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33% of 2015 Oscar-Submitted Docs Directed by Women

33% of 2015 Oscar-Submitted Docs Directed by Women

Of the 124 documentary features submitted for the 2016 Oscar race, 41, or exactly a third, are directed or co-directed by women. Nine of thosee 41 films are co-directed with a male helmer.

Half of the documentary shorts that have made it to the Oscar shortlist, or five out of ten, are also female-helmed. 

Oscar nominee Amy Berg, who had a great year, has two films in the documentary feature race: “Janis: Little Girl Blue,” about Janis Joplin, and “Prophet’s Prey,” a portrait of FLDS leader Warren Jeffs.

Another possible shortlister is the twice-Oscar-nominated Liz Garbus’ “What Happened, Miss Simone?,” which traces Nina Simone’s turbulent career and fight for civil rights. (Read Women and Hollywood’s review of “What Happened, Miss Simone?” and listen to our interview with Garbus.)
Other high-profile docs include Leslee Udwin’s “India’s Daughter,” about the brutal gang rape and and murder of a college student in New Delhi and global rape culture. “When something is so shocking precisely because it holds a mirror up to truth, people sit up and take notice because it moves them — it gets into the heart and the soul. The film was always designed as a campaign, so it’s doing its work,” Udwin told Women and Hollywood.

Then there are the underdogs in the race. Crystal Moselle’s Sundance hit, “The Wolfpack,” follows six brothers whose primary knowledge of the world outside their cramped NYC apartment comes from watching movies. In “Something Better to Come,” Hanna Polak profiles a homeless girl in Moscow for 14 years, who’s trying to retain dignity while living in a landfill. Laurie Anderson’s “Heart of A Dog” is an essayistic tribute to the artist’s dead rat terrier, Lolabelle, interweaving the filmmaker’s memories of and thoughts on love, death, politics, storytelling, fantasy and memory itself with humor, absurdity and tragedy.

See all of the women-directed features and shorts below. 

Women-Directed Documentary Features Submitted for the 2015 Oscar Race:

Above and Beyond – Roberta Grossman
The Armor of Light – Abigail Disney and Kathleen Hughes
Batkid Begins – Dana Nachman
Brand: A Second Coming – Ondi Timoner
A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story – Sara Bordo
Censored Voices – Mor Loushy
CodeGirl – Lesley Chilcott
Dark Horse – Louise Osmond
(Dis)Honesty – The Truth about Lies – Yael Melamede
Dreamcatcher” – Kim Longinotto
Farewell to Hollywood – Regina Nicholson (Co-Directed)
The Forecaster – Karin Steinberger (Co-Directed)
Frame by Frame – Alexandria Bombach, Mo Scarpelli
Gardeners of Eden – Anneliese Vandenberg (Co-Directed)
A Gay Girl in Damascus: The Amina Profile – Sophie Deraspe
Godspeed: The Story of Page Jones – Luann Barry
Heart of a Dog – Laurie Anderson
In My Father’s House – Ricki Stern and Anne Sundberg
India’s Daughter – Leslee Udwin
Janis: Little Girl Blue – Amy Berg
Meet the Patels – Geeta Patel (Co-Directed)
Meru – Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi (Co-Directed)
My Voice, My Life – Ruby Yang
1971 – Johanna Hamilton
One Cut, One Life – Lucia Small (Co-Directed)
Polyfaces – Lisa Heenan and Isaebella Doherty
Prophet’s Prey – Amy Berg
Rosenwald – Aviva Kempner
Seeds of Time – Sandy McLeod
Sherpa” – Jennifer Peedom
Something Better to Come – Hanna Polak
Song of Lahore – Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy
Stray Dog – Debra Granik
Sunshine Superman – Marah Strauch
The Tainted Veil – Nahla Al Fahad (Co-Directed)
(T)error – Lyric R. Cabral (Co-Directed)
Thao’s Library – Elizabeth Van Meter
Twinsters – Samantha Futerman (Co-Directed)
Very Semi-Serious: A Partially Thorough Portrait of New Yorker Cartoonists – Leah Wolchok
What Happened, Miss Simone? – Liz Garbus
The Wolfpack – Crystal Moselle

Women-Directed Documentary Shorts on Oscar’s 2015 Shortlist:

Chau, beyond the lines – Courtney Marsh 
A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness – Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy
Last Day of Freedom – Dee Hibbert-Jones, Nomi Talisman
My Enemy, My Brother – Ann Shin
The Testimony – Vanessa Block

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