There are many films directed by women in the lineup, which you can find below. Look for part two where we’ll focus on the films written by women.
World Narrative Feature Competition
Sunlight Jr., directed and written by Laurie Collyer. (USA) – World Premiere. Quickie-mart employee Melissa (Naomi Watts) and paraplegic Richie (Matt Dillon) are very much in love. Supported only by Melissa’s small hourly wage, they are nevertheless thrilled to learn that Melissa is pregnant. Then their situation deteriorates, and their tenuous financial situation threatens to bring their happy life crashing down. Norman Reedus also stars in this a moving romantic drama from Laurie Collyer, director of the Golden Globe-nominated Sherrybaby.
World Documentary Feature Competition
Aatsinki: The Story Of Arctic Cowboys, directed and written by Jessica Oreck. (Finland) – World Premiere. In the forests of Finnish Lapland, brothers Aarne and Lasse Aatsinki carry on the generations-old tradition of reindeer herding. These modern cowboys maintain an intricate bond with the environment that has allowed them to preserve their lifestyle in one of the harshest climates imaginable. Jessica Oreck’s intimate, gorgeously lensed documentary follows the brothers for a year, sharing in the hard work, daily rituals and small joys that make up life above the Arctic Circle. In Finnish with subtitles.
Big Men, directed by Rachel Boynton, written by Rachel Boynton. (USA) – World Premiere. For her latest industrial exposé, Rachel Boynton (Our Brand Is Crisis) gained unprecedented access to Africa’s oil companies. The result is a gripping account of the costly personal tolls levied when American corporate interests pursue oil in places like Ghana and the Niger River Delta. Executive produced by Steven Shainberg and Brad Pitt, Big Men investigates the caustic blend of ambition, corruption and greed that threatens to exacerbate Africa’s resource curse. In English, Other, Twi with subtitles.
The Genius of Marian, directed by Banker White and Anna Fitch. (USA) – World Premiere. Weaving past into present, filmmakers Banker White (Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars) and Anna Fitch immerse the audience in the daily life of White’s mother, Pam. Her Alzheimer’s threatens to wipe out the memory of her own mother, Marian, a celebrated artist who died of the same disease. Beautifully edited, The Genius of Marian retraces both women’s lives to paint a complex and powerful contemporary portrait of motherhood, chronic illness and legacy.
Powerless (Katiyabaaz), directed by Fahad Mustafa, Deepti Kakkar, written by Mustafa. (India) – North American Premiere. Would you risk your life to flip a switch? In Kanpur, India, putting oneself in harm’s way to deliver electrical power is all too common. Powerless sheds light on the opposing corners of this political ring, from an electrical Robin Hood tapping wires for neighbors to the myopic utility company whose failure to understand economics forces it deeper into financial disarray. This vibrant exposé gives a whole new meaning to the words “power struggle.” In English, Hindi with subtitles.
Raw Herring (Hollandse Nieuwe), directed by Leonard Retel Helmrich and Hetty Naaijkens-Retel Helmrich. (Netherlands) – World Premiere. Every year millions of people look forward to the first preparation of Hollandse Nieuwe, the popular snack of raw herring from the North Sea’s spring catch. But how do you find glory in the grueling pursuit of a once-iconic fish that even the queen no longer accepts as definitively Dutch? Raw Herring celebrates the cultural legacy maintained by Holland’s last great herring fishers even as new trends and foreign competition threaten their way of life. In Dutch with subtitles.
BIG JOY: The Adventures of James Broughton, directed by Stephen Silha, Eric Slade, and Dawn Logsdon. (USA) – New York Premiere, Documentary. A charismatic and visionary poet and filmmaker who emerged in the artistic renaissance of post-WWII San Francisco, James Broughton led a completely unconventional existence in his lifelong quest for creative artistry, sexual and spiritual love and an evolved state of happiness. BIG JOY is a celebratory mosaic of Broughton¹s deeply intertwined creative and personal lives, vividly depicted through his involvement with a wide array of artists, activists and spiritual guides.
Bridegroom, directed and written by Linda Bloodworth Thomason. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. Bridegroom gives an intensely personal edge to the ongoing debate over the legal rights of same-sex couples. Interviews, photos and video footage all testify to the uncommon connection that drew together Shane and Tom. For six years they remained united despite extreme challenges from both family and society, until a tragic accident tears apart their dreams. Now one must fight to be recognized as his soulmate’s legitimate counterpart.
