| By Amanda Nova |
With The Tribeca Film Festival starting today – Let us commence the female written, directed, and produced films of 2018! There are so many great projects with women at the forefront and I’m excited to view as many as I can. For this list though, I am including 10 Features written and directed by women from a slew of various categories.
Here. We. Go.
Lemonade – Written by Ioana Uricari & Tatiana Ionașcu/ Directed by Ioana Uricari
*International Narrative Competition*
Synopsis: Mara, a young Romanian mother and nurse who moved to the United States several months ago for work, has, it seems, already become accustomed to the suspicious, questioning glances and remarks that are part of the fabric of her life in America.
By morning, she’s getting vaccinated—the doctor adds a flu shot without her consent—by afternoon, she’s taking her nine-year-old son to look at schools and working on her green-card application—while fending off advances from her self-righteous immigration officer—and by evening, she’s simply trying to keep the peace with her new husband, a former patient she met just a few months prior.
The Party’s Just Beginning – Writer/Director Karen Gillan
*International narrative competition*
Synopsis: Liusaidh (Karen Gillan) is a sharp-witted, foul-mouthed, heavy-drinking twenty-something who is still reeling from a recent loss. Living with her parents in the remote Scottish Highlands, she spends most nights boozing at the local pub and embarks on what she assumes—perhaps rightly—will be yet another short-term fling when she hooks up with an out-of-towner (Lee Pace) who is going through a midlife crisis.
At the same time, a wrong number leads Liusaidh to an anonymous connection with an old man who is grappling with his own end-of-life questions and regrets. These three characters, each at their own crossroads, search for answers—together and independently—in the cold northern landscape, under fleeting glimpses of the Northern Lights.
All About Nina – Writer/Director Eva Vives
*U.S. Narrative Competition*
Synopsis: Nina (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) isn’t your typical brash stand-up comic. Her sets may be littered with frank sex talk, sarcastic cynicism, and vulgarity, but her act is no mere act. Having finally ditched her abusive lover (Chace Crawford), Nina hightails it to Los Angeles with the hope of finally making it big.
Things begin to improve in her career, as well as in her love life—thanks to a new love interest, Rafe (Common)—but this hard-drinking heroine isn’t sure she can handle stability. Despite her budding successes, Nina struggles to reconcile being authentic and happy in both her career and in her personal life.
State Like Sleep – Writer/Director Meredith Danluck
Synopsis: One year after the mysterious death of her Belgian actor husband, American photographer Katherine (Katherine Waterston) returns to Brussels, a city filled with memories of the life she’s tried to leave behind. Their marriage was rocky, but Katherine’s return to the city forces her to finally confront her grief as she packs up the flat they once shared. In doing so, though, she discovers a web of secrets that propel her to probe the circumstances of her husband’s last days.
Following in his footsteps, Katherine plunges into Brussels’s underground club scene, where she encounters a mysterious woman and a secret group of friends. At the same time, she meets Edward, a fellow American, who offers the possibility of a new future as she comes to terms with her troubled past.
The Elephant and the Butterfly – Writer/Director Amélie Van Elmbt
Synopsis: When the doorbell rings one summer afternoon, Camille, a single mother and architect, answers it, expecting the babysitter for her five-year-old daughter, Elsa. Instead, on the doorstep appears Antoine, Camille’s former partner and Elsa’s father—who Camille has not seen in five years, and who Elsa doesn’t even know.
But when the babysitter fails to materialize, Camille has no choice but to leave her daughter with the girl’s estranged father, releasing the pair on a three-day adventure that thrusts an ill-prepared Antoine abruptly into parenthood.
Dead Women Walking – Hagar Ben-Asher
Synopsis: Told through nine moving vignettes, each anchored by a subtle, yet overwhelming performance, Dead Women Walking traces the final days of a series of women on death row, from two weeks before one inmate’s execution to mere minutes before another’s. As these narratives develop, the human toll of the death penalty—not only on the women convicted of violent crimes, but also on their families, prison officials, and ministers and counselors coaching them through their final days—comes into clear focus.
