judging from early reviews, it was well deserved. Based on the coming-of-age novel by Emily M. Danforth, the film stars Chloë Grace Moretz as a young lesbian who is sent to a Christian camp that specialises in gay conversion therapy after she is caught having sex with the prom queen. In our glowing review, we said: “It’s a film that perfectly balances comedy and drama; it is funny without being incongruous and is tragic without being exploitative.”
NEVER GOIN’ BACK dir. Augustine Frizzell
Never Goin’ Back has been on the festival circuit for a while now, making stops in the midnight section of Sundance and SXSW. Soon to be released by A24, Augustine Frizzell’s debut looks like an energetic story of girls gone bad in the vein of Spring Breakers and The Bling Ring. The film stars Maia Mitchell and Cami Morrone as Texas besties who stop at nothing to score their dream vacation in Galveston.
SKATE KITCHEN dir. Crystal Moselle
Crystal Moselle won Sundance’s Grand Jury Prize for her stranger-than-fiction documentary The Wolfpack, which told the story of a group of brothers who were confined in a New York apartment and consequently learned about the world through movies (their Criterion Closet video is a Big Mood). Moselle makes the leap to narrative filmmaking with Skate Kitchen, based on a real group of female skaters Moselle met by chance on the train. The improv-heavy feature stars the group itself (all first-time actors) with the help of supporting actor Jaden Smith.