Leading up to International Women’s Day (March 8), we’re celebrating women in film by showcasing some of the top titles released over the last year. With writers, directors and actors, the talent from female creators continues to grow and gain traction across the film industry – these are just a couple of examples of the amazing work that’s being produced.
Portrait of a Lady on Fire was written and directed by Céline Sciamma and stars Noémie Merlant and Adèle Haenel. This French film was selected to compete for the Palme d’Or at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival. The film won the Queer Palm at Cannes, becoming the first film directed by a woman to win the award, with Sciamma also taking home Best Screenplay. The film also received nominations for Independent Spirit Awards, Critics’ Choice Awards and Golden Globe Awards for Best Foreign Language Film.
Hustlers is a black comedy crime film written and directed by Lorene Scafaria and based on New York magazine’s 2015 article “The Hustlers at Scores: The Ex-Strippers Who Stole From (Mostly) Rich Men and Gave to, Well, Themselves” by Jessica Pressler. The film has a majority female cast, starring Constance Wu, Jennifer Lopez, Julia Stiles, Keke Palmer, Lili Reinhart, Lizzo, and Cardi B.
The Farewell is a comedy-drama film written and directed by Lulu Wang and starring Awkwafina, who won a Golden Globe (Best Actress – Musical or Comedy) for her role. The film is based in part on director Wang’s life experiences, which she first publicly discussed as part of her radio story What You Don’t Know, which appeared as part of an episode of This American Life.
Little Women, directed by Greta Gerwig, is the seventh film adaptation of the 1868 novel of the same name by Louisa May Alcott, and stars Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, Eliza Scanlen and Laura Dern. Among its numerous accolades, the film received six nominations at the Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actress (Ronan), Best Supporting Actress (Pugh), and Best Adapted Screenplay, and won for Best Costume Design. It also received five nominations at the BAFTAs, winning for Best Costume Design, and two nominations at the Golden Globes.
Booksmart is a coming-of-age comedy film directed by Olivia Wilde (in her feature directorial debut), from a screenplay by Emily Halpern, Sarah Haskins, Susanna Fogel, and Katie Silberman and stars Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein; who’s performance received a nomination for Best Actress – Comedy or Musical at the Golden Globes.
Charlie’s Angels was written and directed by Elizabeth Banks and stars Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott, and Ella Balinska. The lead single from the its soundtrack, “Don’t Call Me Angel“, is performed by Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus and Lana Del Rey.
The Sun is Also a Star is a teen drama film directed by Ry Russo-Young and written by Tracy Oliver, based on the young adult novel of the same name by Nicola Yoon. The film stars Yara Shahidi.
Harriet is a biographical film about abolitionist Harriet Tubman. Directed by Kasi Lemmons, who also co-wrote the screenplay, the film stars Cynthia Erivo as Tubman, for which she received nominations at the Academy Awards, Golden Globes and the Screen Actors Guild Awards.
The Nightingale is an Australian period drama film written, directed, and co-produced by Jennifer Kent (The Babadook) and starring Aisling Franciosi.
2020 is also shaping up to hold a lot of hope for female talent in the industry, with many of the biggest upcoming blockbuster releases being directed by women, including the Mulan remake (Niki Caro), Wonder Women 1984 (Patty Jenkins), Birds of Prey (Cathy Yan), Black Widow (Cate Shortland) and The Eternals (Chloé Zhao).
If you’re in Melbourne, make sure to check out the upcoming Women in Film Festival, running Feb 20-23 and featuring a stellar lineup of films.