10 Reasons Women Are Ruling Sundance This Year
12:32 pm, January 22nd | by
Though the mainstream film industry is still very much a boys’ club, women are killing it at Sundance this year. Eight of the 16 films in the U.S. dramatic competition were made by women, compared to only three in 2012. “I love the fact that there’s actual gender parity instead of just the token ‘girl,’ ” Jill Soloway, writer-director of Afternoon Delight told The New York Post. This year’s breakthrough is “what women have waited for forever, a base of true equality. Now it feels like there really is a level playing field.”
The documentaries, heavy dramas and dark comedies that are getting the most buzz at the festival all were either written or directed by women, or focus on a complex female protagonist.
Anne Thompson told Public Radio International, “The new indie model that is emerging is much more collaborative — barter talent, share roles,” she said. “All these filmmakers are sort of roaming the country helping each other make films in all these different locations and all these different ranges of experiences and it works. Women are really good at that kind of thing.” Here are 10 reasons why women are ruling this year’s Sundance film festival.
1.There's a place for the very funny Lake Bell
This actress, who you may recognize from less Sundance-friendly films like
What Happens in Vegas, directed, wrote, co-produced and starred in the comedy In A World about a struggling vocal coach. She told The New York Times that she wanted to be in the independent film world because "she was tired of overhearing comments from the producers of her mainstream acting gigs involving her physique and having it 'jiggle a little more.'"
2.The return of Julie Delpy as Celine in Before Midnight
This is perhaps the most famous independent film trilogy. Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy are back as modern day star-crossed lovers who can't ever get in sync. Both
Before Sunrise and Before Sunset are beautiful films and we would expect nothing less of Before Midnight (well, maybe a bit more darkness). Even more exciting is that Delpy, Hawke and director Richard Linklater all collaborated on the script.
3.Writer-director Jill Soloway's Afternoon Delight
This movie sounds amazing, and not just because it was written and directed by Soloway. It's about an L.A. housewife who tries to rescue a stripper by hiring her as her nanny. You know, that old chestnut!
4.Keri Russell is starring in a film about people who love Jane Austen
Keri Russell is starring as a Jane Austen fanatic. Stephanie Meyer (yes, that Stephanie Meyer) is producing it. If anyone knows about obsessive fans, it's the author of
Twilight. Also, Jerusha Hess, whose career took off with the 2004 Sundance hit Napoleon Dynamite which she co-wrote with her husband, director Jared Hess, is making her directorial debut with this film. Jane Austen would be proud.
5.Francesca Gregorini's Emanuelle and the Truth about Fishes
This is Francesca's second time at Sundance. She first appeared on the scene with coming of age tale
Tanner Hall. The basic plot is that troubled teen Emanuelle (Kaya Scodelario) becomes fascinated with her seemingly perfect neighbor, played by the seemingly perfect Jessica Biel, who (of course) is not all she seems. The film is a semi-autobiographical look at Gregorini's complex relationship with her mother, actress Barbara Bach.
6.Frieda Mock's Anita Hill documentary
This is one of the hottest tickets at Sundance, and why wouldn't it be, considering that Frieda Mock is an Oscar winner and Anita Hill is a figure of fascination. The film is an 85-minute analysis of Hill’s pivotal role in Clarence Thomas’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings. We can't wait to see it.
7.Linda Lovelace gets to tell her story
Through the film
Lovelace, we are learning that Linda Lovelace's life was way more complicated than it appeared. This film is getting a ton of buzz, and not just because it is the role that Lindsay Lohan couldn't keep. Pornography is a big theme at Sundance this year and this film is leading the way. "Sexuality and sexual relationships are an area that people are naturally interested in but it has been so taboo that there haven't been a lot of films that get into the complexities of it," Trevor Groth, the festival's director of programming, told Reuters.
8.Liz Garcia's The Lifeguard
This film will hit a note with a lot of women entering their 30's, as the story focuses on a stressed out New York City reporter (Kristen Bell) who is fed up with her life, deciding to relive her adolescence with a summer job as a lifeguard. You can imagine the chaos that ensues when she starts hooking up with a 16 year old boy.
“It’s tremendously exciting for me to have achieved the dream of my career in a year when it is so important for women. I’m so proud," said screenwriter Liz W. Garcia.
9.Casey Wilson and June Diane Raphael's Ass Backwards
This film sounds amazing and not only because it is written by the two funny ladies who make us laugh every week on
Happy Endings and New Girl, respectively. The story is about two lifelong friends who decide to go back to their hometown to compete in a beauty pageant against their former high school nemesis played by...get ready...Alicia Silverstone. Yes!!!! It's like Romy and Michele meets Drop Dead Gorgeous. But more importantly, this is a female buddy film in the vein of Thelma & Louise, which Hollywood needs more of. “It’s definitely a real love story between friends, and this crazy, insane co-dependent friendship,” Raphael told EW on set last July about the female buddy comedy. “Based on our own lives in New York City many, many years ago. It’s just about that crazy time when you’re not yet married, not a child anymore…it’s a weird zone."
10.Cherien Dabas's May in the Summer
This much buzzed about film opened the festival. Cherien, who directed the acclaimed
Amreeka, stepped in front of the camera for this film (while also directing) to play May, a successful New York author who is set to marry a Muslim professor at Columbia. When she returns home to Jordan to plan the wedding she finds herself distracted by her family.