Women-Directed Films Coming to Theaters in 2016 (Part 1)

Last Friday, two new movies directed by women were released in theaters. After reading the New York Times reviews for Kung Fu Panda 3 (directed by Alessandro Carloni and Jennifer Yuh Nelson), which is part of an animated franchise about the adventures of the title mammal, and Saala Khadoos (directed by Sudha Kongara Prasad), a drama from India about a female boxer trying to succeed in a grueling sport, I found myself wondering what other films directed by women are scheduled to be released in American theaters this year. The following is the first list that I have compiled, to be accompanied by a second one soon after. Wherever it is applicable, I have included information on which theaters (specifically in New York City) will be showing these films.


February 5: All Roads Lead to Rome (dir. Ella Lemhagen) – For more than two decades, Swedish director Ella Lemhagen has made a name for herself in her home country with films such as the family dramedy Patrik, Age 1.5 (2008) and the drama The Crown Jewels (2011, starring Alicia Vikander). Now she has directed her first international feature, a comedy about a single mother (Sarah Jessica Parker) attempting to heal a fractured relationship with her teenage daughter (Rosie Day), a journey that brings them to Italy and allows Parker to reconnect with her first love (Raoul Bova), as well as involve his mother (Claudia Cardinale) in the wacky goings-on. The script was written by Lemhagen, Cindy Myers and Josh Appignanesi; additional behind-the-scenes work was done by producer Monika Bacardi, co-producer Viki Marras, assistant producer Gioia Libardoni, costume designer Moa Li Lemhagen Schalin (the director’s sister) and visual effects artist Evelina Åström.

All Roads Lead to Rome will be playing at Cinema Village.


February 5: Southbound (dirs. Roxanne Benjamin, David Bruckner, Patrick Horvath and Radio Silence) – Roxanne Benjamin is one of four directors (although technically Radio Silence is a collective of four men) who worked on this anthology that ties five horror stories together into one feature-length film. Benjamin’s section of Southbound, titled “Siren,” concerns the three members of an all-female rock band (played by Fabianne Therese, Hannah Marks and Nathalie Love) who accept an offer to stay at an elderly husband and wife’s house after a gig; little do the women realize that the couple has inhospitable plans in store. “Siren” was shot by Tarin Anderson, one of the more notable women cinematographers working today. Anderson provided cinematography for another horror anthology, V/H/S/2 (2013), which Roxanne Benjamin co-produced with several other people.

Southbound will be playing at City Cinemas Village East Cinema.


February 12: Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong (dir. Emily Ting) – A romantic comedy à la Before Sunrise by a writer-director who has been making short films and documentaries since 2002, Ting centers her feature film debut on Ruby (Jamie Chung), a Chinese-American woman who takes a trip to Hong Kong and falls in love with a friendly fellow American (Bryan Greenberg). Already also includes the involvement of other Asian-American women behind the camera: Sophia Shek and director Emily Ting were two of the producers, star Jamie Chung was one of the executive producers, Danielle Wang edited the film and Pinko Cheng was the makeup artist.


February 12: Providence (dir. Sharon Wilharm) – Writer/director Sharon Wilharm and her husband, producer/cinematographer/film editor Fred Wilharm, have been telling old-fashioned love stories for a few years; their previous effort, The Good Book (2014), was a silent film, as is Providence. The Wilharms opt to use visuals to tell their stories, which are faith-based films.

Providence will be playing at AMC theaters in Atlanta, Charlotte, Los Angeles, New York City, Tulsa and the Florida cities of Destin and Jacksonville, according to this press release.


February 26: King Georges (dir. Erika Frankel) – Philadelphia restaurateur Georges Perrier is profiled in this documentary about the closing of his famous eatery, Le Bec-Fin. King Georges was produced by its director, Erika Frankel, edited by Grace Kline, Amanda Larson and Karen Sim and some of the additional camerawork was done by Nadia Hallgren.

King Georges will be playing at the IFC Center.


February 26: Marguerite and Julien (dir. Valérie Donzelli) – Valérie Donzelli has been an actress in French film and TV since the late 1990s, working with such directors as Gilles Marchand, Anne Fontaine, Benoît Jacquot, Bertrand Bonello and Joachim Lafosse. Donzelli has also been writing and directing films since 2008, the latest example being Marguerite and Julien, a romantic, historical drama nominated for the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival last year. Donzelli’s cast includes Anaïs Demoustier, Jérémie Elkaïm, Sami Frey and Geraldine Chaplin. Other collaborators on the film are producer Alice Girard, co-producer Genevieve Lemal, cinematographer Céline Bozon, editor Pauline Gaillard and costume designer Elisabeth Mehu.

