March 30: I Don’t Belong Anywhere: The Cinema of Chantal Akerman (dir. Marianne Lambert) – Lambert, a colleague of Belgian filmmaker Chantal Akerman who knew her for many years, debuted this documentary shortly before Akerman committed suicide last October. The film covers Akerman’s forty-plus-year career and her constant search for identity both on- and off-camera. Screenings at the Film Forum will be free of charge, courtesy of the Ostrovsky Family Fund, which supports the Jerusalem Film Centre. Additionally, the Film Forum will show Akerman’s most famous film, Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975), for a week-long run between April 1 and April 7, concurrent with I Don’t Belong Anywhere.
I Don’t Belong Anywhere: The Cinema of Chantal Akerman will be playing at the Film Forum.
April 1: No Home Movie (dir. Chantal Akerman) – Opening two days after Marianne Lambert’s documentary, Chantal Akerman’s final film, No Home Movie, will open in American theaters. Akerman, who also produced, photographed and recorded sound for the film, examined her relationship with her mother, Natalia, a Polish-born survivor of Auschwitz who passed away in 2013. Claire Atherton, who edited No Home Movie, had worked with Akerman on ten other projects since 1993.
April 6: Vita Activa: The Spirit of Hannah Arendt (dir. Ada Ushpiz) – Named for a phrase used by German-American political theorist Hannah Arendt (1906-1975) in her most famous book of philosophy, The Human Condition (1958), Vita Activa explains Arendt’s points of view in her own words thanks to rare documentary footage, as well as incorporating interviews with critics who both support and oppose her beliefs. The film was produced by director Ada Ushpiz and Ina Fichman and edited by Hadas Ayalon.
Vita Activa: The Spirit of Hannah Arendt will be playing at the Film Forum.
April 22: Elvis & Nixon (dir. Liza Johnson) – Johnson, who previously directed the dramas Return (2011, starring Linda Cardellini, Michael Shannon and John Slattery) and Hateship Loveship (2013, starring Kristen Wiig, Guy Pearce, Hailee Steinfeld and Nick Nolte), returns with a story that is truly stranger than fiction. Elvis & Nixon is the comedic retelling of the meeting between U.S. President Richard Nixon (Kevin Spacey) and music megastar Elvis Presley (Michael Shannon). The cast also includes Colin Hanks, Evan Peters, Tate Donovan, Alex Pettyfer, Johnny Knoxville, Sky Ferreira, Tracy Letts and Dylan Penn (daughter of Sean Penn and Robin Wright). Other members of the crew include screenwriter Hanala Sagal (who co-wrote the script with Joey Sagal and Cary Elwes), producer Holly Wiersma, executive producers Laura Rister, Amy Rodrigue and Lisa Wolofsky, film editor Sabine Hoffman, production designer Mara LePere-Schloop and art director Kristin Lekki.
April 22: Love Thy Nature (dir. Sylvie Rokab) – Rokab observes the links between nature and ideas of beauty in this documentary narrated by Liam Neeson. In addition to Sylvie Rokab, who also edited and co-photographed (with Eriberto Almeida, Jr. and Rohan Chitrakar) the film, some of the other women who contributed to the project are story writer Fernanda Rossi, script editor and co-producer Elaine Souda, co-producer Tamra Raven, associate producers Suzanne Gazda and Sheila A. Laffey, associate producer/line producer Jennifer Ingle, line producers Luciana Pereira Protasio, Kerri Thomas and Kristin Tieche (Tieche is also credited as an additional camera operator) and makeup artist Juliana Monteiro.
Love Thy Nature will be playing at Cinema Village.
April 27: Eva Hesse (dir. Marcie Begleiter) – The life and work of German-American postminimalist sculptor Eva Hesse (1936-1970) provides the subject for this documentary by first-time director Marcie Begleiter, who has been a storyboard artist and art director/set decorator/production designer for the past thirty years. The film’s cinematography is by Nancy Schreiber, while Karen S. Shapiro (Vice President of the organization Partners for Progressive Israel) served as one of the producers.
