Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

What Happened to the Women Directed Films from the Sundance Class of 2013?

Women and Hollywood By Serena Donadoni | Women and Hollywood January 17, 2014 at 11:00AM

The 2013 Sundance Film Festival was notable for the number of women directors, particularly in the U.S. Dramatic and Documentary Competitions -- where half were female filmmakers. As Sundance 2014 gets underway, here's a look at what happened to the 16 features, 19 documentaries and one miniseries over the last year.
2

Park City at Midnight

Kink (Christina Voros)

Christina Voros's creative collaboration with James Franco went from cinematographer/director (As I Lay Dying, Sal) to director/producer for this peek into the San Francisco Armory home of Kink.com. Franco's production company Rabbit Bandini released his other Sundance film Interior. Leather Bar. in theaters this month. Meanwhile, Voros's bondage documentary has been on the festival circuit (Seattle International Film Festival, Frameline, NewFest, DOC NYC), but has no theatrical, VOD or DVD release date.

 

New Frontier (Films)

Charlie Victor Romeo (Robert Berger, Patrick Daniels and Karyn Michelson)

This performance documentary, which recreates the black-box recordings of airline emergencies, is one of a growing number of independent movies shot in 3D. Charlie Victor Romeo is a production of Collective: Unconscious (where it began as a theatrical performance in 1999) and 3-Legged Dog Media, which uses cutting edge technology to present experimental works for stage and screen. After its world premiere at Sundance, it played at other fests including AFI, the New York Film Festival and the Hamptons Film Festival. Charlie Victor Romeo opens at Film Forum in New York City on January 29 and Downtown Independent in Los Angeles on January 31. The stage version of Charlie Victor Romeo was performed for aviation, safety and medical professionals and the movie (in 3D and 2D) is likewise available for non-theatrical screenings at conferences and seminars.

 

Premieres

Top of the Lake (Jane Campion and Garth Davis)

This miniseries is a co-production of the Sundance Channel, BBC2 and UKTV (Australia/New Zealand). It screened only once at the 2013 festival (that's a binge-worthy six hours), and premiered on the Sundance Channel on March 18. This isn't Jane Campion's first miniseries: her Janet Frame biography, An Angel at My Table, was originally made for television, and the 158-minute film version retains its episodic structure. Elisabeth Moss won a Critics' Choice Television Award and a Golden Globe as Best Actress in a Miniseries and Top of the Lake won an Emmy for cinematography. The DVD was released on January 7, 2014 and the series is available on Netflix Instant.

 

Adore (Previously Two Mothers) (Anne Fontaine)

Adore was the first acquisition for Exclusive Releasing, picked up five days after its world premiere at Sundance. It was released in 57 theaters (along with VOD) on September 6, grossing $318,982. It is one of the few adaptations of Doris Lessing's fiction (from her 2003 novella The Grandmothers). The Nobel Prize-winning British author passed away on November 17, 2013. Adore was released on DVD and Blu-ray on December 10.

 

Very Good Girls (Naomi Foner)

Very Good Girls is the directorial debut of screenwriter and producer Naomi Foner (Running on Empty, Losing Isaiah), who is the mother of actors Maggie and Jake Gyllenhaal. The newly formed sales and production company 13 Films repped the coming-of-age drama starring Dakota Fanning and Elizabeth Olsen at the American Film Market in November, but no acquisition announcement has yet been made.

 

Documentary Premieres

Anita (Freida Lee Mock)

Anita Hill speaks extensively for the first time since the 1991 Clarence Thomas hearings in this documentary directed by Oscar-winner Freida Lee Mock (Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision). Samuel Goldwyn Films acquired it in August, and reports indicated that Anita would be released in the fall, placing it the midst of the 2013 awards season. Instead, it arrives in theaters on March 21, 2014.

 

The Crash Reel (Lucy Walker)

Phase 4 Films picked up Lucy Walker's documentary about snowboarder Kevin Pearce in May, with HBO retaining television broadcast rights. The Crash Reel then took an unusual course, premiering on HBO in July and arriving in theaters on December 13, just in time to qualify for the Academy Awards. Walker's feature documentary Waste Land (2010) and short "The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom" (2011) were Oscar-nominated, and The Crash Reel made the feature documentary short list. It is available for digital download from iTunes and the DVD will be released on February 4.

 

History of The Eagles Part One (Alison Ellwood)

Just two days into the festival, Showtime acquired the exclusive broadcast rights to the feature-alength rock doc History of The Eagles Part One (as well as the hour-long Part Two). Both documentaries began airing less than a month later (February 15) and were released as 3-disc DVD and Blu-ray sets on April 30. Alison Ellwood is a television editor (Tanner '88) and producer (30 Days) who began working on feature documentaries with the prolific Alex Gibney. They co-directed Magic Trip: Ken Kesey's Search for a Kool Place, a late addition to Sundance 2011. History of The Eagles is her first solo directing credit.

 

Running from Crazy (Barbara Kopple)

Barbara Kopple's portrait of Mariel Hemingway was produced by Cabin Creek Films for OWN (Oprah Winfrey is an executive producer). Winfrey's cable network partnered with the indie distributor Vitagraph Films to give the documentary an Oscar-qualifying theatrical run. (Kopple has won two Academy Awards, for Harlan County U.S.A. and American Dream.) Running from Crazy opened on November 1 and grossed $33,300 from five theaters, but did not make the Oscar short list. It will air on OWN in early 2014.

 

Serena Donadoni is a freelance film critic in Detroit. She compiles a list of women directors on The Cinema Girl Blog. Follow her tweets about movies and more @TheCinemaGirl and daily film reviews @SerenaDonadoni.

This article is related to: Film Festivals, Sundance Film Festival, Documentary, Women Directors


E-Mail Updates