Marguerite and Julien will be playing at the IFC Center.


March 2: Songs My Brothers Taught Me (dir. Chloé Zhao) – Chinese-American director Zhao’s debut drama was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at last year’s Sundance Film Festival, Golden Camera at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival and it is currently up for three awards at the 2016 Independent Spirit Awards: Best First Feature, Best Cinematography (Joshua James Richards) and the Someone to Watch Award (for Zhao). Native American actors Jashaun St. John and John Reddy star as a sister and brother dealing with the death of their father and how their mother (Irene Bedard, who also co-produced the film) handles the trauma. In addition to directing the film, Chloé Zhao also wrote it and was one of its producers; other women who contributed to Songs were producers Mollye Asher (who was also the unit production manager), Nina Yang Bongiovi and Angela C. Lee, co-producer Carolyn Otte O’Bryan, associate producer Erica Brady, executive producer Mary Regency Boies, assistant editor Lauren Minnerath, dialogue editor Marilyn McCoppen and sound mixer Laura Cunningham.

Songs My Brothers Taught Me will be playing at the Film Forum.


March 4: Trapped (dir. Dawn Porter) – Porter’s documentary about the fight for women’s reproductive rights in the US recently won the Special Jury Prize at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, cited because it “highlights a critical issue through intimate and passionate storytelling.” The film was produced by Marilyn Ness, co-produced by Summer Damon, executive produced by Cindy Meehl, photographed by Nadia Hallgren (with Chris Hilleke) and edited by Katie Flint and Sari Gilman.


March 9: Here Come the Videofreex (dirs. Jon Nealon and Jenny Raskin) – The formation, lifespan and legacy of a counterculture news-media collective from the late 1960s and 1970s, the Videofreex, are chronicled in this documentary that showed at Brooklyn’s BAMcinemaFest last June.

Here Come the Videofreex will be playing at the IFC Center.


March 11: About Scout (dir. Laurie Weltz) – Eighteen years after her debut, Wrestling with Alligators (1998), director Laurie Weltz returns with a road movie about a girl traveling through Texas in search of her younger sister. The film, which was co-written by Weltz and India Ennenga, stars Ennenga (as Scout), James Frecheville, Nikki Reed, Shelley Hennig, Ellen Burstyn, Danny Glover, Jane Seymour, Tim Guinee and Onata Aprile (as little sister Lulu). About Scout was produced by Beverley Gordon (with others), the production designed by Megan Hutchison and the costumes designed by Meghan Anderson-Barker.

About Scout will be playing at Cinema Village.


March 11: Certain Women (dir. Kelly Reichardt) – Reichardt has been working steadily in the independent film world for the last two decades, directing River of Grass (1994), Old Joy (2006), Wendy and Lucy (2008), Meek’s Cutoff (2010) and Night Moves (2013). Now Reichardt has written, directed and edited Certain Women, an adaptation of short stories by Maile Meloy. The film ties together the interwoven narratives of American women (Kristen Stewart, Michelle Williams [pictured above], Laura Dern, Lily Gladstone) living in the same Montana town. Certain Women has art direction by Kat Uhlmansiek, set decoration by Pamela Day and costume design by April Napier.


March 11: City of Gold (dir. Laura Gabbert) – Gabbert and her crew follow restaurant critic Jonathan Gold around Los Angeles, partaking in the many gastronomic experiences that the city’s cuisine has to offer. This film, which was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize in the documentary category at last January’s Sundance Film Festival, was made possible with the help of producer Holly Becker, co-producer Andrea Lewis, consulting producer Lara Rabinovitch and sound mixer Nicole Zwiren.

City of Gold will be playing at the IFC Center.


March 11: Lolo (dir. Julie Delpy) – Delpy’s sixth film as a director is a comedy with Oedipal overtones that she co-wrote with Eugénie Grandval, telling the story of a 40-year-old career woman in the high-pressure world of fashion (Delpy) whose unexpected romance with a computer nerd (played by Dany Boon) is thwarted by her jealous teenage son, Lolo (Vincent Lacoste). Other women who worked behind the scenes on Lolo are production designer Emmanuelle Duplay, set decorator Hélène Rey, editor Virginie Bruant, assistant editor Karine Prido, makeup artist Véronique Boumaza, title sequence designer Laura Sicouri and visual effects artists Sophie Denize and Eloïse Guigno.


