Female-Directed Films at SXSW 2019

Female-Directed Films at SXSW 2019

This year has been fantastic as we have seen a focus on the presence of more females in the industry in all capacities, especially directing.  At Sundance 2019, 46% of the films in competition were directed by females.  Ahead of SXSW in Austin, they have announced 60% of the films in competition are directed by females. These changes are huge steps toward inclusion in film and gender balance behind the camera. Here is the list of female-directed films hitting the festival this year:

NARRATIVE FEATURE COMPETITION 
Ten world premieres, ten unique ways to celebrate the art of storytelling. Selected from 1,346 narrative feature submissions in 2019.

Alice (France)
Director/Screenwriter: Josephine Mackerras
She did everything right until it all went wrong. Cast: Emilie Piponnier, Martin Swabey, Chloe Boreham (World Premiere)

Go Back to China (China, U.S.)
Director/Screenwriter: Emily Ting
After spoiled rich girl Sasha Li (Anna Akana) blows through half of her trust fund, she is cut off by her father (Richard Ng) and forced to go back to China and work for the family toy business. Cast: Anna Akana, Richard Ng, Lynn Chen, Kelly Hu, Kendy Cheung, Aviva Wang (World Premiere)

Mickey and the Bear
Director/Screenwriter: Annabelle Attanasio
Faced with the responsibility to take care of her addict, veteran father, headstrong teen Mickey Peck keeps her household afloat. When she has the opportunity to leave for good, she must choose between familial obligation and personal fulfillment. Cast: Camila Morrone, James Badge Dale, Calvin Demba, Ben Rosenfield, Rebecca Henderson (World Premiere)

South Mountain
Director/Screenwriter: Hilary Brougher
When her teenagers head off to camp and her husband abruptly leaves her to begin a new family, Lila is left to her own curious and chaotic devices for a summer in her rural home in the Catskill mountains. Cast: Talia Balsam, Scott Cohen, Andrus Nichols, Michael Oberholtzer, Naian Gonzalez, Midori Francis, Macaulee Rusnak Cassaday, Isis Masoud, Violet Rea, Guthrie Mass (World Premiere)

Yes, God, Yes
Director/Screenwriter: Karen Maine
After an innocent AOL chat turns racy, a Catholic teenager in the early 00s discovers masturbating and struggles to suppress her urges in the face of eternal damnation. Cast: Natalia Dyer, Timothy Simons, Wolfgang Novogratz, Francesca Reale, Susan Blackwell, Parker Wierling, Alisha Boe, Donna Lynne Champlin (World Premiere)

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE COMPETITION 
Ten world premieres, ten real-world stories that demonstrate innovation, energy and bold voices. Selected from 1,005 feature documentary submissions in 2018.

Ernie & Joe
Director: Jenifer McShane
Ernie & Joe follows two officers with the San Antonio Police Department mental health unit who are diverting people away from jail and into mental health treatment — one 911 call at a time. (World Premiere)

For Sama (United Kingdom)
Directors: Waad al-Khateab, Edward Watts
For Sama tells the epic story of a young woman’s journey through love, war and motherhood across five years of the uprising in Aleppo, Syria. (World Premiere)

Museum Town
Director: Jennifer Trainer, Screenwriters: Noah Bashevkin, Pola Rapaport, Jennifer Trainer
From the ashes of a deserted factory, an ambitious center for contemporary art has emerged. With MASS MoCA, a familiar story of deindustrialization in a rural American town finds an unconventional route to recovery. (World Premiere)

Nothing Fancy: Diana Kennedy (United Kingdom, U.S.)
Director: Elizabeth Carroll
Award-winning cookbook author, diehard environmentalist and feisty British nonagenarian Diana Kennedy reflects on an unconventional life spent mastering the cuisines of Mexico. (World Premiere)

Stuffed (Canada, U.S.)
Director: Erin Derham
Stuffed is a documentary feature film about the surprising world of taxidermy and the passionate artists across the world who see life where others only see death. (World Premiere)

We Are The Radical Monarchs
Director: Linda Goldstein Knowlton
Meet the Radical Monarchs, a group of young girls of color at the front lines of social justice. Set in Oakland, the film documents the journey of the group as they form, grow, and earn badges for units like “Black Lives Matter” and “Radical Beauty” (World Premiere)

Well Groomed
Director/Screenwriter: Rebecca Stern
Well Groomed travels the humorous, visually stunning world of Competitive Creative Dog Grooming alongside the colorful women transforming their beloved poodles into living sculptures. (World Premiere)

