Welcome back to Reel Women, the monthly column that highlights new releases that are written and/or directed by women. As the UK comes out of Lockdown 2 and the country is split into various tiers with different rules, there’s anticipation that cinemas may actually open again – but not everywhere. So, do take these release dates and how these films are released with a pinch of salt because “Who knows?!” is like the motto for 2020.

But congratulations for making it through this year! I’m sure books, films, TV shows and games have all helped us find some comfort and security in these strange times.

4 December

A Christmas Carol – available in cinemas

Directed by: Jacqui Morris

Written by: David Morris

New animated retelling of the classic story.

Jacqui Morris is a director and producer. In 2013 she was nominated for a Best Documentary BAFTA for McCullin, her first documentary film.

A Girl from Mogadishu – available on VOD

Written and directed by: Mary McGuckian

Based on the testimony of Ifrah Ahmed, who – having made the extraordinary journey to escape war-torn Somalia – emerged as one of the world’s foremost international activists against Gender Based Violence and Female Genital Mutilation.

Mary McGuckian is a director, writer, producer and editor. A Girl from Mogadishu is her eleventh film.

Cocoon – available in cinemas

Written and directed by: Leonie Krippendorff

Coming of age story about Nora (Lena Urzendowsky), a shy 14-year-old Berlin girl, who over the course of a summer falls in love with another girl, learns to stand up for herself and gets her heart broken for the first time.

Leonie Krippendorff is a writer and director, Cocoon is her second feature film.

Lost at Christmas – available on VOD

Directed by: Ryan Hendrick

Written by: Ryan Hendrick and Clare Sheppard

Two strangers stranded in the Scottish Highlands on Christmas Eve team up to try and get home in time for Christmas.

Clare Sheppard is a writer and actress. Lost at Christmas is her first produced feature-length screenplay and is an adaptation of her short film.

11 December

The Mole Agent – available in cinemas

Written and directed by: Maite Alberdi

Documentary about a private investigator in Chile who hires someone to work as a mole at a retirement home where a client of his suspects the caretakers of elder abuse.

Maite Alberdi is a documentary writer, director and producer. The Mole Agent is her sixth feature film.

14 December

The Warrior Queen of Jhansi – available on VOD

Directed by: Swati Bhise

Written by: Devika Bhise, Swati Bhise and Olivia Emden

The true story of Lakshmibai, the historic Queen of Jhansi who fiercely led her army against the British East India Company in the infamous mutiny of 1857.

Swati Bhise is a writer, director and producer. The Warrior Queen of Jhansi is her directorial debut. Olivia Emden is an actress and writer; The Warrior Queen of Jhansi is her first feature-length screenplay.

16 December

Wonder Woman 1984 – available in cinemas

Directed by: Patty Jenkins

Written by: Dave Callaham, Geoff Johns and Patty Jenkins

In 1980s America Diana (Gal Gadot) battles against two new foes, Max Lord (Max Lord) and The Cheetah (Kristen Wiig).

Patty Jenkins is a writer, director and producer. She directed the first Wonder Woman film and is the first woman to direct multiple superhero films.

18 December

Come Away – available in cinemas

Directed by: Brenda Chapman

Written by: Marissa Kate Goodhill

When their eldest brother dies, Peter (Jordan A. Nash) and Alice (Keira Chansa) seek to save their parents from despair until they are forced to choose between home and imagination, setting the stage for their iconic journeys into Neverland and Wonderland.

Come Away is Brenda Chapman’s first live action film after previously directing The Prince of Egypt and Brave which she won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature. Come Away is Marissa Kate Goodhill’s first produced feature-length screenplay.

Farewell Amor – available on VOD

Written and directed by: Ekwa Msangi

After seventeen years alone in New York, Angolan immigrant Walter (Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine) is joined in the US by his wife Esther (Zainab Jan) and teenage daughter Sylvia (Jayme Lawson). Now cramped in a one-bedroom apartment, the family tries to reconnect.

Ekwa Msangi is a director, writer, and producer. Farewell Amor is her first feature film after previously directing five short films. It was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize in the Dramatic category at this years Sundance Film Festival.

26 December

One Night in Miami – available in cinemas before being available on Amazon Prime in the New Year

Directed by: Regina King

Written by: Kemp Powers

A fictional account of one incredible night where icons Muhammad Ali (Eli Goree), Malcolm X (Kingsley Ben-Adir), Sam Cooke (Leslie Odom Jr.), and Jim Brown (Aldis Hodge) gathered discussing their roles in the civil rights movement and cultural upheaval of the 60s.

Regina King is an actress, producer and director. She’s won multiple awards including Primetime Emmys and she won a Golden Globe and an Oscar for her performance in If Beale Street Could Talk.

Blithe Spirit – available in cinemas

Directed by: Edward Hall

Written by: Piers Ashworth, Meg Leonard and Nick Moorcroft

A spiritualist medium holds a seance for a writer suffering from writer’s block but accidentally summons the spirit of his deceased first wife, which leads to an increasingly complex love triangle with his current wife of five years.

Meg Leonard is a writer and producer. She co-wrote British comedies Fisherman’s Friends and Finding Your Feet.

Team JumpCut’s recommendations

Miss Americana (2020) – available on Netflix

Directed by: Lana Wilson

With folklore: the long pond studio sessions just being released on Disney+, now is a perfect time to watch the Taylor Swift documentary that was released at the start of the year. No matter what level of fan you are, Miss Americana is an interesting and affecting documentary. You get to see Taylor Swift’s creative process and learn more about her as a person, her relationships and how she deals with the fame and media surrounding her.

Troop Zero (2019) – available on Amazon Prime

Directed by: Bert & Bertie

Written by: Lucy Alibar

Troop Zero is about a group of young misfits (led by Mckenna Grace) who form a troop of Birdie Scouts to compete for the prize of their dream. follows almost every cliché in the book it’s still so wholesome and enjoyable. It tackles themes of grief, friendship, family and finding you voice and standing up for yourself and those you care about. Plus, it does all this in a funny and charming way and has some great performances from the young cast.

Valley Girl (1983) – available on iTunes

Directed by: Martha Coolidge

Written by: Andrew Lane and Wayne Crawford

This 80s classic, featuring a very early Nicolas Cage role, is FINALLY available to rent. High-class Valley Girl meets skeazy Hollywood punk and is torn between peer pressure/remaining popular and true love. A tale as old as time.

Bhaji on the Beach (1993) – available on BritBox, or to rent on BFI Player

Directed by: Gurinder Chadha

Written by: Gurinder Chadha and Meera Syal

This funny and moving story of a multi-generational group who take a daytrip from Birmingham to Blackpool was a groundbreaking depiction of Asian women in the UK.

The Watermelon Woman (1996) – available on BFI Player or to rent on Amazon/YouTube

Directed by: Cheryl Dunye

Written by: Cheryl Dunye and Doug McKeown

A boundary-pushing depiction of a lesbian woman who works in a video store and starts to investigate a fictional Black actress from the 1930s. A landmark of the 90s indie scene that seems documentary-like in its filmmaking and acting style.

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.

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