Tag Archives: Australian film

New Shows + Movies by Women — September 23, 2022

We’re catching up on the last two weeks. The focus for this feature is still on what you can access digitally. Obviously, there are films in theaters like Gina Prince-Bythewood’s “The Woman King”, which came in #1 at the U.S. box office this past weekend, as well as Olivia Wilde’s “Don’t Worry Darling”, starting its platformed release in a limited number of theaters this week. These are two of the larger, most-talked about films by women this year.

You can judge whether it’s safe for you to go to the theater where you live. Check out your state’s and county’s COVID information to see where you stand. For the time being, I’m going to maintain the focus on what can be accessed from home.

This is for a few reasons. I have friends with autoimmune issues – the world where we tolerate COVID and accept it as part of life is still one that can easily kill them. The lesser risk I would take is a life-threatening one to them. Even if they remain bubbled and I don’t see them, I just can’t get on board with treating where we’re at as normal when that normal assumes a world where they can’t go outside again. To leave them behind is to treat them as lesser, to treat their humanity as fungible. If my normal is their daily terror, then why would that be my normal?

I also have family living in states that have scrapped COVID tracking and monitoring entirely. I may be comparatively safe going to the theater where I live, but they aren’t where they live. I don’t just write for the people where I live, and I don’t want to normalize going to the theater in states where COVID remains a larger risk. Beyond this, I have readers in other countries. I have no idea where some of them are at in terms of COVID, nor where their laws land.

Is this being too careful? I don’t think so, but if so, so what? I’ve done my fair share of nonsense that risked my health, safety, and even my life once or twice. If I’m too careful in a pandemic, good. We’ve seen what not being careful enough is like.

Please understand that I’ll cover films like “The Woman King” and “Don’t Worry Darling” just like I cover films by men – once they arrive on streaming and can be accessed from home.

It’s not the way I want to cover things; I miss going to the theater and certainly I take a hit by not covering some of the larger films that are currently in theaters. Only you can judge how safe and responsible it is to go to the theater where you live. I’m looking for a time when I can return to covering films in theaters and I hope that’s coming up soon. Until then, the focus on this site and in this feature will remain what can be watched from home. I hope you understand.

New series by women come from Australia, Brazil, Thailand, and the U.S. New films by women come from France, Spain, and the U.S.

NEW SERIES

Vampire Academy (Peacock)
showrunners Marguerite MacIntyre, Julie Plec

After the death of her parents, Lissa returns to a private academy for vampires. Her best friend can sense all her thoughts, and the two try to keep their friendship intact amid the unpredictable political machinations of both vampires and boarding school.

Showrunners Marguerite MacIntyre and Julie Plec have worked together on various vampire shows, including “The Vampire Diaries”, “The Originals”, and “Legacies”, so this is their wheelhouse.

You can watch “Vampire Academy” on Peacock. The four-episode premiere happened on Sep. 15, with another coming yesterday, so five of the 10 episodes are out already. A new episode arrives every Thursday.

Thai Cave Rescue (Netflix)
co-showrunner Dana Ledoux Miller

This Thai series tells the story of 12 boys and their soccer coach who are stranded within flooded caves in 2018. It’s based on the real rescue attempts.

Dana Ledoux Miller showruns with Michael Russell Gunn. She’s written on “Narcos” and “Kevin Can F**k Himself”.

You can watch “Thai Cave Rescue” on Netflix. All 6 episodes are out.

Heartbreak High (Netflix)
showrunner Hannah Carroll Chapman
mostly directed by women

Rebooting a classic 90s Australian show, “Heartbreak High” follows the lives of students navigating the social pressures of high school. It’s gotten particular praise for its portrayal of autism, with an autistic role for once played by an autistic actress in Chloe Hayden.

Showrunner and writer Hannah Carroll Chapman has written on some major Australian shows of the past few years, including “Home and Away” and “The Heights”. Directors include Gracie Otto and Jessie Oldfield.

You can watch “Heartbreak High” on Netflix. All 8 episodes are out immediately.

Only for Love (Netflix)
directed by women

Two lovers start a band. At their first success, one is offered a solo career. She pursues it, but as they try to maintain the relationship, the band’s new singer complicates matters.

The Brazilian series is directed by Ana Luiza Azevedo, Gisele Barroco, and Joana Mariani.

You can watch “Only for Love” on Netflix. All 6 episodes are out.

NEW MOVIES

Gagarine (MUBI)
co-directed by Fanny Liatard

In this French film, young Youri dreams of being an astronaut, but already that dream is threatened as he fights to save his housing project from demolition.

Fanny Liatard directs with Jeremey Trouilh. It is her first feature film.

You can watch “Gagarine” on MUBI.

Do Revenge (Netflix)
directed by Jennifer Kaytin Robinson

A mash-up of “Strangers on a Train” and “Clueless”, “Do Revenge” finds two social outcasts at a private high school agreeing to commit each other’s revenge. As a dark comedy, it skillfully deals with issues of revenge porn, privilege, and performative allyship. I praised it as a big surprise in my review. If I’m honest, the trailer conveys the aesthetic but doesn’t necessarily do the story or its comedy justice.

Director and co-writer Jennifer Kaytin Robinson ought to be a major name before too long. She co-wrote “Thor: Love and Thunder” with Taika Waititi, produced on “Hawkeye”, created and showran “Sweet/Vicious”, and wrote and directed “Someone Great”.

