Women in the film industry are grossly underrepresented (and undercompensated). In 2020, 78.9% of movie directors of theatrical films were male and as recently as 2014 a disgusting 95.7% of theatrical movie directors were men. And yet, look at the list of amazing films directed by women in just the past couple of years: PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN, NOMADLAND, ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI, CODA, THE LOST DAUGHTER, PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE, THE POWER OF THE DOG and ZOLA! That’s just to name a few.

These statistics don’t surprise me, when I was in film school at The Savannah College of Art and Design (acknowledging that’s been more than a minute), I was one of only 6 female film majors out of over 200. The women in the program were, by far, the hardest working, the most passionate and, dare I say, produced the best work in the department (well except for Pam). Considering the statistics, the history and the barriers to entry (a whole other story), it’s no surprise that the average trip to the theater doesn’t include a ton of options for seeing movies led by female filmmakers. At the Sidewalk Cinema, we work to consistently highlight work by underrepresented filmmakers. For National Women’s History Month, Sidewalk presents a full week of programming celebrating just some of the most brilliant recent work by female filmmakers, as well as several exceptional repertoire selections.

Pointing out a few of the brilliant options in the Women In Film Week line-up:

Don’t miss the chance to see Academy Award nominee THE POWER OF THE DOG on the big screen, directed by Jane Campion (the first woman to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director twice) and featuring glorious cinematography by female director of photography, Ari Wegner. THE POWER OF THE DOG has been nominated for 12 Academy Awards.

Written and directed by Joanna Hogg and starring Honor Swinton Byrne and Tilda Swinton, we’re honored to include THE SOUVENIR and THE SOUVENIR PART II in the Women In Film Week series. Both films are semi-autobiographical accounts of Hogg’s London film school experiences. In a meta fashion typical of Swinton, Hogg and Tilda Swinton have known each other since Hogg’s mid-1980s film school days and her short student film, CAPRICE, starred a then-unknown Tilda Swinton.

We’re incredibly excited about the opportunity to celebrate female friendship with the fun Friday night double feature of GIRLS TRIP and BRIDESMAIDS (with bottomless champagne)! Written by Erica Rivinoja, Kenya Barris & Tracy Oliver, GIRLS TRIP is the first film written, produced, directed, and starring Black creators and actors to cross the $100-million mark. While female-led comedies are consistently considered risky financial endeavors, BRIDESMAIDS is the most financially successful Judd Apatow production. Written by Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo, the film was a game-changer regarding the successful financing of future female-led comedies. It’s also really fun to watch while considering this: Melissa McCarthy based the look and characterization of Megan on Guy Fieri.

Highlighting the work of the legendary Polly Platt, who was never provided the opportunity to direct (or at least has never been credited as such), we’re offering a Polly Platt double feature with two of her most indelible contributions to production design, TERMS OF ENDEARMENT and THE WITCHES OF EASTWICK. Many claim that, while married to Peter Bogdonavich, Platt was actually responsible for the directorial vision of his early work, including THE LAST PICTURE SHOW and PAPER MOON, and that such explains the nosedive Bogdonavich’s post-Platt filmwork took. Beyond her contribution as a writer, producer, and director, Platt was known for being the driving force behind getting numerous iconic films made, as well as for the elements that made them truly iconic. Oh, and she’s also responsible for THE SIMPSONS. Consistently overshadowed throughout her career, we’re excited to shine a light on Polly Platt’s visionary work. For more on the incredible life of Polly Platt, it’s highly encouraged to pre-game the double feature by listening to the wonderful YOU MUST REMEMBER THIS podcast mini-series. “POLLY PLATT: THE INVISIBLE WOMAN.”

Plus there’s: THE RESCUE, from the directors of Academy Award-winning FREE SOLO, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, and Jimmy Chin. The documentary traces the 2018 Tham Luang cave rescue mission that saved a football team from an underwater cave. JULIA, the amazing Julia Child biographical documentary directed by Julie Cohen and Betsy West. LADY BUDS the documentary that tells the story of “six courageous women who come out of the shadows of the cannabis underground to forge a path to legalization”, directed by Chris J. Russo. WHO WE ARE: A CHRONICLE OF RACISM IN AMERICA that interweaves archival footage and interviews, along with former ACLU Deputy Legal Director Jeffery Robinson’s personal story, to explore the legacy of white supremacy in the U.S. and the responsibility to overcome it, directed by sisters Emily and Sarah Kunstler. The Women Adventure Film Tour features outdoor short films focused on female adventurers. The Sundance premiere, PASSING, Rebecca Hall’s directorial debut, based on the novel of the same name… and more!

Join us at Sidewalk for Women In Film Week to celebrate just a tiny selection of the enormous contributions made by women in the film industry despite the odds. Then join us throughout the year to celebrate the brilliant work of female filmmakers that we frequently spotlight.

 

Happy National Women’s History Month!

 

Rachel Morgan
  Sidewalk Film Creative Director

August 21-27, 2023

Sidewalk Film Festival

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