A new study commissioned by the Sundance Institute and Women in Film set out to determine whether a gender gap still exists among directors of independent film, and to no one’s surprise, the menfolk still reign supreme. But, we shall not fret. Rather than focus on folly, let us take note: women came out in force at Sundance this year; approximately half the dramatic film line-up featured female directors. We’ve still a long road to equality, but these ladies are busting down the boy’s club doors.
*Technically, 17 films and one series.
(Several of the Sundance videos feature the directors/actors giving more information about each film.)
1. Anne Fontaine (My Worst Nightmare, Coco Before Chanel)
Currently premiering: Two Mothers at Sundance; starring Naomi Watts, Robin Wright and Ben Mendelsohn . Lifelong friends fall for each others’ sons.
2. Sally Potter (Orlando, Rage)
Upcoming: Ginger & Rosa at the London Film Festival; starring Christina Hendricks, Elle Fanning, Annette Bening, Timothy Spall, Oliver Platt and Alice Englert. Set in 1960s London, a friendship between two teenaged girls is tested by the events that shape their lives. March 15, 2013.
3. Stacie Passon
Premiering : Concussion at Sundance; Robin Weigert, Maggie Siff and Johnathan Tchaikovsky. Wealthy suburban housewife begins living a double life.
4. Liz W. Garcia
Premiering: The Lifeguard at Sundance; starring Kristen Bell, Mamie Gummar, John Finn and Lisa Ann Goldsmith. A 30 year old reporter quits her job, goes back to
cougartown her hometown and gets involved with a 16 year old.
5. Lynn Shelton (Your Sister’s Sister, Humpday)
Premiering: Touchy Feely at Sundance; starring Rosemarie DeWitt, Hans Altwies, Kate Bayley and Alycia Delmore. A massage therapist and her dentist brother each experience mysterious changes to their practices.
6. Jerusha Hess
Premiering: Austenland at Sundance; starring Keri Russell, JJ Feild, James Callis, Jane Seymour and Jennifer Coolidge. Keri Russell is an American so fascinated by a BBC production of Pride and Prejudice, she travels to “Austenland,” a theme park for those who share her obsession.
7. Lake Bell
Premiering: In a World at Sundance; starring Lake Bell, Fred Melamed, Demetri Martin, Nick Offerman, Gina Davis. Bell stars as a vocal coach who sets out to outdo her “king-of-movie-trailers father,” and become a voiceover star.
8. Francesca Gregorini (Tanner Hall)
Currently premiering: Emanuel and the Truth about Fishes at Sundance; starring Jessica Biel, Kaya Scodelario and Frances O’Connor. A “troubled” girl becomes entranced with a new neighbor who looks like her dead mother.
9. Jill Soloway (Valencia)
Premiering: Afternoon Delight at Sundance; starring Juno Temple, Josh Radnor, Kathryn Hahn and Jane Lynch. A bored housewife thinks she can save a stripper by hiring the girl on as a nanny.
10. Jane Campion (Bright Star, In the Cut, Holy Smoke, The Piano)
Premiering: “Top of the Lake” (Seven Part Series) at Sundance; starring Elizabeth Moss, Holly Hunter, Cohen Holloway and Peter Mullan. Moss plays a detective investigating a missing pregnant 12 year old girl.
11. Susanne Bier (In a Better World, Things We Lost in the Fire, After the Wedding)
Upcoming: Serena, starring Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, Rhys Ifans, Toby Jones. Adaptation of the Ron Rash novel, Lawrence and Cooper play Serena and George, newlyweds who start a timber company in 1930s North Carolina. Serena proves to be ruthless, powerful, and perhaps even murderous when she finds she cannot bear a child. Release date tba, 2013.
12. Kimberly Peirce (Stop-Loss, Boys Don’t Cry)
Upcoming: Carrie, starring Chloë Grace Moretz, Julianne Moore and Judy Greer. Update/Remake of the Stephen King novel. October 18, 2013.
13. Lynne Ramsay (We Need to Talk About Kevin, Morvern Callar)
Upcoming: Jane Got a Gun, starring Michael Fassbender, Natalie Portman and Joel Edgerton. In this Western/Drama, Jane (Portman) needs help defending her farm home and critically injured husband (Edgerton) against a gang. Who you gonna call? (Fassbender) Release date tba, 2014.
14. Kelly Reichardt (Meek’s Cutoff, Wendy and Lucy)
Upcoming: Night Moves, starring Dakota Fanning, Jesse Eisenberg and Peter Sarsgaard. Environmental terrorists plan to blow up a hydroelectric dam. September 20, 2013.
15. Nicole Holofcener (Friends with Money, Lovely and Amazing)
Upcoming: Untitled…, starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus, James Gandolfini, Catherine Keener, Toni Collette, Rob Mayes and Ben Falcone. New friends, new guy…is new friend’s old guy. Got it? Release date tba, 2013.
16. Sandra Nettelbeck (Helen, Mostly Martha)
Upcoming: Mr. Morgan’s Last Love, starring Gillian Anderson, Michael Caine and Clémence Poésy. Adaptation of Francoise Dorner’s La Douceur Assassine; a widowed professor (Caine) falls for a young French woman (Poésy). Release date tba, 2013.
17. Cate Shortland (Somersault)
Upcoming: Lore, starring Saskia Rosendahl, Nele Trebs, André Frid. Selected as the Australian entry for the Best Foreign Language Oscar (not chosen for the shortlist). A story of family, set against the backdrop of the end of WWII. February 8, 2013.
18. Sofia Coppola (Somewhere, Marie Antoinette, Lost in Translation, The Virgin Suicides)
Upcoming: The Bling Ring, starring Emma Watson, Leslie Mann, Taissa Farmiga and Gavin Rossdale. Celebrity obsessed group of teens find the homes of their favorite celebs, and rob them. Based on true events. Release date tba, 2013.