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

Booksmart
Director: Olivia Wilde, Screenwriters: Emily Halpern, Sarah Haskins, Susanna Fogel, Katie Silberman
On the eve of graduating high school, two academic superstars and best friends realize they should have worked less and played more. Determined to not fall short of their peers, the girls set out on a mission to cram four years of fun into one night. Cast: Kaitlyn Dever, Beanie Feldstein, Jessica Williams, Will Forte, Lisa Kudrow, Jason Sudeikis (World Premiere)

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

Mother’s Little Helpers
Director/Screenwriter: Kestrin Pantera
When Joy Pride, a groovy 70’s burn-out on the caboose of the flower power movement learns she has weeks to live, her estranged children come together to do right by a mother who always did them wrong. Cast: Breeda Wool, Melanie Hutsell, David Giuntoli, Sam Littlefield, Kestrin Pantera, Milana Vayntrub (World Premiere)

Sword of Trust
Director: Lynn Shelton, Screenwriters: Lynn Shelton, Mike O’Brien
A curmudgeonly pawnshop owner and his man-child sidekick team up with an out of town couple to cash in on a family heirloom: a sword believed by alt history conspiracy nuts to be proof that the South won the Civil War. Cast: Marc Maron, Jon Bass, Michaela Watkins, Jillian Bell, Toby Huss, Dan Bakkedahl, Tim Paul, Whitmer Thomas (World Premiere)

The Wall of Mexico (U.S., Mexico)
Directors: Zachary Cotler, Magdalena Zyzak, Screenwriter: Zachary Cotler
A young white handyman, hired by a wealthy Mexican-American family to upkeep their ranch, finds himself caught between disgruntled locals and the family’s outrageously decadent daughters and discovers that something quite unusual is happening at the ranch. Cast: Jackson Rathbone, Esai Morales, Marisol Sacramento, Carmela Zumbado, Alex Meneses, Moises Arias, with Mariel Hemingway, and Xander Berkeley (World Premiere)

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

Building the American Dream
Director: Chelsea Hernandez
In Texas, construction workers face the deadliest conditions in the country. Building the American Dream follows three immigrant families who are rising up to seek justice and equality in an industry rife with exploitation. (World Premiere)

I Love You, Now Die: The Commonwealth Vs. Michelle Carter
Director: Erin Lee Carr
Teen Michelle Carter’s actions shocked a nation — but what really happened behind closed doors? This HBO special showcases the prosecution’s point of view and alternately the defense’s. Which side do you fall on? (World Premiere)

It Started As a Joke
Directors: Julie Smith Clem, Ken Druckerman
It Started As a Joke documents the decade-long run of the Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival. The film celebrates Eugene’s unique brand of humor and reminds us of the healing properties of comedy – even in the most challenging of life’s circumstances. (World Premiere)

Qualified
Director: Jenna Ricker
In the world of motorsports, the Indianapolis 500 has long been considered the only race. In May 1977, Janet Guthrie — the first woman to attempt Indy — earned herself a spot in the prestigious field of 33. (World Premiere)

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

Becoming Leslie
Director: Tracy Frazier, Screenwriters: Sandra Guardado, Tracy Frazier
Becoming LESLIE reveals the inner and bizarre world of Leslie Cochran, a cross-dressing homeless misfit who became the most iconic and unlikely civic symbol of Austin, Texas. (World Premiere)

J.R. “Bob” Dobbs and The Church of the SubGenius
Director: Sandy K Boone, Screenwriters: Sandy K Boone, Jason Wehling
This film explores the underground movement that has galvanized the imaginative, the artistic, the nerdy, even the deranged – to examine the simmering dystopia in their culture, and do absolutely nothing about it… except, maybe, poke fun at it all. (World Premiere)

Jezebel
Director/Screenwriter: Numa Perrier
A true story. In the last days of her mother’s life, 19-year-old Tiffany crashes with five family members in a Las Vegas studio apartment. In order to make ends meet, her sister, a phone sex operator, introduces her to the world of fetish cam girls. Cast: Tiffany Tenille, Numa Perrier, Stephen Barrington, Bobby Field, Brett Gelman, Rockwelle Dortch, Zoe Tyson, Dennis Jaffee, Jessa Zarubica (World Premiere)

One Man Dies a Million Times (Belarus)
Director/Screenwriter: Jessica Oreck
Set in the future, a story about seeds and genetic diversity, about growth and decay, about love and war, and about hunger of all kinds. Cast: Alyssa Lozovskaya, Maksim Blinov (World Premiere)

