Fall 2018: Female Directors

Unlike this summer, female representation behind the camera is being overshadowed this fall by the Ruben Fleischers, Damien Chazelles, and Bryan Singers. While you can’t expect many women-helmed movies at your local theatre, they’ll be making lots of noise on the festival circuit. Along with a description of the theatrical releases to look out for, this piece compiles a list of the female-directed feature films screening at major film festivals. Listing every film at every fall festival would make for an article as long as Bergman’s Fanny and Alexander, so we trust our readers will be on the lookout for women filmmakers at their local festivals, as well as documentary and short films directed by women. All film descriptions are from press materials and all theatrical release dates are for the United States. 

Theatrical releases:

September 21 – NAPPILY EVER AFTER dir. Haifaa Al-Mansour

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Violet has it all: the perfect job, the perfect relationship and the perfect hair. Until an accident at her hair salon makes her realize she’s not living life to the fullest. This romantic comedy, starring Sanaa Lathan, is based on the novel of the same name by Trisha R. Thomas

September 28 – LITTLE WOMEN dir. Clare Niederpruem 

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A modern retelling of Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel follows the lives of the same sisters we know so well — Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy March — and detailing their passage from childhood to womanhood. Despite harsh times, they cling to optimism, and as they mature, they face blossoming ambitions, relationships, and tragedy, while maintaining their unbreakable bond.

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Female Film Writers to Watch

In the current climate, there’s been a major push for more women, especially women of color, in front of and behind the camera. The conversations about more women in film often leaves out women in film criticism or commentary, so what better way to round out Women’s History Month by recommending a few female film writers who happen to be some of my favorite writers.

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We Need to Talk About Gina Prince-Bythewood

In reflecting on how A Wrinkle in Time director Ava DuVernay has impacted how I see film and pursue a career as a teenager and young adult, I’ve thought about the films that influenced me the most when I was a kid. Seeing DuVernay has been a representation of what I wish I saw more of as I realized I want to pursue film, but I’ve realized that I’ve neglected a director whose work has had a vast impact on how I see film and storytelling since I was a kid–Gina Prince-Bythewood. Prince-Bythewood has made some groundbreaking independent films and yet when I see discussions about more female directors and more female directors of color, I don’t often see her mentioned.

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Prince-Bythewood received critical acclaim for her directorial debut, Love & Basketball, in 2000. Starring Sanaa Lathan and Omar Epps, Prince-Bythewood’s award-winning film follows Monica and Quincy in multiple stages in their lives as they navigate reaching their athletic dreams and the love between them. The film, also written by the director, just seems like an excellent love story, but as I continued to watch it as I got older, I realized more and more that it’s really about a young woman who’s trying to sort how she can achieve her dream and have the love of her life. It’s not in a way that the man she loves is making her choose. It’s Monica’s journey of believing that she can have both–love the game and love Quincy.

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