There’s Wendy, for example, whose mother declines to visit her the day before her execution; Helen, who meets her 18-year-old son (Moonlight’s Ashton Sanders) for the first time since he was adopted shortly after her imprisonment; and Celine, who watches a documentary about her case and conviction while having her last meal.
Virgins – Writer/Director Keren Ben Rafael
Synopsis: Teenage Lana whiles away the hours in her hometown Kiryat Yam, a run-down beachside community on Israel’s Mediterranean coast. She hangs out with a trio of shiftless boys, keeps an eye on her precocious cousin Tamar, and dreams up an impending move to Tel Aviv, all while waiting for the moment when her mother’s café finally bankrupts her family.
But the sudden arrival of an attractive writer, Tchipi, may present solution for both boredom and bottom lines: He spins a local myth into a news report of a mermaid sighting offshore—bringing people back to the city’s beaches. Now, the locals just need to turn this mermaid mania into an event big enough to bring hope and excitement back into their lives.
Little Woods – Writer/ Director Nia Dacosta
Synopsis: Ollie (Tessa Thompson) is just getting by in economically depressed Little Woods, a fracking boomtown in North Dakota. She has left her days of illegally running prescription pills over the Canadian border behind her, eyeing a potential new job that would finally break her out of the small town. But when her mother dies, she is thrust back into the life of her estranged sister Deb (Lily James), who is facing her own crisis with an unplanned pregnancy and a deadbeat ex (James Badge Dale).
On top of everything, the two find they have only one week to settle the mortgage on their mother’s house or face foreclosure. As both bills and pressure mount, Ollie faces a choice: whether to return to a way of life she thought she’d left behind for just one more score. Writer-director Nia DaCosta’s debut is an emotionally-charged small-town thriller that weaves timely themes of economic downturn and the opioid crisis into its intimate story of two sisters just trying to get by. A lived-in film anchored by an authentically drawn sibling bond, Little Woods speaks to both the big and the small of the working class struggle in rural America.
Slut in a Good Way – Writer/Director Sophie Lorain
Synopsis: Charlotte couldn’t be happier about her relationship with her handsome boyfriend. But during a moment of intimacy, the teen’s beau drops a bomb on her: He’s gay. She is crushed. So, along with her best friends—the sassy spitfire Megan and the quieter Aube—Charlotte seeks distraction at a toy store.
There, the three girls are charmed by the young, male employees and quickly land jobs alongside them. Charlotte, still heartbroken, starts flirting—and having casual sex—with a few of her new coworkers. Initially, she loves her new freedom. Others around her, however, feel differently, leading them to smear Charlotte’s name and challenge her newfound sexual empowerment.
Untogether – Writer/Director Emma Forrest
Synopsis: Andrea is a recently sober writer whose career has stalled since she published her debut novel several years ago. She strikes up an affair with Nick (Jamie Dornan), a doctor-turned-writer who is hailed for his wartime memoir. At the same time, her sister Tara, a massage therapist dating an aging rock star (Ben Mendelsohn), finds herself inexorably drawn to a newfound religious zeal and, particularly, to a politically engaged rabbi (Billy Crystal).
Special Guest Spot: The Miseducation of Cameron Post – Writer/Director Desiree Akhavan, Writer Cecilia Frugiuele, Novel by Emily M. Danforth
This film stormed into Sundance, whilst slapping everyone’s hands and tickling their hearts. I imagine Tribeca wanted to welcome the very important and serious message this film carries and needed to make room for it… so I will too. Here’s a BONUS film to fall in love with.
Synopsis: When teenage Cameron (Chloë Grace Moretz) is caught having sex with another girl on prom night, she is shipped off to God’s Promise, a middle-of-nowhere treatment center run by Dr. Lydia Marsh (Jennifer Ehle) and “success story” Reverend Rick (John Gallagher, Jr.).
They subject her to dubious gay conversion therapies—but, despite these “treatments,” Cameron eventually forges a community with her fellow teens, quietly defiant Jane Fonda (Sasha Lane) and Adam Red Eagle (Forrest Goodluck). Together, these misfits play at recovery, since their only way out is time.
Note: All synopsis’s taken from Tribeca’s Film Guide.