Sundance unveiled the competition lineups. Here is the first look at the US Dramatic and Documentary competition. There are 16 films in each category. In the dramatic category, 3 are directed by women. 2 are written by women and 3 are about women. That’s under 20% female directed. The documentary category is another story. Fully 50% of the films are directed (or co-directed) by women. 8 out of 16. That’s very exciting. And what I immediately noticed is the the women directed docs look at the large over arching issues of our time with several on the economy and healthcare.
US Dramatic Competition
Films Directed by Women
For Ellen: A struggling musician takes an overnight long-distance drive in order to fight his estranged wife for custody of their young daughter. Director and screenwriter: So Yong Kim. Cast: Paul Dano, Jon Heder, Jena Malone, Margarita Levieva, Shay Mandigo.
Middle of Nowhere: When her husband is incarcerated, an African American woman struggles to maintain her marriage and her identity. Director and screenwriter: Ava DuVernay. Cast: Emayatzy Corinealdi, David Oyelowo, Omari Hardwick, Lorraine Touissant, Edwina Findley.
Nobody Walks: Martine, a young artist from New York, is invited into the home of a hip, liberal L.A. family for a week. Her presence unravels the family’s carefully maintained status quo, and a mess of sexual and emotional entanglements ensues. Director: Ry Russo-Young. Screenwriters: Lena Dunham, Ry Russo-Young. Cast: John Krasinski, Olivia Thirlby, Rosemarie DeWitt, India Ennenga, Justin Kirk.
Films Written by Women
Beasts of the Southern Wild: Screenwriters: Benh Zeitlin, Lucy Alibar.
Smashed: Screenwriter: Susan Burke, James Ponsoldt.
Films About Women
Filly Brown: A hip-hop-driven drama about a Mexican girl who rises to fame and consciousness as she copes with the incarceration of her mother through music. Directors: Youssef Delara, Michael D. Olmos. Screenwriter: Youssef Delara. Cast: Lou Diamond Phillips, Gina Rodriguez, Jenni Rivera, Edward James Olmos.
Hello I Must Be Going: Divorced, childless, demoralized and condemned to move back in with her parents at the age of 35, Amy Minsky’s prospects look bleak — until the unexpected attention of a teenage boy changes everything. Director: Todd Louiso. Screenwriter: Sarah Koskoff. Cast: Melanie Lynskey, Blythe Danner, Christopher Abbott, John Rubinstein, Julie White.
Save the Date: As her sister gears up to get married, Sarah finds herself engrossed in an intense post-breakup rebound. The two fumble through the redefined emotional landscape of modern-day relationships, forced to relearn how to love and be loved. Director: Michael Mohan. Screenwriters: Jeffrey Brown, Egan Reich, Michael Mohan. Cast: Lizzy Caplan, Alison Brie, Martin Starr, Geoffrey Arend, Mark Webber.
U.S. Documentary Competition
Films Directed by Women
Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry: Renowned Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei has garnered international attention as much for his ambitious artwork as his political provocations and increasingly public clashes with the Chinese government. Director: Alison Klayman.
The Atomic States of America: In 2010, the United States announced construction of the first new nuclear power plant in more than 32 years. A year later, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake struck the Fukushima power plant in Japan, sparking a fierce debate in the U.S. over the safety and viability of nuclear power. Directors: Don Argott, Sheena M. Joyce.
Detropia: The woes of Detroit are emblematic of the collapse of the U.S. manufacturing base. This is the dramatic story of a city and its people who refuse to leave the building, even as the flames are rising. Directors: Heidi Ewing, Rachel Grady.
Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare: What can be done to save our broken medical system? Powerful forces are trying to maintain the status quo in a profit-driven medical industry, but a movement to bring innovative methods of prevention and healing is finally gaining ground — potentially saving the health of a nation. Directors: Matthew Heineman, Susan Froemke.
Finding North: A crisis of hunger looms in America and is not limited to the poverty stricken and uneducated. Can a return to policies of the 1970s save our future? Director: Lori Silverbush, Kristi Jacobson.
Me at the Zoo: With 270 million hits to date, Chris Crocker, an uncanny young video blogger from small-town Tennessee, is considered the Internet’s first rebel folk hero and at the same time one of its most controversial personalities. Director: Chris Moukarbel, Valerie Veatch.
The Queen of Versailles: — Jackie and David were triumphantly constructing the biggest house in America – a sprawling, 90,000-square-foot palace inspired by Versailles – when their timeshare empire falters due to the economic crisis. Their rags-to-riches-to-rags story reveals the innate virtues and flaws of the American Dream. Director: Lauren Greenfield.
We’re Not Broke: As American lawmakers slash budgets and lay off employees, leaving many people scrambling to survive, multibillion-dollar corporations are concealing colossal profits overseas to avoid paying U.S. income tax. Fed-up Americans are taking their frustration to the streets. Directors: Karin Hayes, Victoria Bruce.
The Invisible War: An investigative and powerfully emotional examination of the epidemic of rape of soldiers within the U.S. military, the institutions that cover up its existence and the profound personal and social consequences that arise from it. Director: Kirby Dick.
Marina Abramović The Artist Is Present: Marina Abramović prepares for a major retrospective of her work at The Museum of Modern Art in New York, hoping to finally silence four decades of skeptics who proclaim: ‘But why is this art?’ Director: Matthew Akers.