A disappointingly few number of women-directed narrative and nonfiction features will debut at Sundance.
Only three women filmmakers from a total of sixteen will enjoy the prestige that comes with having a Sundance premiere. Lynn Shelton (Your Sister’s Sister) and Marjane Satrapi (Persepolis) will launch their latest films at Park City, while Sara Colangelo will inaugurate her feature-directing career there with her debut film.
The documentary world is usually more inviting for women, fewer than 20% of the nonfiction premieres at Sundance will be from women directors in 2014. That’s well below the percent of female documentarians believed to be working in the industry, which is close to about half.
While we know that the research shows that some years ebb and some flow, we were hopeful about Sundance’s possible new position as a festival where women filmmakers could be represented in equal number as their male counterparts, this year, we have been returned to reality.
Scroll down for a list of the films that will debut at Sundance.
Laggies / U.S.A. (Director: Lynn Shelton, Screenwriter: Andrea Seigel) — Laggies is a coming of age story about a 28-year-old woman stuck in permanent adolescence. Unable to find her career calling, still hanging out with the same friends, and living with her high school boyfriend, Megan must finally navigate her own future when an unexpected marriage proposal sends her into a panic. Cast: Keira Knightley, Sam Rockwell, Chloë Grace Moretz, Ellie Kemper, Jeff Garlin, Mark Webber.
Little Accidents / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Sara Colangelo) — In a small American coal town living in the shadow of a recent mining accident, the disappearance of a teenage boy draws three people together—a surviving miner, the lonely wife of a mine executive, and a local boy—in a web of secrets. Cast: Elizabeth Banks, Boyd Holbrook, Chloë Sevigny, Jacob Lofland, Josh Lucas.
The Voices Inside / U.S.A., Germany (Director: Marjane Satrapi, Screenwriter: Michael Perry) — This genre-bending tale centers around Jerry Hickfang, a lovable but disturbed factory worker who yearns for attention from a woman in accounting. When their relationship takes a sudden, murderous turn, Jerry’s evil talking cat and benevolent talking dog lead him down a fantastical path where he ultimately finds salvation. Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Gemma Arterton, Anna Kendrick, Jacki Weaver.
Last Days in Vietnam / U.S.A. (Director: Rory Kennedy) — During the chaotic final weeks of the Vietnam War, the North Vietnamese Army closes in on Saigon as the panicked South Vietnamese people desperately attempt to escape. On the ground, American soldiers and diplomats confront a moral quandary: whether to obey White House orders to evacuate only U.S. citizens.
To Be Takei / U.S.A. (Director: Jennifer Kroot) — Over seven decades, actor and activist George Takei journeyed from a World War II internment camp to the helm of the Starship Enterprise, and then to the daily news feeds of five million Facebook fans. Join George and his husband, Brad, on a wacky and profound trek for life, liberty, and love.