Welcome back to Reel Women, the monthly feature that highlights films that are written and/or directed by women. As I write this some cinemas are planning to open in July, so I have included the films that if they do, will be shown on the big screen. However, these are uncertain and unprecedented times so do take some of these release dates with a pinch of salt. This month we’re highlighting those new films that are written and/or directed by women that will be newly released in the UK in July. 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.
Desperados – available on Netflix
Directed by: LP | Written by: Ellen Rapoport
A panicked young woman, with her reluctant friends in tow, rushes to Mexico to try and delete a ranting email she sent to her new boyfriend.
LP is a writer, producer and director with over 60 directing credits to her name. Desperados is her first feature film. Ellen Rapoport is a writer and producer. Desperados is her first produced feature-length screenplay.
Back Roads – available on VOD
Directed by: Alex Pettyfer | Written by: Tawni O’Dell and Adrian Lyne
Harley (Alex Pettyfer) is stuck in the Pennsylvania backwoods caring for his three younger sisters after his mother is arrested for murdering his father.
Tawni O’Dell is a novelist who has six books published and adapted her own debut novel for screen. Black Roads is her first screenplay.
Mucho Mucho Amor – available on Netflix
Directed by: Cristina Costantini and Kareem Tabsch
Documentary about Walter Mercado, the iconic, gender non-conforming astrologer, who every day for decades mesmerized 120 million Latino viewers with his extravagance and positivity. Then he vanished from the public eye.
Cristina Costantini is a documentary director and producer. Mucho Mucho Amor was a nominee for the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year.
The Old Guard – available on Netflix
Directed by: Gina Prince-Bythewood | Written by: Greg Rucka
A covert team of immortal mercenaries are suddenly exposed and must now fight to keep their identity a secret just as an unexpected new member is discovered.
Gina Prince-Bythewood is a writer, director and producer. Her previous feature film, Beyond the Lights, is currently available on Amazon Prime.
Proxima – available in cinemas
Written and directed by: Alice Winocour
An astronaut (Eva Green) prepares for a one-year mission aboard the International Space Station.
Alice Winocour is a writer and director. Proxima is her third feature film. The previous film she wrote, Mustang, was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film of the Year at the Oscars.
Black Water: Abyss – available in cinemas
Directed by: Andrew Traucki | Written by: John Ridley and Sarah Smith
Friends exploring a remote cave system in Northern Australia find themselves threatened by a pack of crocodiles.
Sarah Smith is a writer and producer who has written for TV shows like Winter, Bite Club and Neighbours.
In Her Hands – available on VOD
Directed by: Ludovic Bernard | Written by: Johanne Bernard and Ludovic Bernard
A young man from a modest family gets the chance of a lifetime to reveal his hidden talent for piano but can he find the strength and courage to live up to the challenge?
In Her Hands is Johanne Bernard’s second produced screenplay.
Saint Frances – available on VOD
Directed by: Alex Thompson | Written by: Kelly O’Sullivan
After an accidental pregnancy turned abortion, a deadbeat nanny (Kelly O’Sullivan) finds an unlikely friendship with the six-year old she’s charged with protecting.
Kelly O’Sullivan is an actress and writer. Saint Frances is her first produced screenplay.
The Fairy Princess & The Unicorn – available in cinemas
Directed by: Aina Järvine and Federico Milella | Written by: Pamela Hickey, Dennys McCoy and Vanessa Walder
Animated children’s film about twin sisters who must save the fantasy country of Bayala.
Aina Järvine is a writer and director and The Fairy Princess & The Unicorn is her first feature film. For over 30 years, Pamela Hickey has written for dozens of children’s TV shows including Biker Mice from Mars and Clifford the Big Red Dog. The Fairy Princess & The Unicorn is Vanessa Walder’s fourth produced screenplay.
Fatal Affair – available on Netflix
Directed by: Peter Sullivan | Written by: Rasheeda Garner and Peter Sullivan
Ellie (Nia Long) tries to mend her marriage with her husband Marcus (Stephen Bishop) after a brief encounter with an old friend, David (Omar Epps), only to find that David is more dangerous and unstable than she’d realised.
