An impressive number of female filmmakers are set to screen their work at the 21st annual Los Angeles Film Festival. The festival released its full lineup on May 5, and 40% of features in competition categories are helmed by women. Compare this number to Cannes, for example, where only 11% of the films competing for the Palme d’Or are directed by women.
A press release announcing the full lineup also notes that nearly 30% of films in competitions were made by filmmakers of color.
year’s films range from micro-budgets to large-scale productions, by first-time
directors and widely celebrated veterans,” said Roya Rasegar, the festival’s associate director of programming. “They each hold their own
by projecting a distinct way of seeing the world.”
As Rasegar says, the lineup is a strong mix of familiar names and new voices. The US Fiction Competition includes the narrative feature directorial debut of Emily Ting, “It’s Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong.” The film, which is one of three titles directed by women in that category, focuses on a romance between a Chinese American girl and an American expat during her first visit to Hong Kong.
If you follow the festival circuit, you’re likely to remember that Chai Vasarhelyi is fresh from premiering “Meru,” a mountain-climbing doc she co-directed, at Sundance, where it won an audience award and was later sold to Showtime. Now she’s set to debut “Incorruptible,” which focuses on the youth- and artist-led struggle to preserve democracy in Senegal at LAFF. Seven other female filmmakers join Vasarhelyi in this category of 12 features.
The festival’s most recognizable titles appear in the Buzz section, a collection of “celebrated favorites from around the world.” Another Sundance hit, Marielle Heller’s “The Diary of a Teenage Girl,” is among the five films (out of 13) to be helmed by women in this category. Heller told Women and Hollywood that she hopes the film makes viewers “feel as though they went on an emotional journey with this brave character, and that they feel a little more connected to their own adolescent story. And I hope they’ve laughed a bit too.” The film’s warm reception at Sundance — and the invitation to screen at LAFF — seems to confirm that Heller accomplished those goals.
The LA Film Festival will take place June 10-18 in downtown LA. See below for women-centric programming at the festival.
US Fiction Competition (3/10 directed by women)
Original voices with distinct visions from emerging and established
American independent filmmakers.
Called Home, dir. Anna Axster, USA, World Premiere
in the Book, dir. Marya Cohn, USA, World Premiere
Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong, dir. Emily Ting, USA, World
Documentary Competition (8/12 directed by women) Sponsored by
Netflix and Loyola Marymount University’s School of Film and Television.
Compelling, character-driven non-fiction films from the U.S. and around
Babuskhas of Chernobyl, dir. Holly Morris and Anne Bogart, USA/Ukraine, World
Now (The Andy Whitfield Story), dir. Lilibet Foster,
USA/Australia, World Premiere
the Sun, dir. Shalini Kantayya, USA, World Premiere
Perfect World, dir. Daphne McWilliams, USA, World Premiere
dir. Chai Vasarhelyi, Senegal/USA, International Premiere
Between the Covers, dir. Laurie Kahn, USA, U.S. Premiere
Dancing Child, dir. Åse Svenheim Drivenes, Japan/Norway, World
From Tragedy to Trans Justice, Mapping a Detroit Story, dir. dream
hampton, USA,World Premiere
World Fiction Competition (1/8 directed by women)
Unique fiction films from around the world from emerging and
established filmmakers, especially curated for LA audiences.
the Mechanic, dir. Sara Blecher, South Africa, World Premiere
Buzz (5/13 directed by women)
Los Angeles premieres of celebrated favorites from around the world.
ANNOUNCED: Brand: A Second Coming, dir. Ondi Timoner, UK/USA
Norris vs Communism, dir. Illinca Calugareanu, UK/Romania/Germany
Diary of a
Teenage Girl, dir. Marielle Heller, USA
We Trust, dir. Tony Vainuku, co-dir. Erika Cohn, USA
Polar Bear, dir. Maya Forbes, USA
LA Muse (4/10 directed by women)
A competitive section of world premieres of fiction and documentary
films that are quintessentially L.A.
A Beautiful Now,
dir. Daniela Amavia, USA, World Premiere
Can You Dig This,
dir. Delila Vallot, USA, World Premiere
Day Out of Days,
dir. Zoe R. Cassavetes, USA, World Premiere
No Más Bebés (No More
Babies), dir. Renee Tajima-Peña, USA, World Premiere
Nightfall (1/8 directed by women)
From the bizarre to the horrifying, these are films to watch after
dark. Films premiering for the first time in the U.S. are nominated for the
dir. Maggie Kiley, USA, World Premiere
Zeitgeist (1/6 directed by women)
A competitive section of curated, World Premiere films that embody key
trends in American independent filmmaking. 2015 captures hard knock, coming of
Destiny, dir. Michael Dwyer, Kaitlin McLaughlin, USA, World