52 Films by Women

A number of people have this year pledged to at least attempt to watch one female-directed film for every week of 2016 (I believe it started with a campaign by Women In Film Los Angeles). I was one of these people, and have been surprised how difficult it was to keep it up. It’s not because I don’t watch enough films – as I’ve watched close to 300 films this year; around 5 films a week. The problem is that if I were to simply watch films paying no attention to the gender of the director, the number of films directed by women would be less than the 20% needed with those stats. The actual number of women directing films in the industry is closer to 7%.

So, I ended up spending quite a while creating lists. I scoured “Best female filmmakers” lists online, added personal recommendations, checked the IMDb credits for the films I came across… rest assured I got pretty sick of seeing the smiling publicity photos of white dudes. I then checked where these films were available – specifically whether I could access them through on-demand services I use like Amazon Prime, Netflix and Sky Cinema. Still, it was difficult, and often the films that I found the most were indie dramas and documentaries. Nothing inherently wrong with them, but after a hard day’s work, sometimes I don’t want to start watching a film about a school shooting or fraught human relationships. I started running behind, but managed to catch up during December, which happened to give me a number of fantastic films I had never heard of before.

I may have made this more difficult for myself by assuming the rule that it couldn’t be a film I had ever seen before, and eventually decided to not count short films or the segment Allison Anders directed for Four Rooms either.

In the end I logged 53 films; two were short films, 12 were documentaries.

You can find the full list, ranked from favourite to least favourite, here

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20 Female Directors To Look Out For

I pitched the idea for a staff post over on Audiences Everywhere – one where in the lead-up to the Oscars we make a list of women directors that have made interesting films in recent years. The rules were they had to have had a film out since 2010, and not have been nominated for an Academy Award. This had been on my mind since I found it surprisingly difficult to find female-directed films for my project to watch at least 52 films of that type in 2016 (the ongoing ranking can be found here). Continue reading →