Welcome back to Reel Women, the monthly column that highlights new releases that are written and/or directed by women. This month we’re again looking at what’s being released online across various platforms that we can watch during lockdown.
The Stylist – available on the Arrow Video Channel
Directed by: Jill Gevargizian
Written by: Jill Gevargizian, Eric Havens and Eric Stolze
Based on Gevargizian’s award-winning short of the same name, The Stylist stars Najarra Townsend as Claire, a lonely hairstylist who becomes obsessed with her clients…to their peril. Genre star Brea Grant joins the feature as Olivia, an unsuspecting bride who makes the deadly mistake of hiring Claire for her big day.
Moxie – available on Netflix
Directed by: Amy Poehler
Written by: Tamara Chestna and Dylan Meyer
Fed up with the sexist and toxic status quo at her high school, a shy Vivian (Hadley Robinson) finds inspiration from her mother’s rebellious past and anonymously publishes a zine that sparks a school-wide, coming-of-rage revolution.
Amy Poehler is an actress, writer and director. She’s perhaps best known for her role as Leslie Knope in Parks and Recreation which she won a Golden Globe for in 2014. Moxie is the third films she’s directed. Tamara Chestna is a writer and producer; her first produced screenplay was After. Dylan Meyer is an actress and writer; Moxie is her second produced feature-length screenplay.
Lucky – Shudder
Directed by: Natasha Kermani
Written by: Brea Grant
Life takes a sudden turn for May, a popular self-help book author, when she finds herself the target of a mysterious man with murderous intentions. Every night, without fail he comes after her, and every day the people around her barely seem to notice. With no one to turn to, May is pushed to her limits and must take matters into her own hands to survive and to regain control of her life.
The sophomore feature from Iranian-American filmmaker Natasha Kermani (Imitation Girl), Lucky is written and starring Brea Grant, star of the indie darling After Midnight and writer/director of the critically acclaimed dark comedy 12 Hour Shift.
Raya and the Last Dragon – available on Disney+ Premier Access
Directed by: Don Hall and Carlos López Estrada
Written by: Adele Lim and Qui Nguyen
In a realm known as Kumandra, a re-imagined Earth inhabited by an ancient civilization, a warrior named Raya (Kelly Marie Tran) is determined to find the last dragon.
Adele Lim is a producer and writer. She co-wrote megahit Crazy Rich Asians and has written episodes for a dozen different TV shows including Lethal Weapon, Reign and One Tree Hill.
Poly Styrene: I Am A Cliché – available on Modern Films online cinema platform and will be broadcast on 6 March at 9pm on Sky Arts
Directed by: Celeste Bell and Paul Sng
Written by: Celeste Bell, Zoe Howe and Paul Sng
A feature documentary celebrating the life and work of X-Ray Spex singer-songwriter and punk icon Poly Styrene.
Poly Styrene: I Am A Cliché is Celeste Bell’s directorial debut and Zoe Howe’s first produced screenplay.
My Donkey, My Lover & I – available on VOD
Written and directed by: Caroline Vignal
Antoinette (Laure Calamy), a schoolteacher, plans to spend her summer holidays with her secret lover Vladimir (Benjamin Lavernhe), the father of one of her pupils. When she learns Vladimir cannot come because his wife organised a surprise trekking holiday, Antoinette decides to follow them with just Patrick, a protective donkey, for company.
Caroline Vignal is a writer and director; My Donkey, My Lover & I is her second feature film and her fourth feature-length screenplay. My Donkey, My Lover & I has been nominated for eight César Awards this year – the César Award is considered the highest film honour in France.
Wander Darkly – available on VOD
Written and directed by: Tara Miele
New parents Adrienne (Sienna Miller) and Matteo (Diego Luna) are forced to reckon with trauma amidst their troubled relationship. They must revisit the memories of their past and unravel haunting truths in order to face their uncertain future.
Wander Darkly is Tara Miele’s fourth feature film and it was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at last year’s Sundance Film Festival. She’s also directed episodes of the TV shows Hawaii Five-0, Arrow and Batwoman.
Bombay Rose – available on Netflix
Directed by: Gitanjali Rao
Written by: Nadja Dumouchel and Asad Hussain
A story of romance set on the streets of Bombay we witness Kamala and Salim’s quest for love in a chaotic and beautiful city told in hand-painted animation.
