The LA Film Festival starts this weekend. There are many women directed films as part of the Festival. Festival Director Stephanie Allain talked about the importance of having a diverse lineup:
It's vitally important that unique voices from across all spectrums are represented at the festival because this is what can bridge cultural divides – by presenting human stories from all points of view. Part of Film Independent's mission is to support independent filmmakers and ensure that unique and diverse filmmakers have a platform for their stories.
We are featuring many films directed by women this year including two Galas – Middle of Nowhere directed by Ava DuVernay and Seeking a Friend directed by Lorene Scafaria. Three films in the narrative competition – Thursday Til Sunday, All is Well and Breakfast with Curtis and half of the docs in competition are directed by women, three of them pairs of women!! It obviously helps that we have women programmers on staff as they recognize the worth of these stories told by women.
Here are some quotes from the women filmmakers who will be featured at the festival:
Ava Duvernay, writer and director Middle of Nowhere (I will be seeing the film this week):
For me, screening MIDDLE OF NOWHERE as a gala presentation at LA Film Festival is like coming home. I was born in Long Beach, raised in Compton/Lynwood, and am a UCLA grad. I'm all about LA. Randy Newman has nothing on me. So, LAFF is the perfect way to kick-off our theatrical campaign for October and share our film with my fellow Angelenos. I'm looking forward to it.
Co-directors Sara Lamm and Mary Wigmore of "Birth Story: Ina May Gaskin and The Farm Midwives"
LA Film Fest is our dream festival– it will be a high-profile place for Birth Story to premiere, but more importantly LA is also our home base. It's also exciting that our first public screenings will be for such an influential, urban audience, many of whom are storytellers themselves. We hope that allowing them to see birth in this positive way will be a powerful step toward changing how childbirth is represented in our culture.
After the festival, we'll be working hard on our on-going Kickstarter campaign—which is important because it demonstrates to the world at large that there are so many women (and men) out there who support us, and that there is a real public thirst for a film that honors women's history, women's bodies, and women's leadership.
Here are the women directed films:
Brave – (DIRECTORS Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman WRITERS Brenda Chapman, Irene Mecchi PRODUCER Katherine Sarafian) – Set in the rugged and mysterious Highlands of Scotland, Disney•Pixar’s Brave follows the heroic journey of Merida (voice of Kelly Macdonald), a skilled archer and headstrong daughter of King Fergus (voice of Billy Connolly) and Queen Elinor (voice of Emma Thompson). Determined to change her fate, Merida defies an age-old custom sacred to the unruly and uproarious lords of the land, unleashing chaos in the kingdom. When she turns to an eccentric Witch (voice of Julie Walters), she is granted an ill-fated wish and the ensuing peril forces Merida to harness all of her resources to undo a beastly curse and discover the meaning of true bravery. World Premiere
Middle of Nowhere – (DIRECTOR/WRITER Ava DuVernay PRODUCERS Howard Barish, Ava DuVernay, Paul Garnes CAST Emayatzy Corinealdi, David Oyelowo, Omari Hardwick, Lorraine Toussaint, Edwina Findley, Sharon Lawrence) – How do you maintain a marriage — and your own identity — when your husband has been sentenced to eight years in prison? Writer/director Ava DuVernay’s elegant and powerful portrait of a strong woman contending with conflicting feelings of love, guilt and desire marks the arrival of a bold new voice in independent cinema.
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World – (DIRECTOR/WRITER Lorene Scafaria PRODUCERS Steve Golin, Joy Gorman, Steven M. Rales, Mark Roybal CAST Steve Carell, Keira Knightley, Connie Britton, Rob Corddry, Gillian Jacobs, Derek Luke, Melanie Lynskey, T.J. Miller, Mark Moses, Patton Oswalt, William Petersen) – Taking audiences on a humorous, moving and intimate journey against an epic backdrop of Earth’s final days, the film is Lorene’s feature directorial debut (she previously adapted Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist). Set in a too-near future where time at once stands still and is slipping away forever, the film explores what people will do and how they will feel.
Sun Kissed – (DIRECTORS Maya Stark, Adi Lavy PRODUCERS Jocelyn Glatzer, Maya Stark, Adi Lavy) – With remarkable strength of spirit, a husband and wife examine their lives and why their children and others have been struck with a rare genetic disorder in this powerful portrait of a small Navajo community. World Premiere
Breakfast with Curtis – (DIRECTOR/WRITER/PRODUCER Laura Colella CAST Theo Green, Jonah Parker, David Parker, Virginia Laffey, Aaron Jungels, Yvonne Parker, Adele Parker, Laura Colella, Gideon Parker) – A balmy eastern summer and a lush, rambling backyard are the perfect settings for this mirthful tale of unlikely friendships and rekindled neighborliness amongst a quirky and charming cast of bohemians. World Premiere
Birth Story: Ina May Gaskin and The Farm Midwives – (DIRECTORS Sara Lamm, Mary Wigmore PRODUCERS Kate Roughan, Zachary Mortensen, Sara Lamm, Mary Wigmore FEATURING Ina May Gaskin, Stephen Gaskin, Pamela Hunt, Farm Midwives past and present, Kristina Kennedy Davis) – Ina May Gaskin and the courageous midwives of the Farm commune inspired the modern midwifery movement. This beguiling documentary tells their empowering story with depth, intelligence and wit. World Premiere
Call Me Kuchu – (DIRECTORS Katherine Fairfax Wright, Malika Zouhali-Worrall PRODUCER Malika Zouhali-Worrall) – To be openly gay in Uganda is to risk imprisonment and death, yet brave men like David Katos, the country's first openly gay activist, have fought back. This heartbreaking and stirring documentary takes us inside this life and death struggle for human rights. US Premiere
Thursday till Sunday – Chile (DIRECTOR/WRITER Dominga Sotomayor PRODUCERS Gregorio González, Benjamin Domenech CAST Santi Ahumada, Emiliano Freifeld, Francisco Pérez-Bannen, Paola Giannini) – With uncommon beauty and style, this Chilean road movie finds a family at a crossroads, as the daughter slowly realizes the divide between the adults in the front seat and the kids in back. North American Premiere