Movie-lovers interested in films by women directors won’t have much reason to go to the mutliplex this year. In 2013, only three films from female filmmakers — Frozen, Carrie, and Black Nativity — opened in wide release. 2014 looks to be a slight improvement, but not by much.
The five films from female directors likely to open wide this year are Shana Feste’s teen romance Endless Love, the Wachowski siblings’ summer action-spectacle Jupiter Ascending, Trish Sie’s dance sequel Step Up: All In, Niki Caro’s sports drama McFarland, and Angelina Jolie’s WWII prisoner-of-war biopic Unbroken. McFarland and Unbroken, both about male athletes, look like potential award-contenders — welcome news after this season’s shut-out of women. Possibly joining the wide-release group is Susanne Bier’s Serena, a Great Depression-set mental illness drama that stars current Queen of Hollywood Jennifer Lawrence.
Wide-release films aren’t necessarily the best that Hollywood has to offer in terms of cinematic quality, but the presence of women behind the camera for big studio projects is one of the clearest barometers of sexism within Hollywood. The reading for 2014? We might be crawling out of the nadir 2013 represented, but we’re still a long way from where we should be.
Among independent films directed by women, only a handful have thus far secured a release date. Amma Asante’s British bi-racial period drama Belle is one we’ll be keenly following. A trio of Sundance-approved picks — Desiree Akhavan’s hipster lesbian indie Appropriate Behavior, Lynn Shelton’s arrested-development dramedy Laggies, and Marjane Satrapi’s flirting-with-insanity black comedyThe Voices — will likely find limited distribution this year.
To keep updated on all the women-directed and women-centric films, visit Women and Hollywood‘s Films By and About Women page or sign up for our weekly newsletter.