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SXSW Line Up: Not Great for Women Directors

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by Kerensa Cadenas
February 4, 2013 9:31 AM
3 Comments
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Fresh on the heels of Sundance is SXSW’s film line up. While there are some awesome women-directed films featured such as Sini Anderson's documentary, The Punk Singer, about Kathleen Hanna, unlike Sundance, I’m sad to say, the numbers for women directors aren’t great. Out of the 16 films in the Narrative/Documentary Feature Competition, there are 4 (2 and 2) directed by women. The numbers run low in all categories with no women-directed or written films in the Headliners category to a “high” of 4/18 directed by women in the Narrative Spotlight category and 4/16 in the Visions category.

This isn’t great considering the optimism the Sundance line up numbers brought.

SXSW will announce their midnight films and shorts next week. We’ll see how women are represented there as well.

This year, Women and Hollywood will be at SXSW covering the festival.

Here’s a list of all the women directed films at SXSW. Go to the link for a full list of films.

NARRATIVE FEATURE COMPETITION

This year’s 8 films were selected from 1,191 submissions. Each film is a World Premiere.

Improvement Club: Director/Screenwriter: Dayna Hanson

When their big gig falls through, a ragtag, avant-garde performance group with a political message struggles to find their audience—and the motivating force behind their work.

Cast: Magge Brown, Dave Proscia, Wade Madsen, Jessie Smith, Pol Rosenthal (World Premiere)

Swim Little Fish Swim (USA, France) - Director/Screenwriter: Ruben Amar, Lola Bessis

Between surrealism, unusual characters, art and magic tricks, Swim Little Fish Swim is a dreamlike journey from childhood to adulthood.

Cast: Dustin Guy Defa, Anne Consigny, Brooke Bloom, Lola Bessis, Olivia Durling Costello (World Premiere)

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE COMPETITION

This year’s 8 films were selected from 905 submissions. Each film is a World Premiere.

Los Wild Ones - Director: Elise Salomon

Wild Records is an indie label reminiscent of the early days of Sun Records. The label is based in LA and run by Reb Kennedy aka Mr. Wild Records and is comprised of young Latin musicians who write and perform 50s Rock n Roll. (World Premiere)

Touba - Director: Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi

With unprecedented access and dynamic 16mm cinematography, Touba reveals a different face of Islam by chronicling Sufi Muslims' annual pilgrimage to the city of Touba. (World Premiere)

NARRATIVE SPOTLIGHT

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

Grow Up, Tony Phillips - Director/Screenwriter: Emily Hagins

A comedy about a Halloween-obsessed high school senior who doesn’t think childhood passions should have an expiration date.

Cast: Tony Vespe, AJ Bowen, Devin Bonnée, Katie Folger, Byron Brown (World Premiere)

Gus -  Director/Screenwriter: Jessie Mccormack

Lizzie, married and longing for a child, can’t conceive. Her best friend, Andie, single and lacking any maternal instincts, gets pregnant from a one-night-stand and offers to give her baby to Lizzie, testing the relationships of everyone involved.

Cast: Michelle Monaghan, Radha Mitchell, Jon Dore, Michael Weston, Mimi Kennedy (World Premiere)

Some Girl(s) - Director: Daisy Von Scherler Mayer, Screenwriter: Neil LaBute

On the eve of his wedding, a successful writer travels around the country to meet up with ex-lovers in an attempt to make amends for his wrongdoings.

Cast: Adam Brody, Kristen Bell, Zoe Kazan, Mía Maestro, Jennifer Morrison, Emily Watson (World Premiere)

Zero Charisma - Directors: Katie Graham, Andrew Matthews, Screenwriter: Andrew Matthews

An obsessive fantasy nerd gradually becomes unhinged when a charismatic hipster joins his D&D game.

