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19% of SXSW Film Lineup Directed by Women

19% of SXSW Film Lineup Directed by Women

As we reported last week, a quarter of the films that will be in competition at SXSW 2015 (March 13-21) are directed by women. The percentage of women-helmed features being screened outside of competition, however, is somewhat lower. Overall, 26 of the 134 titles that will be screened at this year’s festival, or 19%, are directed or co-directed by women.

Female filmmakers outnumber men in one category, the SXGlobal section, which is comprised of both narrative and documentary features and includes entries by Hungary’s Yvonne Kerékgyártó and Germany’s Anna Sofie Hartmann. In every other category, the number of male directors being spotlighted exceeds female ones.

Here are the women-directed films that will play at SXSW 2015. Descriptions of the films and their categories courtesy of SXSW. 

Narrative Feature Competition

Ten world premieres, ten unique ways to celebrate the art of
storytelling. Selected from 1,372 films submitted to SXSW 2015.

6 Years
Director/Screenwriter: Hannah Fidell
A young couple bound by a seemingly ideal love begins to unravel as
unexpected opportunities spin them down a volatile and violent path and
threaten the future they had always imagined. Cast: Taissa Farmiga, Ben
Rosenfield, Lindsay Burdge, Joshua Leonard, Jennifer Lafleur, Peter Vack, Dana
Wheeler-Nicholson, Molly McMichael, Jason Newman.
 (World Premiere)

Funny Bunny
Director/Screenwriter: Alison Bagnall
Funny Bunny is a serious comedy about a friendless anti-obesity crusader and a
trust fund manchild who vie for the heart of a reclusive animal activist,
releasing her demons and forming an unlikely ‘family’ in the process. Cast:
Kentucker Audley, Joslyn Jensen, Olly Alexander, Anna Margaret Hollyman,
Josephine Decker, Louis Cancelmi, Grace Gonglewski, Nicholas Webber, Caridad de
la Luz.
 (World Premiere)

Documentary Feature Competition 

Selected from 1,018 submissions, ten world premieres, ten real world
stories that demonstrate innovation, energy and bold voices.

Directors: Alexandria Bombach, Mo Scarpelli
After decades of war and an oppressive Taliban regime, four Afghan
photojournalists face the realities of building a free press in a country left
to stand on its own – reframing Afghanistan for the world and for themselves.
(World Premiere)

Directors: Samantha Futerman, Ryan Miyamoto
Imagine there was someone out there who you’d never met, looked exactly
like you and was born on your birthday. Twinstersis the story of
two strangers who discovered they were potentially twin sisters separated at
birth. (World Premiere)

A Woman Like Me
Directors: Alex Sichel, Elizabeth Giamatti
By creating a fictional character based on herself, filmmaker Alex
Sichel learns how to navigate a terminal disease with grace and humor. (World


Big names, big talent: Headliners bring star power to SXSW, featuring
red carpet premieres and gala film events with major & rising names in

BRAND: A Second Coming (UK)
Director: Ondi Timoner
BRAND: A Second Coming follows comedian/author Russell
Brand’s evolution from addict & Hollywood star to unexpected political
disruptor & newfound hero to the underserved. Brand is criticized for
egomaniacal self-interest as he calls for revolution. (World Premiere)

Narrative Spotlight

High profile narrative features receiving their World, North American or
U.S. premieres at SXSW.

Director: Jamie Babbit, Screenwriter: Karey Dornetto
Fresno is a comedy that follows lonely but stoic lesbian Martha (Natasha
Lyonne), whose sister Shannon (Judy Greer), a sex addict with no impulse
control and a long history of poor decisions, winds up back in Fresno cleaning
hotel rooms with her.Cast: Natasha Lyonne, Judy Greer, Aubrey Plaza, Fred
Armisen, Jessica St. Clair, Molly Shannon, Michael Hitchcock, Ron Livingston.

I Dream Too Much
Director/Screenwriter: Katie Cokinos
Dora Welles is an imaginative college grad ready to experience all the
excitement of life. Instead she finds herself in snowy upstate New York caring
for her reclusive great aunt (who has lived a much more exciting life than
anyone realizes). Cast: Eden Brolin, Diane Ladd, Danielle Brooks, James
McCaffrey, Christina Rouner.
 (World Premiere)

Life in Color
Director/Screenwriter: Katharine Emmer
With no place to live, two strangers are stuck house sitting together.
To get back on their feet, this odd couple reluctantly help each other overcome
the very personal obstacles that are holding them back in life and from each other. Cast:
Josh McDermitt, Katharine Emmer, Adam Lustick, Fortune Feimster, Jim O’Heir.

Documentary Spotlight 

Shining a light on new documentary features receiving their World, North
American or U.S. premieres at SXSW.

A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story
Director: Sara Hirsh Bordo
From the producers of the most viewed TEDWomen event of 2013 comes A
Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story
, a documentary following the
inspiring journey of 25-year-old, 58-pound Lizzie from cyber-bullying victim to
anti-bullying activist. (World Premiere)

GTFO: Get The F% Out
Director: Shannon Sun-Higginson
Almost half of all gamers are women; yet, female gamers are
disproportionately subject to harassment and abuse. GTFOseeks to
investigate misogyny in video game culture and questions the future of this 20
billion dollar industry. (World Premiere)


Visions filmmakers are audacious, risk-taking artists in the new cinema
landscape who demonstrate raw innovation and creativity in documentary and
narrative filmmaking.