Eva Hesse will be playing at the Film Forum.
April 29: A Beautiful Planet (dir. Toni Myers) – Myers, a filmmaker who specializes in documentaries about outer space, has made one of her most ambitious projects to date with A Beautiful Planet. Produced by Walt Disney Studios, Myers’ movie, which studies what Earth looks like when seen from the vantage point of cameras hovering above the planet, will be shown on IMAX screens in the US, which must be exciting for Myers and everyone else concerned with the production.
A Beautiful Planet will be in theaters nationwide.
April 29: Ratchet & Clank (dirs. Jericca Cleland and Kevin Munroe) – Directors Cleland and Munroe have crafted an animated feature film about the adventures of a bobcat-like animal and his robot pal, based on the video game series of the same name. Some of the actors who have lent their voices to the project are James Arnold Taylor (as Ratchet), David Kaye (as Clank), Sylvester Stallone, Paul Giamatti, John Goodman, Rosario Dawson and Bella Thorne. The production team includes producers Lorraine Cruden and Kylie Ellis and line producer Marcia Gwendolyn Jones.
Ratchet & Clank will be in theaters nationwide.
May 13: Money Monster (dir. Jodie Foster) – Movie star Jodie Foster has established herself as a force behind the camera, directing the films Little Man Tate (1991), Home for the Holidays (1995) and The Beaver (2011) and episodes of “Tales from the Darkside,” “House of Cards” and “Orange Is the New Black.” Now Foster returns with a fast-paced thriller about a cable money-management show’s slick host (George Clooney), who is taken hostage by a desperate man who recently lost his life savings (Jack O’Connell). Julia Roberts plays the show’s producer, who must try to handle the situation as it unfolds on live television; the cast also features Catriona Balfe, Dominic West, Giancarlo Esposito, Greta Lee, Condola Rashad, Emily Meade, Dennis Boutsikaris, Chris Bauer and Lenny Venito. More women involved in the making of the film: producer Lara Alameddine, art director Deborah Jensen, set decorator Lydia Marks, costume designer Susan Lyall, boom operator Kira Smith and visual effects producer Charlotta Forssman.
Money Monster will be in theaters nationwide.
May 20: Maggie’s Plan (dir. Rebecca Miller) – Miller, the daughter of playwright Arthur Miller, has directed four previous films, all focused on female protagonists: Angela (1995), Personal Velocity: Three Portraits (2002), The Ballad of Jack and Rose (2005) and The Private Lives of Pippa Lee (2009). Miller’s newest film, Maggie’s Plan, is a comedy concerning a love triangle between Greta Gerwig, Ethan Hawke and Julianne Moore. Supporting actors in the film include Bill Hader, Maya Rudolph, Travis Fimmel and Wallace Shawn. Women involved in the crew: Sabine Hoffman (editor), Jasmin Way (assistant editor), Alexandra Schaller (production designer) and Malgosia Turzanska (costume designer).
May 20: Weiner (dirs. Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg) – The recipient of the Sundance Film Festival’s Grand Jury Prize this year because it is “a fast paced vérité film that unfolds like a modern Shakespearean tragedy,” directors Kriegman and Steinberg tell the story of New York Congressman Anthony Weiner, whose 2011 sex scandal and 2013 bid for NYC mayor were major topics of national conversation. Julie Goldman and Carolyn Hepburn executive-produced the film (with Christopher Clements).
June 3: Me Before You (dir. Thea Sharrock) – Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin star in this big-screen adaptation of Jojo Moyes’ young-adult novel about a woman who falls in love with a paralyzed man she is helping to care for. The supporting cast includes Charles Dance, Janet McTeer, Jenna Coleman, Brendan Coyle, Matthew Lewis and Ben Lloyd-Hughes. Jojo Moyes co-wrote the screenplay (with Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, who wrote the screenplay for The Fault in Our Stars), while other women behind the camera included producers Sue Baden-Powell (who was also the unit production manager), Alison Owen and Karen Rosenfelt, line producer Joan Schneider, art director Rebecca Milton, set decorator Sara Wan, costume designer Jill Taylor and makeup artist Sally Crouch. I presume that the film is coming out in early June because that’s the same time when the aforementioned, similarly romantic weepie, The Fault in Our Stars, was released two years ago to tremendous box office results.
