Welcome back to Reel Women, the monthly column that highlights new releases that are written and/or directed by women. This month we’ve got the potential of seeing films cinemas! If lockdown easing continues, cinemas will be able to open from 17 May but there are still a lot of films being released online, and it’s likely that will continue for the rest of the year.

7 May

Cowboys – available on VOD

Full Review

Written and directed by: Anna Kerrigan

A troubled but well-intentioned father who has recently separated from his wife runs off with his trans son into the Montana wilderness after his ex-wife’s refusal to let their son live as his authentic self.

Anna Kerrigan is a writer, director and producer. Cowboys is her second feature film and it won Best Actor and Best Screenplay at the Tribeca Film Festival last year.

Once Upon A River – available on VOD

Written and directed by: Haroula Rose

Set in 1970s rural Michigan, after enduring a series of traumas and tragedies, Native American teenager Margo Crane (Kenadi DelaCerna) sets out on an odyssey on the Stark River in search of her estranged mother.

Haroula Rose is a director, writer, producer and musician. Once Upon a River is her first feature film after previously directing five short films.

Charlatan – available on VOD

Article on the International Feature Shortlist, including Charlatan

Directed by: Agnieszka Holland

Written by: Marek Epstein

Biopic about healer Jan Mikolášek (Ivan Trojan) who cured hundreds of people using plant-based remedies.

Agnieszka Holland is a writer and director who has directed over twenty films and numerous episodes of various TV shows. She directed the much-loved adaptation of The Secret Garden in the early 90s and she was nominated for an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for Europa Europa.

12 May

Oxygen – available on Netflix

Directed by: Alexandre Aja

Written by: Christie LeBlanc

A woman wakes in a cryogenic chamber with no recollection of how she got there and must find a way out before running out of air.

As well as writing the screenplay for Oxygen, Christie LeBlanc also was one of the executive producers. Oxygen is her first feature-length screenplay.

Dance of the 41 – available on Netflix

Directed by: David Pablos

Written by: Monika Revilla

At the end of the 19th century, Ignacio de la Torre (Alfonso Herrera) married the daughter of the president of Mexico, Porfirio Díaz. Ignacio leads a double life: he rises in the traditional world of politics while being a member of a clandestine society. The delicate balance holds until he meets Evaristo (Emiliano Zurita), the 42nd member of the society.

Dance of the 41 is Monika Revilla’s first narrative feature. She’s previously written documentary films and episodes of five different TV shows.

14 May

Ferry – available on Netflix

Directed by: Cecilia Verheyden

Written by: Nico Moolenaar and Bart Uytdenhouwen

A ruthless Ferry Bouman is sent to his native region of Brabant by his boss Brink to avenge an attack on their gang. When he meets the lovely Danielle and old family feuds resurface, Brabant starts to pierce his steel armour.

Ferry is Cecilia Verheyden’s first narrative film after previously directing episodes of TV shows including Undercover and Please, Love Me and four short films.

17 May

Nomadland – available in cinemas and on Disney+

Full Review

Written and directed by: Chloé Zhao

After losing everything in the Great Recession, a woman (Frances McDormand) embarks on a journey through the American West, living as a van-dwelling modern-day nomad.

Nomadland won three Oscars including Best Film and Best Director and was nominated for three more. Chloé Zhao’s next film is The Eternals, one of many upcoming Marvel films that will hopefully be released later this year.

21 May

P!NK: All I Know So Far – available on Amazon Prime

Directed by: Michael Gracey

Written by: Jory Anast, Michael Gracey, Cindy Mollo and Pink

Documentary following P!nk as she balances family and life on the road in the run-up to her first Wembley Stadium performance in her 2019 Beautiful Trauma world tour.

P!NK: All I Know So Far is Jory Anast second feature-length screenplay, the first Sequin in a Blue Room is currently available to watch on VOD. Cindy Mollo is a writer and editor. She’s edited over a dozen films and has been nominated for five Primetime Emmy’s for Editing including for the TV shows Ozark, Deadwood, and Mad Men.

Rare Beasts – available in cinemas

Full Review

Written and directed by: Billie Piper

Mandy (Billie Piper), a career-driven single mother, falls in love with a charming man named Pete (Leo Bill).

Billie Piper is an actress and singer who’s probably most recognisable from her TV work including Doctor Who, Secret Diary of a Call Girl and Penny Dreadful. Rare Beasts is her directorial debut.

25 May

The 8th – available in cinemas

Directed by: Aideen Kane, Lucy Kennedy and Maeve O’Boyle

Documentary about Irish women and their fight to overturn one of the most restrictive laws on abortion in the world. After a 35-year struggle the pro-choice side have to radically shift tactics to try and bring this historically conservative electorate over the line.

Lucy Kennedy is a director and producer. Aideen Kane is a producer and The 8th is her directorial debut. It’s also Maeve O’Boyle’s directorial debut and she also edited it, making it (funnily enough) the eighth documentary she’s edited.

28 May

Cruella – available in cinemas and Disney+ Premier Access

Directed by: Craig Gillespie

Written by: Dana Fox and Tony McNamara

A prequel to the 101 Dalmatians story we all know, following a young Cruella de Vil (Emma Stone).

Dana Fox is a writer and producer. Cruella is her sixth produced feature-length screenplay, and her previous films include How to Be Single and Isn’t It Romantic.

First Cow – available in cinemas and on MUBI

First Cow Review and a Reichardt Round Up

Directed by: Kelly Reichardt

Written by: Jonathan Raymond and Kelly Reichardt

A skilled cook has travelled west and joined a group of fur trappers in Oregon, though he only finds true connection with a Chinese immigrant also seeking his fortune. Soon the two collaborate on a successful business.

Kelly Reichardt is a writer, director and editor. First Cow is her eighth feature film.

Surge – available in cinemas

Dircted by: Aneil Karia

Written by: Rupert Jones, Rita Kalnejais and Aneil Karia

Set over 24 hours in London, a man (Ben Whishaw) who goes on a bold and reckless journey of self-liberation.

Rita Kalnejais is a writer and actress. Her previous film, Babyteeth, is currently available on Netflix.

Zebra Girl – available on VOD

Directed by: Stephanie Zari

Written by: Derek Ahonen

Catherine’s (Sarah Roy) seemingly perfect rural life is turned upside down after she discovers her husband is hiding a dark secret that leads her to the unthinkable. Murder.

Stephanie Zari is a writer, director, and producer. Zebra Girl is her debut feature film.

That’s fourteen 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 and do take care if you decide to venture out to the cinema.