Cast: Sam Eidson, Garrett Graham, Brock England, Anne Gee Byrd, Cyndi Williams, Brian Losoya, Vincent Prendergast, Katie Folger, John Gholson, Dakin Matthews (World Premiere)

DOCUMENTARY SPOTLIGHT

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

The Network (Australia, UK) - Director: Eva Orner

Set behind the scenes at the largest television network in one of the most dangerous places on earth: Afghanistan. (World Premiere)

Spark: A Burning Man Story - Directors: Steve Brown, Jessie Deeter

What happens when you allow yourself to act on your dreams? Spark takes us behind the curtain with organizers and participants of Burning Man, revealing a year of unprecedented challenges and growth. (World Premiere)

VISIONS

Audacious, risk-taking artists in the new cinema landscape that demonstrate raw innovation and creativity in documentary and narrative filmmaking.

ELENA (Brazil) - Director: Petra Costa

Elena moves to NY with the dream of becoming a movie actress. She leaves behind Petra, her 7- year-old sister. Years later, her sister Petra goes to NY to look for Elena. (North American Premiere)

Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction (Switzerland) - Director: Sophie Huber

An iconic actor and passionate musician in his intimate moments, with film clips from some of his 250 films and his own heart-breaking renditions of American folk songs. (U.S. Premiere)

Maidentrip - Director: Jillian Schlesinger

An intimate coming-of-age adventure set against the epic backdrop of the open sea, Maidentrip explores life through the eyes of 14-year-old Laura Dekker on her quest to become the youngest person ever to sail around the world alone. (World Premiere)

Our Nixon - Director: Penny Lane

Recently discovered Super 8 home movies filmed by three of Richard Nixon’s closest aides – and fellow Watergate conspirators – offer an intimate and complex new glimpse into his presidency in this all-archival documentary. (North American Premiere)

24 BEATS PER SECOND

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

Good Vibrations (UK, Ireland) - Directors: Lisa Barros D'sa, Glenn Leyburn, Screenwriters: Colin Carberry, Glenn Patterson

A chronicle of Terri Hooley's life, a record-store owner instrumental in developing Belfast's punk-rock scene.

Cast: Richard Dormer, Jodie Whittaker, Michael Colgan, Karl Johnson, Liam Cunningham (North American Premiere)

The Punk Singer - Director: Sini Anderson

What happened to Kathleen Hanna? The Punk Singer - a feature-length documentary about the musician (Bikini Kill, Le Tigre) and feminist icon - tells the story of where she’s been, and where she is now. (World Premiere)

SX GLOBAL

A diverse panorama of international filmmaking talent, including premieres, interactive documentaries and shorts.

And Who Taught You To Drive? (Germany) - Director: Andrea Thiele

An American in Tokyo, a Korean in Bavaria, and a German in Mumbai: Prepare for a real culture clash when you have to pass your driving test again in another country ... A real life comedy. (North American Premiere)

Diario a Tres Voces / Three Voices (Mexico) - Director: Otilia Portillo Padua

We are always told that love lasts forever like in children’s fairy tales, but the reality is that people change and relationships expire. (North American Premiere)

The Fifth Season (Belgium, Netherlands, France) - Directors/Screenwriters: Peter Brosens & Jessica Woodworth

In a village, a mysterious calamity strikes: spring doesn't come.

Cast: Aurélia Poirier, Django Schrevens, Sam Louwyck, Gill Vancompernolle

FESTIVAL FAVORITES

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

A Teacher - Director/Screenwriter: Hannah Fidell

A popular high school teacher in Austin, Texas has an affair with one of her students. Her life begins to unravel as the relationship comes to an end.

Cast: Lindsay Burdge, Will Brittain, Jennifer Prediger, Julie Dell Phillips, Jonny Mars, Chris Doubek

SXSW Film Announces 2013 Features Lineup; Latest From Bryan Poyser and John Sayles Among World Premieres (Indiewire)

Free Indie Movies and Documentaries    

3 Comments

  • SXSW | February 5, 2013 2:26 PMReply

    You should probably fix the title and other various misspellings of SXSW. Seriously, I can't even read this.

  • Melissa Silverstein | February 5, 2013 3:03 PM

    Please tell us what we got wrong and we are happy to fix.

  • Alexandra | February 5, 2013 12:17 PMReply

    More women directors needed indeed. But also more movies ABOUT women. Some of the selections are just movies about men directed by women. While I'm not saying I don't appreciate women directors who do that, I want to see more movies by and about women. I make up 52% of the population so I have a right to ask that.

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