Deep Powder, directed by Mo Ogrodnik. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. Natasha is a reckless boarding school senior tabbed by her exclusive club to make its yearly cocaine run to Ecuador. Coming along for the ride is Danny, a twenty-year-old aspiring hockey player from the other side of the tracks, who may just discover that he has fallen for the wrong girl. Starring up-and-comers Haley Bennett and Shiloh Fernandez, this ’80s-set love story based on true events is a sexy, fast-paced and intense drama.
Farah Goes Bang, directed by Meera Menon, written by Laura Goode and Menon. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. Farah hits the road with her buddies to stump for John Kerry in the 2004 presidential election, hoping the trip will be her opportunity to finally shed her unwanted virginity. She soon finds her efforts on both political and sexual fronts continuously thwarted. Comically balancing that moment’s climate of intolerance with a universal coming-of-age tale, Farah Goes Bang paints a comic portrait of the overdue growing pains of a group of girlfriends and the country itself.
Flex Is Kings, directed by Deidre Schoo and Michael Nichols. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. Journey to the edge of Brooklyn and of street performance itself in this sparkling portrait of the freeing power of art. Reem is the savvy promoter, Flizzo the undefeated local legend, Jay Don the innovator with the talent to carry him far away from home. Uniting them is a competitive dance form of dramatic contortions, simulated violence, flowing footsteps and the occasional humorous touch. Welcome to the world of Flex.
The Moment, directed by Jane Weinstock, written by Jane Gloria Norris and Weinstock. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. After a tumultuous affair between international photojournalist Lee (Jennifer Jason Leigh) and troubled artist John (Martin Henderson) ends in John’s disappearance, Lee lands in a mental hospital to recuperate. She strikes up a friendship with a fellow patient bearing an uncanny resemblance to her missing lover. The pair works to uncover the truth behind the disappearance, but Lee’s precarious sanity comes under threat when the clues lead to the last place she would ever expect.
Run and Jump, directed by Steph Green, written by Ailbhe Keogan. (Ireland, Germany) – World Premiere, Narrative. After a stroke leaves her husband disabled and fundamentally changed, a spirited Irish wife struggles to keep her family members together. All the while they are under the microscope of an American researcher documenting their recovery process. From Academy Award®-nominated director and TFF alumna Steph Green comes an emotional journey of family and recovery featuring Saturday Night Live star Will Forte in an impressive dramatic debut.
Wadjda, directed and written by Haifaa Al-Mansour. (Saudi Arabia, Germany) – U.S. Premiere, Narrative. Meet Wadjda (Waad Mohammed), a feisty, funny and wholly unconventional ten-year-old girl determined to scrounge up enough money to buy a bicycle, despite the societal repercussions sure to follow. The groundbreaking first feature film shot entirely in Saudi Arabia and the first by a female Saudi filmmaker, Wadjda offers a moving, rarely seen picture of everyday life in Riyadh: through the eyes of a girl unwilling to surrender what she wants. A Sony Pictures Classics release.
Bottled Up, directed and written by Enid Zentelis. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. In this modern-day drama, Oscar®-winner Melissa Leo beautifully conveys the heart-wrenching struggle that comes with loving an addict. Complaining of back pain months after a car accident, Sylvie’s (Marin Ireland) addiction to painkillers is clear to everyone except her mother, Faye (Leo). A promising solution appears in Becket (Josh Hamilton), but relationships and loyalty are soon tested when his feelings fall in an unexpected place.
A Case of You, directed by Kat Coiro, written by Justin Long, Keir O'Donnel, and Christian Long. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. A young writer (Justin Long) woos a cute and quirky barista (Evan Rachel Wood) by creating an embellished online profile. When she falls for his alter ego, he must keep up the act or lose his dream girl. Directed by TFF alumna Kat Coiro and featuring a cast of hilarious cameo performers including Peter Dinklage, Sam Rockwell, Vince Vaughn and Sienna Miller, A Case of You is a winning romantic comedy for the social media age.
The Director, directed by Christina Voros. (Italy) – World Premiere, Documentary. How do you make one of the world's most revered fashion brands your own? That is the task facing creative director Frida Giannini in this authoritative look at the past, present and future of The House of Gucci, directed by director/cinematographer Christina Voros (Kink) and co-produced by James Franco. Taking advantage of rare, behind-the-scenes access, Voros shows how the Florentine trendsetter has been reimagined in the past few years.
Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me, directed by Chiemi Karasawa. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. Broadway legend Elaine Stritch remains in the spotlight at eighty-seven years old. Join the uncompromising Tony and Emmy Award-winner both on and off stage in this revealing documentary. With interviews from Tina Fey, Nathan Lane, Hal Prince and others, Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me blends rare archival footage and intimate cinema vérité to reach beyond Stritch’s brassy exterior, revealing a multi-dimensional portrait of a complex woman and an inspiring artist.
