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26% of SFIFF Films in Competition Directed by Women

26% of SFIFF Films in Competition Directed by Women

Though the 2014 San Francisco International Film Festival’s (April 24-May 8) full lineup won’t be announced until April 1, SFIFF organizers have announced the films competing in the narrative and nonfiction contests. 

Films directed or co-directed by women comprise a quarter of the contenders. Four female filmmakers representing three continents will compete for the New Directors Prize (in a pool of 11 films), while two female documentarians, from the U.S. and Spain, respectively, will contend for the Golden Gate Award (in a pool of 8 films).

Scroll down for the list and descriptions of the female-made films in competition at SFIFF:


The Amazing Catfish, Claudia Sainte-Luce, Mexico

Set in Guadalajara, The Amazing Catfish follows the quiet transformation of a solitary young woman informally adopted and absorbed into a rambunctious matriarchy in a state of crisis. Filmed by Claire Denis’ long-time cinematographer, Agnes Godard, Claudia Sainte-Luce’s debut feature, based loosely on events from her own life, blends a wry and moving naturalism with moments of inspired comedy. 

The Blue Wave, Zeynep Dadak and Merve Kayan, Turkey/Germany/Netherlands/Greece

In this low-key, loosely plotted coming-of-age tale, a Turkish teenage girl wrestles with mood swings, unfocused restlessness, familial responsibilities, shifting friendships and romantic complications during a year of quiet tumult.

Trap Street, Vivian Qu, China

What’s it like to be a 21st-century young adult — with access to gadgets, the Internet and other high-tech conveniences — within China’s surveillance state? First-time writer-director Vivian Qu’s taut, slow-building noir cleverly uses a simple boy-meets-girl tale to unearth a hidden world of government control lurking just under the surface. 


Coast of Death, Lois Patino, Spain

From the first entrancing images of trees being cut down in a fog-filled forest to the later blues of the sky and ocean fusing to erase the horizon, the always static frames of this documentary offer a meditative and prismatic view of Spain’s much storied and dangerous “Coast of Death.

The Last Season, Sara Dosa, USA

Every September, over 200 seasonal workers, many of them Cambodian, Lao, Hmong, Mien and Thai, descend upon the tiny town of Chemult, Oregon, to search the woods for the rare Matsuke, a fungus highly prized in Japan. This documentary examines the bond between two of these hunters, an elderly Vietnam vet and a survivor of the Khmer Rouge, during one unusually hard season. 

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