Me Before You will be in theaters nationwide.
September 16: Bridget Jones’s Baby (dir. Sharon Maguire) – The new entry in the franchise created by Helen Fielding stars Renée Zellweger as title character Bridget (plus one, as per the title), Colin Firth and Patrick Dempsey as her two suitors, as well as Jim Broadbent, Celia Imrie, Gemma Jones, James Callis, Sally Phillips and Ed Sheeran. Among the crew are producer Debra Hayward, co-producer Jane Robertson, editor Melanie Oliver, set decorators Roya Fraser and Sara Wan, makeup designer Jan Sewell.
Bridget Jones’s Baby will be in theaters nationwide.
September 30: The Edge of Seventeen (dir. Kelly Fremon) – Hailee Steinfeld and Haley Lu Richardson play teenagers whose friendship is tested when one falls in love with the other girl’s brother (Blake Jenner). Woody Harrelson and Kyra Sedgwick also appear in the film; writer/director Fremon, whose first major success was when she wrote the screenplay for Post Grad (2009, directed by Vicky Jenson), also produced Besties with Julie Ansell; other women who worked on the film were associate producer Amy Brooks, editor Tracey Wadmore-Smith and set decorator Ide Foyle.
The Edge of Seventeen will be in theaters nationwide.
October 7: The Red Pill (dir. Cassie Jaye) – In recent years there has been a growing group of “men’s rights activists,” advocating for issues related to perceived persecution/abuse of men, in certain cases directly opposing the basic tenets of feminism (seeing women as “radical” and, therefore, enemies that threaten men). Cassie Jaye’s controversial documentary covers both sides of the story, interviewing those both in support of the concept of the movement and those who are against it. Jaye also edited her film and produced it with Nena Jaye (her mother) and Anna Laclergue.
The Red Pill will be playing at Cinema Village.
Kate Beckinsale on the set of Underworld 5.
October 14: Underworld: Blood Wars (dir. Anna Foerster) – Anna Foerster started out as a camera operator and second unit cinematographer, graduating to the role of primary cinematographer on the big-budget, Roland Emmerich-directed films Anonymous (2011) and White House Down (2013). Foerster later became a director in her own right, cutting her teeth on the TV shows “Criminal Minds,” “Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior,” “Unforgettable” “Army Wives,” “Outlander” and “Madam Secretary.” Now Foerster makes her feature film debut by joining the Underworld franchise. Kate Beckinsale reprises her role as Selene, a capital-v Vampire who hunts “Lycans” (aka werewolves), while Theo James returns as David, a fellow Vampire, and Charles Dance as David’s father, a Vampire Elder. The film was executive-produced by director Anna Foerster, while Jackie Shenoo was one of the producers, Bojana Nikitovic was a costume designer, Davina Lamont designed the makeup and prosthetics, Linda Eisenhamerova worked on makeup and hair and Clare Ramsey was the special effects makeup artist.
Underworld: Blood Wars will be in theaters nationwide.
Photo of many of the women and girls involved in the making of The Bye Bye Man.
December 9: The Bye Bye Man (dir. Stacy Title) – Director Stacy Title has been a part of the film industry since the early 1990s and has had three theatrically-released feature films, The Last Supper (1995), Let the Devil Wear Black (1999) and Hood of Horror (2006). Title’s latest film is a horror thriller, an adaptation of a short story by Robert Damon Schneck, “The Bridge to Body Island,” which appears in the collection The President’s Vampire: Strange-but-True Tales of the United States of America (2005). The film stars, among others, Doug Jones, Carrie-Anne Moss, Faye Dunaway, Cressida Bonas and Cleo King. Melinda Nishioka co-produced The Bye Bye Man, while Jennifer Spence was in charge of production design and Leah Butler designed the costumes.