Rasheeda Garner is a writer and producer and Fatal Affair is her second produced screenplay.
Secret Society of Second Born Royals – available on Disney+
Directed by: Anna Mastro | Written by: Alex Litvak and Andrew Green
Sam (Peyton Elizabeth Lee), a second born royal, is enrolled into a top-secret training program to learn how to protect her older sister and save the world.
Secret Society of Second Born Royals is Anna Mastro’s second feature film and she’s directed episodes of multiple TV shows including Jane the Virgin, Runaways and The Bold Type.
How to Build a Girl – available on Amazon Prime
Directed by: Coky Giedroyc | Written by: Caitlin Moran
A teenager (Beanie Feldstein) living with her working-class family on a council estate in Wolverhampton, England, grows up to become a popular but conflicted music journalist.
Coky Giedroyc has directed episodes of over two dozen different TV shows including The Virgin Queen, The Killing and Silent Witness. Caitlin Moran is a journalist and author who adapted her semi-autobiographical novel for the screen.
Summerland – available in cinemas
Written and directed by: Jessica Swale
During World War II, an Englishwoman (Gemma Arterton) opens her heart to an evacuee after initially resolving to be rid of him.
Jessica Swale is an Olivier award winning playwright, screenwriter and director. Her short film Leading Lady Parts which offers a humorous take the casting process for actresses, got a lot of buzz on social media a couple of years ago.
Black Is King – available on Disney+
Written and directed by: Beyoncé
The new visual album from Beyoncé inspired by The Lion King.
Does Beyoncé need an introduction? She’s a singer-songwriter, actress and producer who has been nominated for four Golden Globes and has won twenty-four Grammy Awards.
Clemency – available in cinemas
Written and directed by: Chinonye Chukwu
As she prepares to execute another inmate, Bernadine (Alfre Woodard) must confront the psychological and emotional demons her job creates, ultimately connecting her to the man she is sanctioned to kill.
Chinonye Chukwu is a writer, director and producer. Clemency is her second feature film.
Team JumpCut’s Recommendations
13th – available on Netflix
Directed by: Ava DuVernay | Written by: Spencer Averick and Ava DuVernay
An important and eye-opening documentary that takes an in-depth look at the prison system in the United States and how it reveals the nation’s history of racial inequality.
Paradise Hills – available on Netflix
Directed by: Alice Waddington | Written by: Brian DeLeeuw and Nacho Vigalondo
Honestly, Paradise Hills is worth watching for its whole twisted Alice in Wonderland aesthetic anyway – the hair, costumes and set design are all stunning – but it’s also an intriguing story about a young woman (Emma Roberts) who wakes up in an apparently idyllic reform school for wealthy young ladies, but soon figures out things are not what they seem.
The Brink – available on VOD
Directed by: Alison Klayman
This documentary follows white nationalist Stephen K. Bannon as he tries to mobilise and unify far-right and neo-Nazi factions during the 2018 US midterm elections, and it won’t change your mind about Bannon (whether you like him or not) but it will make clear exactly what he stands for and how he operates. It’s uncomfortable viewing watching him have meetings with political figures from various countries – including the UK’s own Nigel Farage – and seeing how this ideology has grown in recent years but with great editing and shot selection, Alison Klayman turns Bannon’s own words against him.
High Fantasy – available on VOD
Directed by: Jenna Canto Bass
Written by: Jenna Cato Bass, Qondiswa James, Nala Khumalo, Loren Loubser, Francesca Varrie Michel and Liza Scholtz
Four friends on a camping trip, deep in the South African countryside wake up to discover they have all swapped bodies. High Fantasy sounds weird, and it is, but it’s also really funny and offers socio-political commentary on modern day South Africa as there are certain revelations when a black teenager wakes up in the body of their white friend.
Mamma Mia! – available on Netflix
Directed by: Phyllida Lloyd | Written by: Catherine Johnson
Look, we all need some light-hearted fun at the minute and what’s better than watching a bunch of people belt out ABBA songs on a Greek island?
As always, we’d love to hear what films you’ve watched recently that are made by women, and if you do venture out to the cinema – stay safe and look out for one another.