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Vulture Includes No Women on 20 Essential Documentary List, Thom Powers Counters

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by Kerensa Cadenas
April 19, 2013 11:00 AM
7 Comments
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Recently, Vulture listed their 20 Essential Documentaries of the century. Documentaries from Michael Moore, Werner Herzog and Morgan Spurlock made the cut, but not a single women-directed documentary was on the list. There was commentary about the omission of of women on Twitter, which prompted Thom Powers, the guru of documentary curation who works for TIFF, Montclair and other festivals, to make a list of his favorite women-directed docs of the last century.

Powers also included a list of some new women-directed docs that will be at the upcoming Montclair Film Festival from April 29-May 5.

You can find Powers' lists below. What documentaries would you have added to Vulture's list?

Powers' Favorite Women-Directed docs of last century (in alpha order):

MANUFACTURED LANDSCAPES - Jennifer Baichwal

OPERATION FILMMAKER - Nina Davenport

12th & DELAWARE - Heidi Ewing, Rachel Grady (not to mention JESUS CAMP, et al)

PERVERT'S GUIDE TO CINEMA - Sophie Fiennes

FLYING: CONFESSIONS OF A FREE WOMAN - Jennifer Fox

BOBBY FISCHER AGAINST THE WORLD - Liz Garbus

SHUT UP & SING - Barbara Kopple

ROUGH AUNTIES - Kim Longinotto

CHISHOLM 72 - Shola Lynch

AFGHAN STAR - Havana Marking

THE SOUND OF MUMBAI: A MUSICAL - Sarah McCarthy

CONTROL ROOM - Jehane Noujaim

MY COUNTRY, MY COUNTRY - Laura Poitras

STORIES WE TELL - Sarah Polley

JOAN RIVERS: A PIECE OF WORK - Ricki Stern & Annie Sundberg

EXAMINED LIFE - Astra Taylor

THE GLEANERS & I - Agnes Varda

WASTE LAND - Lucy Walker

PROTAGONIST - Jessica Yu

ROMAN POLANSKI: WANTED AND DESIRED - Marina Zenovich + her follow up ODD MAN OUT

Montclair Films:

ZIPPER by Amy Nicholson on real estate battles in Coney Island

A GIRL AND A GUN by Cathryne Czubek on the feminization of gun culture

BEST KEPT SECRET by Samantha Buck on an inspiring teacher

VALENTINE ROAD by Marta Cunningham on a proud queer teen targeted by prejudice

BLACKFISH by Gabriela Cowperthwaite on Orca whales in captivity

EVERY DAY IS A HOLIDAY by Theresa Loong about her father's wartime secrets

AFTER TILLER by Martha Shane & Lana Wilson on abortion doctors; Full Frame award winner

ELAINE STRITCH: SHOOT ME by Chiemi Karasawa, premiering at Tribeca, then Montclair

GIDEON'S ARMY by Dawn Porter, winner of Sundance editing award & Miami Film Festival grand jury prize

The 20 Essential Documentaries of the Century (Vulture) 

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7 Comments

  • betsy | April 22, 2013 12:08 PMReply

    And what about the previous century? 20th. Very important woman made documentaries

  • Kathy | April 20, 2013 12:33 AMReply

    Thom Powers is so patronizing. He should have admitted that the "best documentaries" list is male chauvinistic.

  • Melissa Silverstein | April 20, 2013 8:08 AM

    Why do you say that? I thought it was a really interesting counterpoint to the Vulture list which is why we took the list - which was just a series of tweets- and put it together.

  • MICHELE | April 19, 2013 7:48 PMReply

    Lauren Greenfield's "The Queen of Versailles."

  • ondi fan | April 19, 2013 4:23 PMReply

    Also Ondi Timoner is the only woman to win documentary prize twice at Sundance- DIG and We Live in Public

  • doc fan | April 19, 2013 4:14 PMReply

    Don't forget:

    The Queen Versailles
    Billy the Kid
    The Beaches of Agnes
    Jesus Camp
    The Kid Stays in the Picture/ joint directed

  • Janice | April 19, 2013 1:21 PMReply

    West of Memphis is at the top of my list!

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