Welcome back to Reel Women, the monthly feature that highlights films that are written and/or directed by women. Hope you’re all staying safe out there. This month we’re highlighting the new films that are written and/or directed by women that will be available online in June – there’s a lot of documentaries this month. 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.
The Uncertain Kingdom – available on VOD
Directed by: Jason Bradbury, Stroma Cairns, Antonia Campbell-Hughes, Hope Dickson Leach, Ellen Evans, Paul Frankl, Alison Hargreaves, Guy Jenkin, Sophie King, Iggy Ldn, Rebecca Lloyd-Evans, Lanre Malaolu, Runyararo Mapfumo, Lab Ky Mo, Leon Oldstrong, Ray Panthaki, David Proud, Carol Salter and Jason Wingard
Written by: Antonia Campbell-Hughes, Edward Cripps, Siân Docksey, Justin Edgar, Paul Frankl, Ming Ho, Guy Jenkin, Ray Panthaki, Ibrahim Salawu and Jason Wingard
A ground-breaking anthology of twenty short films by twenty filmmakers, which together offer an alternative snapshot of the UK in the year 2020.
The women involved with The Uncertain Kingdom come from a variety of creative backgrounds and for some it’s their first produced screenplay or directorial debut.
To the Stars – available on VOD
Directed by: Martha Stephens
Written by: Shannon Bradley-Colleary
Nothing ever changes in Iris Deerbone’s (Kara Hayward) small town, that is until city girl Maggie Richmond (Liana Liberato) arrives. Slowly shy and withdrawn Iris is pulled out of her shell by worldly but reckless Maggie as they forge an unlikely but deep friendship.
To the Stars is Martha Stephens’s fourth feature film and Shannon Bradley-Colleary’s first produced screenplay.
Ms Slavic 7 – available on VOD
Written & Directed by: Sofia Bohdanowicz and Deragh Campbell
A young woman discovers letters in a Harvard archive that her great-grandmother wrote to a fellow Polish poet.
Sofia Bohdanowicz is a writer, director and producer, she also edited and was the cinematographer for Ms Slavic 7. Deragh Campbell is an actress, writer and director. Ms Slavic 7 is her first feature film.
Days of the Bagnold Summer – available on VOD
Directed by: Simon Bird
Written by: Lisa Owens
A teenager spends his summer listening to heavy metal music and trying to get along with his librarian mom.
Days of the Bagnold Summer is Lisa Owens’ first produced screenplay and she adapted it from the graphic novel by Joff Winterhart.
Hurt by Paradise – available on VOD
Directed by: Greta Bellamacina
Written by: Greta Bellamacina, Sadie Brown and Robert Montgomery
A film about a poet and a girl with big hair. Together they find friendship as the possibility of their dreams dwindles.
Hurt by Paradise was featured at last years Edinburgh International Film Festival and was nominated for the Michael Powell Award for Best British Feature Film. Greta Bellamacina is an actress, director and writer. Hurt by Paradise is her first narrative feature, while it is Sadie Brown’s first feature-length screenplay.
Father Soldier Son – available on Netflix
Directed by: Leslye Davis and Catrin Einhorn
Documentary about how when Sgt. First Class Brian Eisch is critically wounded in Afghanistan, it sets him and his sons on a journey of love, loss, redemption and legacy.
Father Soldier Son is Catrin Einhorn’s directorial debut. Leslye Davis is a director, producer and cinematographer. Father Soldier Son is her first feature-length documentary after directing half a dozen short films. Father Soldier Son was nominated for Best Documentary Feature at the Tribeca Film Festival.
#Sugarwater – available on VOD
Written & Directed by: Jo Lewis
An all access behind the scenes documentary following the first performance at The National Theatre of a Deaf and disabled theatre company.
Jo Lewis is a writer, director and producer. #Sugarwater is her first feature-length film.
The Dead and the Others – available on VOD
Written & Directed by: Renée Nader Messora and João Salaviza
This Brazilian documentary about indigenous culture explores how ancient traditions have been destroyed by the government due to their lack of public policy for the indigenous lands.
The Dead and the Others is Renée Nader Messora’s directorial debut and she also edited and produced it. The Dead and the Others won the Un Certain Regard Jury Prize at Cannes Film Festival in 2018.
Athlete A – available on Netflix
Directed by: Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk
Documentary following the Indianapolis Star reporters that broke the story about USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar’s abuse.
Bonni Cohen is a documentary director and producer who has produced 30 documentaries. Another of her documentaries, Audre & Daisy, is currently available on Netflix.
On the Record – available on VOD
Directed by: Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering
Written by: Kirby Dick, Sara Newens and Amy Ziering
Documentary about a former hip hop executive decides whether to make public her rape by one of the most powerful men in the music industry – hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons.
Amy Ziering is a documentary writer, director and producer and was nominated for the Best Documentary Feature Oscar in 2013 for the film The Invisible War. Sara Newens is an editor, director, producer and writer, On the Record is her first feature-length documentary.
Team JumpCut’s Recommendations
Gascoigne – available on Amazon Prime
Directed by: Jane Preston
Football fans are undoubtedly desperately reminiscing about the beautiful game that has been absent from our lives for the past few months, but we have the perfect remedy for this. Truth be told, even those who aren’t crazy about football will still find something of merit with this insightful, entertaining and stirring documentary about a truly larger-than-life character. Paul Gascoigne is an icon of the game, and his wonderfully warm spirit shines through in this refreshing examination, which focuses not on the scandal that surrounds certain aspects of his life, but the more tender, human moments that deserve to be celebrated. – Recommended by Jakob
Knock Down the House – available on Netflix
Directed by: Rachel Lears
Written by: Robin Blotnick and Rachel Lears
This documentary following four women, a young bartender in the Bronx, a coal miner’s daughter in West Virginia, a grieving mother in Nevada, and a registered nurse in Missouri, who build a movement during the 2018 U.S. congressional elections is a must watch. It’s inspiring and hopeful while never shying away from the hardships and restrictions there are for the average person to get into politics, even when they want to make a difference and change things for the better. – Recommended by Elena.
Wild Nights with Emily – available on iTunes
Written and Directed by: Madeleine Olnek
A new, fresh look at the life and loves of poet Emily Dickinson, based on newly discovered letters. Hilarious and moving, you’ll laugh, you’ll cry at this truly innovative take on a biopic. – Recommended by Fiona
Misbehaviour – available on VOD
Directed by: Philippa Lowthorpe
Written by: Rebecca Frayn and Gaby Chiappe
Misbehaviour is a feel-good British comedy drama about the 1970 Miss World beauty pageant in London, the women competing and the women who hatch a plan to disrupt it. It’s funny and engaging with a lot of fun characters and it mixes the drama of political tensions with the glamour of a world beauty pageant so well. The performances are brilliant with Knightley and Mbatha-Raw being the standouts, the soundtrack is ace and it’s just a really fun, feelgood film about sisterhood. – Recommended by Elena
Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn – available on VOD
Directed by: Cathy Yan
Written by: Christina Hodson
After Harley Quinn breaks up with the Joker, she teams up with Black Canary, Huntress and cop Renee Montoya to save a young girl from an evil crime lord. The female-led cast are fantastic, and Margot Robbie reprises the role of Harley Quinn and, once again, captures the character’s chaotic personality perfectly. While this is Harley’s story, the other leads are given enough screen time to shine too and have fun doing so. This DC entry is definitely one to check out! – Recommended by Megan