Romantic Comedy (United Kingdom)
Director: Elizabeth Sankey
Musician and writer Elizabeth Sankey investigates the past, present and future of romantic comedies, assisted by a chorus of critics, actors and filmmakers. (World Premiere)

Tito (Canada)
Director/Screenwriter: Grace Glowicki
A desperate man seeks refuge from the predators hunting him by befriending a cheerful intruder. Cast: Grace Glowicki, Ben Petrie (World Premiere)

24 BEATS PER SECOND
Showcasing the sounds, culture and influence of music and musicians, with an emphasis on documentary.

The Chills: The Triumph and Tragedy of Martin Phillipps (New Zealand)
Director: Julia Parnell, Rob Curry
New Zealand music genius Martin Phillipps fights his creative demons, conquers the music world, inspires a generation, and then retreats into depression, addiction and anonymity. (World Premiere)

GLOBAL
A diverse selection of international filmmaking talent, featuring innovative narratives, artful documentaries, premieres, festival favorites and more.

Aleksi (Serbia)
Director/Screenwriter: Barbara Vekarić
A character piece about funny and troubled girl in her 20s, forced to move back in with her overbearing family. Cast: Tihana Lazović, Goran Marković, Sebastian Cavazza, Nataša Janjić, Jason Mann, Aljoša Vučović, Neda Arnerić, Leon Lučev(North American Premiere)

Aurora (Finland)
Director/Screenwriter: Miia Tervo
Aurora, a commitment-phobic party animal, meets Iranian Amir one night at a hot-dog stand in Lapland. Amir is running from death and Aurora is running from love. They need each other in order to finally stop running. Cast: Mimosa Willamo, Amir Escandari, Oona Airola, Hannu-Pekka Björkman, Miitta Sorvali (North American Premiere)

Being Impossible (Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of)
Director: Patricia Ortega, Screenwriters: Patricia Ortega, Enmanuel Chávez
A young woman discovers she was submitted to several surgeries to correct her intersexual body as a baby. She has to find her own self outside gender binaries. (North American Premiere)

Cachada: The Opportunity (El Salvador)
Director/Screenwriter: Marlén Viñayo<
Five Salvadoran saleswomen want to take their cruel life stories to the stage. During the rehearsal process of their play, they’ll discover themselves as victims and victimizers in a cycle of violence that has plagued their families for generations. (World Premiere)

Days of the Whale (Colombia)
Director/Screenwriter: Catalina Arroyave Restrepo
Two young graffiti artists of Medellín defy a criminal gang when they decide to paint the mural of a whale over a threat written in a wall. Cast: Laura Tobón, David Escallón, Carlos Fonnegra, Christian Tappan, Julián Giraldo, Natalia Castaño, Margarita Restrepo (World Premiere)

La Mala Noche (Ecuador, Mexico)
Director/Screenwriter: Gabriela Calvache
She is the perfect woman until she decides to be free. Cast: Nöelle Schönwald, Cristian Mercado, Jaime Tamariz, Ariana Freire (World Premiere)

Vai (New Zealand)
Directors: Nicole Whippy, ‘Ofa-Ki-Levuka Guttenbeil-Likiliki, Matasila Freshwater, Amberley Jo Aumua, Mīria George, Marina Alofagia McCartney, Dianna Fuemana, Becs Arahanga
Vai is a portmanteau feature film by nine Polynesian directors and filmed on seven different pacific islands. It is about the journey of empowerment through culture, over the lifetime of one woman, Vai. (World Premiere)

X&Y (Denmark, Sweden)
Director: Anna Odell, Screenwriters: Anna Odell, Jakob Beckman
Swedish director and visual artist, Anna Odell (The Reunion), conducts a social experiment in which she aims to challenge the gender roles that men and women have in the society of today. Cast: Anna Odell, Mikael Persbrandt, Trine Dyrholm, Vera Vitali, Shanti Roney, Sofie Gråbøl, Jens Albinus, Thure Lindhardt (North American Premiere)

Written by
Ashley Menzel is an avid film lover and lives in Los Angeles, CA. She loves foreign films and dramas and reading books that have film adaptations. Her favorite movie of all time is One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. She loves Doctor Who, Supernatural, iZombie, and Grimm.

Your Vote

1 0

Lost Password

Please enter your username or email address. You will receive a link to create a new password via email.

Sign Up