Welcome back to Reel Women, the monthly feature that highlights films that are written and/or directed by women. While the usual big blockbuster releases keep changing their release dates, there are some smaller films that are getting their big screen debut this month. Once again, as there is a pandemic and things are constantly changing, these release dates (and how the films are released) could change. 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.
Spinster – available in cinemas
Directed by: Andrea Dorfman | Written by: Jennifer Deyell
After her partner breaks up with her on her 39th birthday, Gaby (Chelsea Peretti) tackles her fears of loneliness as well as preconceptions of what it means for a woman to be single.
Andrea Dorfman is a writer and director. Spinster is her fourth feature film while it is writer Jennifer Deyell’s third produced screenplay.
Papicha – available on VOD
Directed by: Mounia Meddour | Written by: Mounia Meddour and Fadette Drouard
Algiers, 1997. Terrorist wanting an Islamic and archaic state are everywhere. Women are oppressed and are seeking to take control of their bodies, clothing and public space. Young student Nedjma (Lyna Khoudri) is passionate about making a fashion show.
Papicha is Mounia Meddour’s first feature film and she also produced it. Papicha is Fadette Drouard’s fifth produced screenplay and currently has a couple of others in post-production.
Perfect 10 – available in cinemas
Written and Directed by: Eva Riley
An aspiring teen gymnast’s world is turned upside down with the arrival of the half-brother she never knew she had.
Perfect 10 is Eva Riley’s first feature film after previously writing and directing six short films – one of which, Patriot, was nominated for the Palme d’Or – Best Short Film at Cannes Film Festival in 2015. We recently interviewed Eva and you can read it right here.
Work It – available on Netflix
Directed by: Laura Terruso | Written by: Alison Peck
When Quinn Ackerman’s (Sabrina Carpenter) admission to the college of her dreams depends on her performance at a dance competition, she forms a ragtag group of dancers to take on the best squad in school… now she just needs to learn how to dance.
Laura Terruso is a writer, director and producer. Work It is her third feature film and has directed seven short films. Work It is Alison Peck’s second screenwriting credit, her first was UglyDolls which is currently available on Netflix.
Babyteeth – available in cinemas
Directed by: Shannon Murphy | Written by: Rita Kalnejais
Milla (Eliza Scanlen), a seriously ill teenager falls in love with a drug dealer, Moses (Toby Wallace), her parents worst nightmare.
Babyteeth is Shannon Murphy’s feature-length directorial debut and with it she was entered in the First Feature Competition at the London Film Festival last year. Babyteeth is Rita Kalnejais’ first produced screenplay.
The Sleepover – available on Netflix
Directed by: Trish Sie | Written by: Sarah Rothschild
When two siblings discover their seemingly normal mom is a former thief in witness protection who has been forced to pull one last job, they team up to rescue her over the course of an action-packed night.
Trish Sie is a director and writer. The Sleepover is her third feature film after previously directing Step Up All In and Pitch Perfect 3. She also choreographed and co-directed the music video for OK Go’s “Here It Goes Again” which has racked up over fifty million views on YouTube. The Sleepover is Sarah Rothschild’s first produced screenplay.
Ava – available on VOD
Written and Directed by: Sadaf Foroughi
The life of a high school girl in Iran becomes more complicated after her mother catches her in an act of rebellion.
Sadaf Foroughi is a director, writer and producer. Ava is her first feature film and it won the International Critics’ Award (FIPRESCI) at Toronto International Film Festival in 2017.
The One and Only Ivan – available on Disney+
Directed by: Thea Sharrock | Written by: Mike White
A gorilla named Ivan tries to piece together his past with the help of an elephant named Stella as they hatch a plan to escape from captivity.
Thea Sharrock is a theatre and film director. When she became artistic director of London’s Southwark Playhouse in 2001, she was the youngest artistic director in British theatre at 24 years old. The One and Only Ivan is her second feature film, her directorial debut was Me Before You.
She Dies Tomorrow – available on VOD
Written and Directed by: Amy Seimetz
Amy (Kate Lyn Sheil) thinks she’s dying tomorrow… and it’s contagious.
Amy Seimetz is a writer, director, producer and actress. She Dies Tomorrow is her second feature film and has previously directed four short films and episodes of The Girlfriend Experience and Atlanta. She has dozens of acting credits including You’re Next, Alien: Covenant and Pet Sematary.
Team JumpCut’s Recommendations
Blockers – available on Netflix
Directed by Kay Cannon | Written by: Jim Kehoe and Brian Kehoe
While Blockers is a teen sex comedy with a fair amount of (male) nudity and crass humour, it does a good job of twisting the usual tropes in the genre and highlights how and why it can’t be completely gender-flipped without some thought behind it. It’s also consistently funny and has really sweet and layered parent/child relationships and a solid friendship between the three girls. A confident directorial debut from Kay Cannon.
The Rider – available on VOD
Written and directed by: Chloé Zhao
The Rider is just a beautiful film in every way. A beautiful story, stunning cinematography of a gorgeous landscape and haunting music. The performances and characters and the subtleties of this film stick with you. Chloé Zhao’s next film is Marvel’s Eternals which will now (hopefully) be released next year.
National Treasure – available on Disney+
Directed by: Jon Turteltaub | Written by: Jim Kouf, Cormac Wibberley and Marianne Wibberley
Yes, it’s the film where Nicolas Cage steals the Declaration of Independence and it’s a proper fun, family adventure with treasure hunting and history. It’s also co-written by arianne Wibberley who co-wrote the sequel (which is also worth a watch) and action comedies I Spy and Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle.
Twinsters – available on VOD
Directed by: Samantha Futerman and Ryan Miyamoto
This documentary is fascinating. Samantha had grown up in America and always knew she was adopted but what she didn’t know that she could have a twin. That is until she was contacted by Anaïs, a French girl living in London. Together they go on an incredible journey to find out if they really are twin sisters who were separated at birth.
Dumplin’ – available on Netflix
Directed by: Anne Fletcher | Written by: Kristin Hahn
Honestly, Dumplin’ is feels like a warm hug. Especially as it’s a film about finding yourself, friendship and loving who you are. Plus, there’s a lot of Dolly Parton. Anne Fletcher also directed the classic film The Proposal, so you know you’re in good hands here.
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.