I Got Somethin' to Tell You, directed by Whoopi Goldberg. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. Having broken racial and sexual boundaries as a pioneering comic talent, the late Moms Mabley has long been an icon in the comedy world. Now Whoopi Goldberg takes a deep dive into Mabley’s legacy via recently unearthed photography, rediscovered performance footage and the words of numerous celebrated comedians. A true passion project for Goldberg, I Got Somethin’ to Tell You shows Mabley’s historical significance and profound influence as a performer vastly ahead of her time.
Lil Bub & Friendz, directed by Andy Capper and Juliette Eisner. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. Called “the most famous cat on the Internet,” the wide-eyed perma-kitten Lil Bub is the adorable embodiment of the Web’s fascination with all things cats. Join Lil Bub and her owner on wild cross-country romp as they meet the Internet’s most famous cat-lebrities. Chock full of adorable kitties, hilarious videos and the dedicated cat enthusiasts who love them, Lil Bub & Friendz is a fun and hip peek behind the memes we know and love. Includes Mike "The Dude" Bridavsky, Ben Lashes, Grumpy Cat, Nyan Cat, Keyboard Cat.
The Pretty One, directed and written by Jenée LaMarque. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. Audrey has all of the qualities that her twin sister Laurel wishes she possessed: confidence, style, independence. When tragedy strikes, Laurel has the opportunity to reinvent herself. In a complex performance, Zoe Kazan poignantly captures Laurel’s complex mix of loss and awakening, especially as she begins a new relationship with her neighbor (Jake Johnson). Jenée LaMarque’s first feature film is a quirky, lovely tale of identity and the eternal bond between two sisters.
The Reluctant Fundamentalist, directed by Mira Nair, written by Mohsin Hamid, William Wheeler, Ami Boghani. (India, Pakistan, USA) – U.S. Premiere, Narrative. Mira Nair (Monsoon Wedding, The Namesake) returns with another spellbinding adaptation of a celebrated bestseller. Pakistan-born Changez (Riz Ahmed) turns a Princeton degree into a cushy life on Wall Street with a gorgeous girlfriend (Kate Hudson). Then the Twin Towers fall, and his American dream shatters amid interrogations and overwhelming national distrust. He soon questions his allegiances, as this thriller exposes the dangers of being a stranger in your own land.Kiefer Sutherland, Liev Schreiber and Om Puri also star. An IFC Films release.
Richard Pryor: Omit the Logic, directed by Marina Zenovich, written by Peter Morgan. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. This moving portrait of legendary comedian Richard Pryor chronicles his life from his troubled youth in Peoria, Illinois, to his meteoric rise as one of the most respected comic actors of the 20th century. Often misunderstood during the height of his celebrity, the late superstar has never been profiled this extensively. Marina Zenovich’s revealing and entertaining film lays bare the demons with which he struggled and reminds us just how daring and dangerous artistic freedom can be. Includes interviews with Whoopi Goldberg, Robin Williams, Mel Brooks, Quincy Jones, Lily Tomlin, Jesse Jackson.
Dark Touch, directed and written by Marina de Van. (France) – World Premiere, Narrative. Niamh is the lone survivor of a bloody massacre after the furniture and objects in her family’s isolated house take on a monstrous life of their own. The police ignore her wild stories and the family friends and social worker who take her in try to introduce a new life. But in this psychological thriller, Niamh is unable to leave her violent past behind her, endangering everyone who crosses her path.
Sandy Storyline, Project Creators: Rachel Falcone, Laura Gottesdiener, and Michael Premo. (USA). Using audio, photography, text and video, Sandy Storyline is an ever-growing documentary narrative as community members and volunteers offer their accounts of the storm and the efforts to recover and rebuild local neighborhoods. The project forges a new type of media in time of crisis, one that is participatory, interactive and designed for community empowerment.
Running From Crazy, directed by Barbara Kopple. (USA) – New York Premiere, Documentary. Join actress Mariel Hemingway, granddaughter of legendary author Ernest Hemingway, as she examines the mental illness and suicide that colors her family’s history and tries to avert that fate for herself and her daughters. By mixing in remarkable archival footage of the three Hemingway sisters, two-time Academy Award®-winner Barbara Kopple expands one famous family’s deeply embedded truths into a broad picture of the courage it takes to face the past and change your future.