Disaster Playground (UK)
Director: Nelly Ben Hayoun
Hollywood relies on Bruce Willis to save the world in Armageddon, but
who are the real-life heroes seeking to save our civilization from the next
major asteroid impact? (World Premiere)

Honeytrap (UK)
Director/Screenwriter: Rebecca Johnson
Honeytrap is a tragic teen romance, set in London and inspired by true
events. It tells the story of 15 year old Layla, who sets up the boy in love
with her to be killed. Cast: Jessica Sula, Lucien Laviscount, Ntonga Mwanza,
Naomi Ryan, Danielle Vitalis, Lauren Johns, Savannah Gordon-Liburd, Tosin Cole.
American Premiere)

Petting Zoo (Germany/USA/Greece)
Director/Screenwriter: Micah Magee
A story of love, sex and teen pregnancy in San Antonio, Texas. Petting
 is the portrait of a young woman coming into her own, in an
environment that does not always present ideal circumstances. Cast:
Devon Keller, Austin Reed, Deztiny Gonzales, Kiowa Tucker.
American Premiere)

Sailing A Sinking Sea
Director: Olivia Wyatt
Sailing a Sinking Sea is a feature-length experimental documentary
exploring the culture of one of the smallest ethnic minority groups in Asia,
the Moken of Thailand and Burma. (World Premiere)


Scary, funny, sexy, controversial – provocative after-dark
features for night owls and the terminally curious.

The Invitation
Director: Karyn Kusama, Screenwriters: Phil Hay, Matt Manfredi
While attending a dinner party at his former home, a man thinks his ex-wife and
her new husband have sinister intention for their guests. Cast: Logan
Marshall-Green, Tammy Blanchard, Michiel Huisman, Emayatzy Corinealdi, Lindsay
Burdge, John Carroll Lynch, Mike Doyle, Michelle Krusiec, Karl Yune, Jordi
 (World Premiere)

Turbo Kid (Canada/New Zealand)
Director/Screenwriter: RKSS Collective
In a post-apocalyptic future, The Kid, a young solitary scavenger obsessed with
comic books must face his fears and become a hero when he meets a mysterious
girl named APPLE. Cast: Michael Ironside, Munro Chambers, Laurence
Leboeuf, Edwin Wright, Aaron Jeffrey.

24 Beats Per Second 

Showcasing the sounds, culture & influence of music & musicians, with
an emphasis on documentary. New for 2015: Open to Music badgeholders.

Director: Jessica Edwards
Her family group, the Staple Singers, inspired millions and helped
propel the civil rights movement with their music. After 60 years of
performing, legendary singer Mavis Staples’ message of love and equality is
needed now more than ever. (World Premiere)

They Will Have To Kill Us First (UK)
Director: Johanna Schwartz, Screenwriters: Johanna Schwartz, Andy Morgan
Islamic extremists have banned music in Mali, but its world-class
musicians won’t give up without a fight. From conflict, to exile, to
homecoming, this film follows the story of Mali’s musicians as they fight for
their right to sing. (World Premiere)


A diverse selection of International filmmaking talent, featuring
innovative narratives, artful documentaries, premieres, festival favorites and

15 Corners of the World (Poland)
Director/Screenwriter: Zuzanna Solakiewicz
Imagine the sound that can be touched and seen by each of us. You can
see unknown corners of the world. Just let your eyes follow your ears. (U.S.

The Ceremony (Sweden)
Director/Screenwriter: Lina Mannheimer
France’s most famous dominatrix, two close friends and two lovers share
their innermost thoughts about love, friendship, dominance and submission – as
we meet the unusual and fascinating author Catherine Robbe-Grillet and her
inner circle. (North American Premiere)

Free Entry (Hungary)
Director/Screenwriter: Yvonne Kerékgyártó
Free Entry is an adventurous journey to adulthood as two 16-year-old girls
risk their first steps towards independence, in different ways at the biggest
international summer festival of Hungary. Cast: Luca Pusztai, Ágnes
Barta, Péter Sándor, Róbert Kardos, Ádám Kovács, Barnabás Janka, Tibor Szolár,
Anna Nemes, Katica Nagy.
 (North American Premiere)

Good Things Await (Denmark)
Director: Phie Ambo, Screenwriters: Phie Ambo, Maggie Olkuska
Niels is one of the last idealistic farmers in the agricultural country
of Denmark. But Niels’ ways of farming in accordance with the planets and the
primal instincts of the animals are not too popular with the authorities. (U.S.

Limbo (Germany)
Director/Screenwriter: Anna Sofie Hartmann
A small town on the outskirts of Denmark. Two women – a teenage girl and
her schoolteacher – build a strange connection that transforms both of them. A
subtle, beautiful, personal film on the state of youth and the uncertainty of
being. Cast: Annika Nuka Mathiassen, Sofía Nolsøe. (North
American Premiere)

Festival Favorites

Acclaimed standouts & selected previous premieres from festivals
around the world.

City of Gold
Director: Laura Gabbert
City of Gold is a documentary portrait that takes us into Jonathan Gold’s
universe to tell the improbable story of a revolution inspired by the pen, but
driven by the palate.

Director: Kris Swanberg, Screenwriters: Kris Swanberg, Megan Mercier
An inner-city high school teacher discovers she is pregnant at the same
time as one of her most promising students and the two develop an unlikely
friendship while struggling to navigate their unexpected pregnancies. Cast:
Cobie Smulders, Anders Holm, Gail Bean, Elizabeth McGovern.

 [via SXSW]

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