We have a problem.
A systemic, deep-set, unacceptable, not-so-small problem. Women filmmakers – where are they? Do they exist? Are they all on some secret retreat writing, planning, getting ready to release their work into the world on a historic day called THE DAY WOMEN FINALLY TAKE OVER THE WORLD?
Probably not (but I’ve still got my fingers crossed).
I read some sad statistics earlier in the week that unfortunately only fueled my frustration.
Out of every big studio film released in Hollywood in 2015, only 9% were directed by women filmmakers.
9%! 9. fucking. percent.
Independent film doesn’t fare much better considering it has “independent,” and therefore the illusion of freedom in the title – documentary filmmakers are 35% female, and only 19% working on narrative film (stats from Number of Women Indie Filmmakers Stagnant – by Brent Lang, Variety).
So this got me to a place. And I decided,
I don’t want to just do favorites each month.
For one, it’s boring. For two (is that a grammatically correct transition?), it could be something much more helpful. Because, I’m willing to bet you don’t research the writers and directors (or executive producers) of a film/television show before you watch it.
And maybe, just maybe, if I provided you a vetted list ahead of time, you’d spend your month trying your damnedest to show up and see the work of these women filmmakers, writers, and showrunners. Because they DO exist. And if you watch them, talk about them, and recognize them – there will be more of them.
So if I did this – would you go out of your way to watch them?
Would you go out of your way to support women filmmakers?
Let’s find out.
Disclaimer: I researched each title myself and had no initial source list, so this is hopefully expansive though not exhaustive. If I’m missing a project that you know has a female writer or director (or creator/heavily female writer’s room in the case of a tv show), drop me a line and I’ll gladly add it to the list.
The goal is to make this as comprehensive as possible each month. I will aim to include big studio features, small indie work, and even short film if it’s receiving a theatrical release. I’ll try to get everything I can initially and update the list throughout the month, as necessary.
Women to Watch:
What Women are Writing and Directing in May
Films set for a May 2016 release
- Dark Horse (documentary) – Directed by Louise Osmond, in theaters May 6 (Sony Pictures Classics)
“An inspirational true story of a group of friends from a working men’s club who decide to take on the elite ‘sport of kings’ and breed themselves a racehorse” [imdb]
- Money Monster (drama) – Directed by Jodie Foster, in theaters May 13 (TriStar)
“Financial TV host Lee Gates and his producer Patty are put in an extreme situation when an irate investor takes over their studio.” [imdb]
- Alice Through the Looking Glass (fantasy) – Screenplay by Linda Woolverton, in theaters May 27 (Walt Disney Pictures)
“When Alice wakes up in Wonderland she must travel through a mysterious new world to retrieve a magical scepter that can stop the evil Lord of Time before he turns forward the clock and turns Wonderland into a barren, lifeless old world.” [imdb]
- Weiner (documentary) – Co-Directed by Elyse Steinberg, in theaters May 20 (Motto Pictures, Sundance Selects)
“An examination of disgraced New York Congressman Anthony Weiner’s mayoral campaign and the landscape of today’s political landscape.” [imdb]
Shows premiering or airing new episodes in May 2016*
- The Night Manager (drama) – series directed and executive produced by Susanne Bier (AMC)
“A night manager of an Egyptian hotel is recruited by intelligence agents to infiltrate an international arms dealer’s network.” [imdb]
- Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Season 2 (comedy) – co-created by Tina Fey (Netflix)
“After being rescued from an underground bunker in which she lived the past 15 years, Kimmy Schmidt decides to move to New York to have a normal life.” [imdb]
- New Girl: Season 6 (comedy) – created by Elizabeth Meriwether (Fox)
“After a bad break-up, Jess, an offbeat young woman, moves into an apartment loft with three single men. Although they find her behavior very unusual, the men support her – most of the time.” [imdb]
- The Path (drama) – created by Jessica Goldberg (Hulu)
“The Path follows a family at the center of a controversial cult movement as they struggle with relationships, faith and power.” [imdb]
- Grace and Frankie: Season 2 (comedy)- co-created by Marta Kauffman (Netflix)
“Finding out that their husbands are not just work partners, but have also been romantically involved for the last 20 years, two women with an already strained relationship try to cope with the circumstances together.” [imdb]
- The Family (drama) – created by Jenna Bans (ABC)
“A community is rattled when a politician’s son, who was presumed murdered years ago, returns home.” [imdb]
- Deadbeat: Season 3 (comedy) – co-created by Cody Heller (Hulu)
“The series follows Kevin Pacalioglu, a medium for hire, who attempts to solve various ghosts’ unresolved problems, so that they can move on to a final resting place, occasionally with the help of his best friend and drug dealer, Roofie.” [imdb]
- Difficult People: Season 2 (comedy) – created by Julie Klausner (Hulu)
“Life is really tough for Julie and Billy, two 30-something aspiring comics living and working in New York City. While their friends and acquaintances move on to find success and love, they continue to struggle with careers and relationships, getting more bitter by the day.” [imdb]
- 11-22-63 (drama) – mini-series based on the Stephen King novel, developed by Bridget Carpenter (Hulu)
“High school teacher Jake Epping travels back in time to prevent the assassination of President John F. Kennedy – but his mission is threatened by Lee Harvey Oswald, falling in love, and the past itself, which doesn’t want to be changed and shouldn’t be changed.” [imdb]
- Inside Amy Schumer: Season 4 (comedy) – co-created by Amy Schumer, Written by Jessi Klein and Amy Schumer (Comedy Central)
“Straight from Amy Schumer’s provocative and hilariously wicked mind, Inside Amy Schumer explores sex, relationships and the general clusterf**k that is life with sketches, stand-up comedy and woman-on-the-street interviews.” [Comedy Central]
- Broad City: Season 3 (comedy) – created by Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson (Comedy Central, Hulu)
“Broad City follows two women throughout their daily lives in New York City, making the smallest and mundane events hysterical and disturbing to watch all at the same time.” [imdb]
*because this is the first of these posts, it also includes series that are currently streamable, but may have premiered in Feb-April.
Have you seen any of these movies or shows this month?
Leave what you’re watching in the comments and let’s talk about it.