Welcome back to Reel Women, the monthly feature that highlights films that are written and/or directed by women. I hope you all are doing well and are adjusting to lockdown life. Cinemas aren’t going to be opening any time soon, and the film industry is slowly adjusting to that fact. More and more films are being released online on various platforms to rent or buy, potentially giving smaller films a lease of life they wouldn’t have otherwise had. The long-term effects of this type of digital releasing, on audiences, cinemas, films and filmmakers, remains to be seen.

This month we’re highlighting those new films that are written and/or directed by women that will be available online in May. Plus, members of Team JumpCut are sharing some of their favourite films made by women that are available to watch in the comfort of your own home.

New releases

1 May

The Half of It – available on Netflix

Written & Directed by: Alice Wu

When smart but cash-strapped teen Ellie Chu (Leah Lewis) agrees to write a love letter for jock Paul (Daniel Diemer), she doesn’t expect to become his friend – or fall for his crush. Alice Wu is a director, writer and producer. The Half of It is her second feature film.

Nothing Fancy: Diana Kennedy – available on VOD

Directed by: Elizabeth Carroll

Cookbook author and environmental activist Diana Kennedy reflects on an unconventional life spent mastering Mexican cuisine. Elizabeth Carroll is a director and producer. Nothing Fancy: Diana Kennedy is her first directing credit.

The Assistant – available on VOD

Written & Directed by: Kitty Green

As Jane (Julia Garner) follows her daily routine, she grows increasingly aware of the insidious abuse that threatens every aspect of her position as an assistant to a powerful executive.

Kitty Green is a writer, director and editor. The Assistant is her first narrative film after previously directing three documentaries. Her previous film, documentary Casting JonBenet, is currently available on Netflix.

Leah Lewis and Daniel Diemer in The Half of It (2020)

6 May

Becoming – available on Netflix

Directed by: Nadia Hallgren

Documentary following Michelle Obama as she tours the country, looking at her life, hopes and connection with others. Nadia Hallgren is a documentary director and cinematographer. Also on Netflix is Hallgren’s documentary short After Maria, following three Puerto Rican who are displaced by Hurricane Maria.

7 May

Romantic Comedy – available on VOD

Written & Directed by: Elizabeth Sankey

Musician and writer Elizabeth Sankey investigates the past, present and future of romantic comedies, assisted by a chorus of critics, actors and filmmakers. Romantic Comedy is Elizabeth Sankey’s directorial debut. She also edited it and composed the music for the documentary.

11 May

Little Women – Digital Release

Written & Directed by Greta Gerwig

Jo March reflects back and forth on her life, telling the beloved story of the March sisters – four young women, each determined to live life on her own terms. Greta Gerwig’s Little Women will be available on Digital platforms in the UK 11th May ahead of it’s physical media release on the 25th.

Emma Watson, Saoirse Ronan, Florence Pugh, and Eliza Scanlen in Little Women (2019)

18 May

Cassandro The Exotico! – available on VOD

Written & Directed by: Marie Losier

After 26 years of spinning dives and flying uppercuts in the ring, Cassandro, the star of the gender-bending cross-dressing Mexican wrestlers known as the Exoticos, is far from retiring. Marie Losier has over a dozen directing credits to her name and she is also a cinematographer, editor and producer.

21 May

Take Me Somewhere Nice – available on VOD

Written & Directed by: Ena Sendijarevic

A Dutch girl of Bosnian descent travels to Bosnia to visit her sick father. It will be the first time they will see each other. Ena Sendijarevic is a director and writer. Take Me Somewhere Nice is her first feature film after directing three short films.

28 May

Around The World When You Were My Age – available on VOD

Directed by: Aya Koretzky

Written by: Aya Koretzky and Jiro Koretzky

A travel diary from the 1970s, starting in Japan and around the world: Father and daughter cross views on the memories of the old images and words. Aya Koretzky is a director, writer and cinematographer. She won Best First Feature award at Rotterdam International Film Festival last year for Around The World When You Were My Age.

Jaden Smith and Rachelle Vinberg in Skate Kitchen (2018)

Team JumpCut’s Recommendations

Point Break (1991) – available on VOD

Directed by: Kathryn Bigelow

Written by: W. Peter Iliff

Most people remember 1991 in cinema for Terminator 2: Judgement Day but for me, Kathryn Bigelow’s crime opus Point Break is the go to choice. Ushering in a new viewpoint on the machismo surf bro era, Bigelow’s breakdown of conformity and structure is as potent now as it was then. Delivering multiple moments of iconography, Keanu Reeves and the late Patrick Swayze turn career best performances throughout. Everyone owes it to themselves to experience Point Break at least once. – Recommended by Sam.

Skate Kitchen (2018) – available on Amazon Prime

Directed by: Crystal Moselle

Written by Crystal Moselle, Jen Silverman, Aslihan Unaldi

Even if skateboarding is, or never has been, your thing, Crystal Moselle’s Skate Kitchen well worth your time. The film centres around Camille, an introverted skateboarding teenager who befriends an all-girl skateboarding crew in New York. The story follows the girls’ friendship as it grows through their love of skateboarding and typical teenage stuff – so of course, there are plenty of highs and lows. The film is set to a stunning New York backdrop with some gorgeous shots of the city. If you were a fan of Jonah Hill’s directorial debut mid90s, then this is right up your street and also makes for a great double feature. – Recommended by Tom

Erin Brockovich (2000) – available on Netflix

Directed by: Steven Soderbergh

Written by: Susannah Grant

Erin Brockovich is one of those films I forget about, but then I watch it again and I remember how fantastic it is. Julia Roberts gives a brilliant performance in the titular role and has wonderful chemistry with Albert Finney who plays Erin’s boss/lawyer. Erin Brockovich is the true story of how a single mother becomes a legal assistant and almost single-handedly fights against a power company accused of polluting a city’s water supply. If you like Dark Waters (2019) you should watch Erin Brockovich. Susannah Grant’s screenplay for Erin Brockovich was nominated for an Oscar and it definitely deserved it. The humour is quick-witted, the emotional moments are earnt, and it’s a story about people being competent at their jobs and fighting the good fight. – Recommended by Elena.

Julia Roberts in Erin Brockovich (2000)

Sami Blood (2016) – available on Amazon Prime

Written & Directed by: Amanda Kernell

A reindeer-breeding Sámi girl who is exposed to the racism of the 1930’s at her boarding school, starts dreaming of another life in “a filmmaking debut so accomplished, specific, and moving that it heralds the arrival of an important new cinematic voice” (Seventh Row) – Recommended by Fiona.

The Kindergarten Teacher (2018) – available on Amazon Prime

Written & Directed by: Sara Colangelo

The Kindergarten Teacher is a tense, often uncomfortable drama about a kindergarten teacher, played by Maggie Gyllenhaal, who becomes obsessed with one of her students whom she believes is a child prodigy. The Kindergarten Teacher is an English-language remake of the Israeli film of the same name, but Sofia Colangelo’s writing and direction makes this version stand on its own merit. It’s a film that intrigues and unsettles the viewer, but also doesn’t pass judgement, leaving it to the audience to decide if the teacher was right, wrong, or went about things the wrong way. The Kindergarten Teacher is also one of those wonderful films that has a runtime close to the 90-minute mark. – Recommended by Elena

As always, we’d love to hear what films you’ve watched recently that are made by women.

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