March 18: The Brainwashing of My Dad (dir. Jen Senko) – Senko, who specializes in documentary filmmaking, tells the story of her father, a World War II veteran whose lifelong stance as a Democrat was altered by the influence of talk radio, causing him to switch his allegiance to radical right-wing ideologies. Senko explores the effects that the expansion of mass media has had on American citizens, pop culture and our ways of living and communicating with each another. Some scenes are rendered in animation thanks to Maryam Hajouni and legendary cartoonist/filmmaker Bill Plympton; other technical elements are contributed by Rachael Levine (cinematography) and Kala Mandrake (editing). Some of the producers include Jodie Evans, Jennifer Schultz and director Senko, while three of the film’s four writers are women (Melodie Bryant, Kala Mandrake and Jen Senko).

The Brainwashing of My Dad will be playing at Cinema Village.


March 18: Miracles from Heaven (dir. Patricia Riggen) – Jennifer Garner, Martin Henderson and Queen Latifah star in this religious drama about finding faith and renewed spirit in the face of extreme obstacles. Miracles’ editor, Emma E. Hickox, is the daughter of renowned editor Anne V. Coates, who cut such films as Lawrence of Arabia (1962), Murder on the Orient Express (1974), The Elephant Man (1980), Chaplin (1992), Out of Sight (1998) and last year’s Fifty Shades of Grey (2015). Hickox has an impressive résumé in her own right, including A Walk to Remember (2002), Blue Crush (2002), Honey (2003), Kinky Boots (2005), Pirate Radio (2009) and Rock of Ages (2012). Mexican director Riggen has had a busy year; just three months ago she had another mainstream release, The 33, a biopic based on the Chilean mining accident that starred Antonio Banderas, Juliette Binoche, Cote de Pablo, Rodrigo Santoro, Lou Diamond Phillips, James Brolin and Adriana Barraza.

Miracles from Heaven will be in theaters nationwide.


March 25: The Invitation (dir. Karyn Kusama) – Karyn Kusama, a Japanese-American director born in Brooklyn, raised in St. Louis and now residing in Los Angeles, has worked in several film genres. Her first feature, Girlfight (2000), which she also wrote, stars Michelle Rodriguez as a boxer from Brooklyn; Æon Flux (2005) is a big-budget sci-fi/action movie starring Charlize Theron as the title character, along with co-stars Marton Csokas, Jonny Lee Miller, Sophie Okonedo, Frances McDormand and Pete Postlethwaite; Jennifer’s Body (2009) is a horror-comedy hybrid written by Diablo Cody (Juno, Young Adult, Ricki and the Flash) and starring Megan Fox and Amanda Seyfried; Kusama has also directed episodes of the TV shows “The L Word,” “Chicago Fire,” “Halt and Catch Fire” and “The Man in the High Castle.” Kusama’s new film, The Invitation, is a horror-thriller about a dinner party that goes terribly awry. The film stars Michel Huisman, Logan Marshall-Green, John Carroll Lynch, Tammy Blanchard, Emayatzy Corinealdi, Mike Doyle and Michelle Krusiec. Other women who worked on The Invitation: producer and post-production supervisor Martha Griffin, co-producer Lindsay Lanzillotta, executive producers Julie Parker Benello, Geralyn White Dreyfous, Wendy Ettinger and Mynette Louie, editor Plummy Tucker, assistant editors Emma Marie DuPell and Oona Flaherty, production designer Almitra Corey and costume designer Alysia Raycraft.


March 25: Ron and Laura Take Back America (dirs. Mel England and Janice Markham) – The writing-directing team of Mel England and Janice Markham play the title characters in this mockumentary that satirizes politics, religion, health fads and other amusing American obsessions. Character actresses Irene Bedard (also a co-producer) and Sally Kirkland appear in the film too. More women involved in the making of Ron and Laura are producers Kassi Crews (also the post-production supervisor) and Jill Rothman (also the visual effects supervisor), co-producer Lilli Rubinstein, associate producers Joy Dabbs, Ghen Laraya, Rachelle Masters, Diane Mautner and Estella Sneider, executive producer Sue Vaccaro and editor Cindy Parisotto.

Ron and Laura Take Back America will be playing at Cinema Village.


One thought on “Women-Directed Films Coming to Theaters in 2016 (Part 1)

  1. Pingback: Women-Directed Films Coming to Theaters in 2016 (Part 3) | The Iron Cupcake

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