Of the 115 features that will play at the South by Southwest Festival in March 7-15, women filmmakers will be represented in 20, or about 17%, of them.
Two of the eight films competing for the Best Narrative Feature prize are directed or co-directed by a woman. Leah Meyerhoff’s I Believe in Unicorns is a coming-of-age story about “an imaginative teenage girl who runs away from home with an older punk rock drifter,” while Sarah-Violet Bliss and Charles Rogers’ Fort Tilden follows two Brooklynites’ long, winding journey to the beach.
Three women-directed efforts are among the eight nonfiction films in the running for the Best Documentary Feature: Catherine Gund’s Born to Fly, Margaret Brown’s The Great Invisible, and Diana Whitten’s Vessel.
Scroll down for the list of women-directed films playing at SXSW:
NARRATIVE FEATURE COMPETITION
Eight world premieres, eight unique ways to celebrate the art of storytelling. Selected from 1,324 films submitted to SXSW 2014. Films screening in Narrative Feature Competition are:
Directors/Screenwriters: Sarah-Violet Bliss, Charles Rogers
It shouldn’t be this hard for Allie and Harper to get to the beach.
Cast: Bridey Elliott, Clare McNulty, Griffin Newman, Jeffrey Scaperrotta, Neil Casey (World Premiere)
I Believe in Unicorns
Director/Screenwriter: Leah Meyerhoff
I Believe in Unicorns follows the lyrical journey of an imaginative teenage girl who runs away from home with an older punk rock drifter, but not even unicorns can save her now.
Cast: Natalia Dyer, Peter Vack, Julia Garner, Amy Seimetz, Toni Meyerhoff (World Premiere)
DOCUMENTARY FEATURE COMPETITION
Selected from 892 submissions, the eight world premieres in the Documentary Feature category bring real world stories to life, demonstrating innovation, energy and bold voices. Films screening in Documentary Feature Competition are:
Born To Fly
Director: Catherine Gund
Born To Fly pushes the boundaries between action and art, daring us to join choreographer Elizabeth Streb and her dancers in pursuit of human flight. (World Premiere)
The Great Invisible
Director: Margaret Brown
Penetrating the oil industry’s secretive world, The Great Invisible examines the Deepwater Horizon disaster through the eyes of oil executives, explosion survivors and Gulf Coast residents who were left to pick up the pieces when the world moved on. (World Premiere)
Director: Diana Whitten
A fearless sea captain, Dr. Rebecca Gomperts, sails a ship through loopholes in international law, providing abortions on the high seas, and leaving in her wake a network of emboldened activists who trust women to handle abortion on their own terms. (World Premiere)
High profile narrative features receiving their World, North American or US Premieres at SXSW. Films screening in Narrative Spotlight are:
Kelly & Cal
Director: Jen McGowan, Screenwriter: Amy Lowe Starbin
Kelly & Cal explores the heartfelt, somewhat absurd moments in our lives when we seek out a little bit of extra attention.
Cast: Juliette Lewis, Jonny Weston, Josh Hopkins, Cybil Shepherd (World Premiere)
She’s Lost Control
Director/Screenwriter: Anja Marquardt
Ronah’s life unravels when she starts working with a new client, Johnny.
Cast: Brooke Bloom, Marc Menchaca, Dennis Boutsikaris, Laila (North American Premiere)
Director/Screenwriter: Liz Tuccillo
After being hit by a car, a woman (Leslie Bibb) comes home to realize her friends don’t really want to take care of her. Desperate for help, she turns to an unlikely source.
Cast: Leslie Bibb, Thomas Sadoski, Betty Gilpin, Michael Stahl David, Nadia Dajani (World Premiere)
We’ll Never Have Paris
Directors: Jocelyn Towne, Simon Helberg, Screenwriter: Simon Helberg
We’ll Never Have Paris is a clumsy and at once human account of screwing up on a transcontinental level in a noble effort to win back “the one.”
Cast: Simon Helberg, Maggie Grace, Melanie Lynskey, Alfred Molina, Zachary Quinto, Jason Ritter (World Premiere)
Shining a light on new documentary features receiving their World, North American or U.S. Premieres at SXSW. Films screening in Documentary Spotlight are:
Director: Cary Bell
Abbie came of age in honky tonks, defying her life threatening disease, but all the while longing for an identity of her own. Now that she is 18, how much is she willing to sacrifice for her independence? (World Premiere)
LADY VALOR: The Kristin Beck Story
Directors: Sandrine Orabona, Mark Herzog
A former U.S. Navy Seal seeks life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness living life as a transgender woman. (World Premiere)
Seeds of Time
Director: Sandy McLeod
Seeds of Time follows agriculture pioneer Cary Fowler’s global journey to save the eroding foundation of our food supply in a new era of climate change. (North American Premiere)
Director: Amy C. Elliott
Every January, the country’s largest jigsaw puzzle contest is held in St. Paul, Minnesota. Wicker Kittens invites you to choose your favorite team and watch them try to put the pieces back together. (World Premiere)
Audacious, risk-taking artists in the new cinema landscape that demonstrate raw innovation and creativity in documentary and narrative filmmaking. Films screening in Visions are:
Evaporating Borders (USA / Cyprus)
Director: Iva Radivojevic
Evaporating Borders is a poetically photographed and rendered film on tolerance and search for identity. Told through 5 vignettes portraying the lives of migrants on the island of Cyprus, it passionately weaves themes of displacement and belonging. (North American Premiere)
24 BEATS PER SECOND
Showcasing the sounds, culture & influence of music & musicians, with an emphasis on documentary. Films screening in 24 Beats Per Second are:
Que Caramba es la Vida (Germany)
Director: Doris Dorrie
In the macho world of Mariachi music, very few women can hold their own. Just like the songs they play, this film is a snapshot of life, death and the things in between – seen from a bird’s-eye perspective. (World Premiere)
The Winding Stream
Director: Beth Harrington
The Winding Stream is the story of the American music dynasty, the Carters and Cashes, and their decades-long influence on popular music. (World Premiere)
A diverse selection of International filmmaking talent, featuring innovative narratives, artful documentaries, premieres, festival favorites and more. Films screening in SX Global are:
Ukraine Is Not A Brothel (Australia)
Director: Kitty Green
A feature documentary that reveals the truth behind Ukraine’s topless feminist sensation, ‘Femen’.
Acclaimed standouts & selected previous premieres from festivals around the world. Films screening in Festival Favorites are:
Directors: Allison Berg, Frank Keraudren
An astonishing documentary portrait of the late John Wojtowicz, whose attempted robbery of a Brooklyn bank to finance his male lover’s sex-reassignment surgery was the real-life inspiration for the classic Al Pacino film Dog Day Afternoon.
Director/Screenwriter: Kat Candler
When 13-year-old Jacob’s delinquent behavior results in the authorities placing his little brother Wes with their aunt, he and his emotionally absent father must finally take responsibility for their actions and each other in order to bring Wes home.
Cast: Aaron Paul, Juliette Lewis, Josh Wiggins, Deke Garner, Jonny Mars
Director/Screenwriter: Gillian Robespierre
Obvious Child is an unapologetically honest comedy about what happens when 27 year‑old Brooklyn stand-up comedian Donna Stern (Jenny Slate) gets dumped, fired and pregnant just in time for Valentine’s Day.
Cast: Jenny Slate, Jake Lacy, Gaby Hoffmann, Gabe Liedman, David Cross