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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.