Gitanjali Rao is a director, writer and producer. She also edited Bombay Rose. Her first short film Printed Rainbow was the first ever Indian animation film to be selected at Cannes.
Underplayed – available on Amazon Prime Video
Directed by: Stacey Lee
Written by: Neil Blewett, Georgia Dodson and Stacey Lee
The impetus for the documentary came to light during the 2018 Bud Light House Party Tour, when Bud Light Canada sat down with artists from diverse backgrounds and genres to learn about the evolution of their careers, and their unique experiences in recording, touring, and performing. Key conversations with female DJs exposed a striking gender inequality in the space, and further research substantiated their experiences.
Born in New Zealand, Stacey Lee’s work focuses on humanity, music, and movement. She was recently shortlisted for the Cannes Young Directors Award. Underplayed is her feature debut.
Own the Room – available on Disney+
Directed by: Cristina Costantini and Darren Foster
Documentary following five international students and their journey as they compete to win Global Student Entrepreneur Awards.
Cristina Costantini is an Emmy award-winning director and producer. Her previous film was Mucho Mucho Amor: The Legend of Walter Mercado and it was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at last years Sundance Film Festival. Own the Room is her third feature-length documentary.
Mouthpiece – available on VOD
Directed by: Patricia Rozema
Written by: Amy Nostbakken, Patricia Rozema and Norah Sadava
Cassandra, who is portrayed by the two women (Amy Nostbakken and Norah Sadava), expresses the opposing voices that exist inside the modern woman’s head, during a 48-hour period as she tries to organize the affairs for her mother’s funeral.
Patricia Rozema is an award-winning writer, director and producer; Mouthpiece is her eighth feature film. Amy Nostbakken and Norah Sadava adapted their play of the same name for screen, giving them their first screenwriting credit. Amy Nostbakken also composed the score for the film.
Ellie & Abbie (& Ellie’s Dead Aunt) – available on VOD
Written and directed by: Monica Zanetti
17-year-old Ellie (Sophie Hawkshaw) is struggling to find the courage to ask her classmate, Abbie (Zoe Terakes), to the formal. Luckily her Aunt Tara (Julia Billington), a lesbian who died in the 80’s has shown up as a “Fairy Godmother” to dish out advice, whether Ellie wants it or not.
Monica Zanetti is a director, writer and producer. Ellie & Abbie (& Ellie’s Dead Aunt) is her feature-length directorial debut after previously writing episodes of the TV shows Sisters and My Life is a Murder as well as four short films.
Preparations to Be Together for an Unknown Period of Time – available on VOD
Written and directed by: Lili Horvát
Márta (Natasa Stork), a forty-year-old neurosurgeon, falls in love. She leaves her shining American career behind and returns to Budapest to start a new life with the man. But the love of her life claims they have never met before.
Lili Horvát is a director and producer. Preparations to Be Together for an Unknown Period of Time is her first feature film after previously writing and directing three short films. It was selected as the Hungarian entry for the Best International Feature Film at this year’s Oscars but didn’t get nominated.
Infinitum: Subject Unknown – available on VOD
Directed by: Matthew Butler-Hart
Written by: Matthew Butler-Hart and Tori Butler-Hart
Jane (Tori Butler-Hart) is trapped in an unknown world with endless possibilities. She has to discover a way to access them and alter her reality before she is destined to repeat the same test over and over again, Ad Infinitum.
Tori Butler-Hart is an actress, writer and producer. Infinitum: Subject Unknown is her fourth feature-length screenplay.
Stray – available on VOD
Written and directed by: Elizabeth Lo
Documentary following stray dog Zeytin on the streets on Instanbul.
Elizabeth Lo is a documentary writer, director, editor and cinematographer. Stray is her first feature-length documentary film after previously directing seven documentary shorts.
A Week Away – available on Netflix
Directed by: Roman White
Written by: Alan Powell and Kali Bailey
Nowhere left to go, Will Hawkins finds himself at camp for the first time. His instinct is to run, but he finds a friend, a father figure and even a girl who awakens his heart.
A Week Away is Kali Bailey’s first produced feature-length screenplay.
That’s sixteen films made by women being released online this month. As always, we’d love to hear what films you’ve watched recently that are made by women.