You can watch “Do Revenge” on Netflix.

Lou (Netflix)
directed by Anna Foerster

A girl is kidnapped as a storm rages. Her mother can only turn to the mysterious loner next door for help. Jurnee Smollett stars, with Allison Janney as the badass loner.

Anna Foerster has directed on “Westworld”, “Jessica Jones”, and “Outlander”. Her journey’s an interesting one. She started out as a director of photography for visual effects units in films like “Independence Day”, “Alien: Resurrection”, and “Pitch Black”. This led to jobs as a second unit director and aerial director of photography until she got her first directing break on “Criminal Minds” a decade ago.

You can watch “Lou” on Netflix.

Mighty Flash (MUBI)
directed by Ainhoa Rodriguez

“Mighty Flash”, or “Destello Bravio”, is a surreal Spanish drama that tells the story of a village stuck in time going back generations. Only older people remain, repeating traditions as the town dies.

This is the first film from Ainhoa Rodriguez after directing on Spanish TV series.

You can watch “Mighty Flash” on MUBI.

Take a look at new shows + movies by women from past weeks.

If you enjoy what you read on this site, subscribe to Gabriel Valdez’s Patreon. It helps with the time and resources to continue writing articles like this one.

New Shows + Movies by Women — August 26, 2022

August can be a slow-down month for new releases, but this opens up windows for films that might not see as much of an audience otherwise. Keep an eye out for arthouse and indie productions. This next month or so has always been the best time of year for low-budget films to sneak through and secure some attention.

Unlike other winter holidays, Christmas season in the media deluges toward an October start. This has displaced Halloween toward late August – the holiday territorial wars continue. Horror season has always started in September – horror movies tend to draw younger audiences, and those audiences coalesce as the school year starts. If you’re a horror fan, keep an eye out for good horror, campy horror, low-budget horror, every kind of horror you can think of. This is our time. There are some intriguing ones this week.

There are new series by women from the U.K. and the U.S., and new movies by women from Australia, Denmark, Ireland, Portugal, Switzerland, and the U.S.

NEW SERIES

Everything I Know About Love (Peacock)
showrunner Dolly Alderton
directed by China Moo-Young, Julia Ford

Dolly Alderton turns her memoir into a U.K. series that tracks the evolution of friendship in the way that other series present romances.

“Call the Midwife” director China Moo-Young and “Silent Witness” director Julia Ford helm the series.

You can watch “Everything I Know About Love” on Peacock. There are 7 episodes, all out now.

Partner Track (Netflix)
showrunner Georgia Lee

Ingrid Yun is a young lawyer trying to balance ethics with ambition as she climbs the partner track at an elite law firm.

Georgia Lee’s short films got her selected as Martin Scorsese’s apprentice on “Gangs of New York”. Since then, she’s directed feature film “Red Doors”, wrote and story edited for “The Expanse”, and produced “The 100”.

You can watch “Partner Track” on Netflix. All 10 episodes are out now.

NEW MOVIES

Watcher (Shudder)
directed by Chloe Okuno

Maika Monroe plays Julia, who moves with her husband to Bucharest. She suspects a local murderer who’s decapitating women may be the stranger from the apartment across the street.

Writer-director Chloe Okuno previously directed a segment on anthology “V/H/S/94”. This is her first feature.

You can watch “Watcher” on Shudder, or see where to rent it.

Wolf (HBO Max)
directed by Nathalie Biancheri

In this Irish film, Jacob thinks he’s a wolf who’s become trapped in a human body. He’s sent to a clinic where the treatments are outlandish and extreme. He roams the center at night with a girl who believes she’s a wildcat.

Writer-director Nathalie Biancheri previously directed “Nocturnal”.

You can watch “Wolf” on HBO Max, or see where to rent it.

Loving Adults (Netflix)
directed by Barbara Topsoe-Rothenborg

Based on the novel by Anna Ekberg, the Danish thriller follows a woman who suspects her husband is having an affair.

Barbara Topsoe-Rothenborg is a director of Danish film and TV.

You can watch “Loving Adults” on Netflix.

So Vam (Shudder)
directed by Alice Maio Mackay

Australia has everything dangerous, including vampires. When aspiring drag queen Kurt is murdered by a vampire, he’s resurrected by a gang of rebel vampires who only feed on bigots and abusers.

Director and co-writer Alice Maio Mackay helmed “So Vam” as her feature debut at 16.

You can watch “So Vam” on Shudder, or see where to rent it.

My Little Sister (MUBI, Kanopy)
directed by Stephanie Chuat, Veronique Reymond

Lisa has given up on being a playwright. She lives in Switzerland, where her husband is enjoying a successful career. Her twin brother falls ill, calling her back to Germany.

Stephanie Chuat and Veronique Reymond have worked as a writer-director team in Germany since 2004 (though this film is Swiss). They’ve alternated between documentary and narrative film.

You can watch “My Little Sister” on MUBI or Kanopy, or see where to rent it.

The Tsugua Diaries (MUBI)
co-directed by Maureen Fazendeiro

During the COVID lockdown in Portugal, Crista, Carloto, and Joao build a greenhouse for butterflies. We see cycles of developing a routine and struggling to adapt as they find ways to fill time at the farmhouse that is their home during lockdown.

French filmmaker Maureen Fazendeiro directs with Miguel Gomes. It is her first film.

You can watch “The Tsugua Diaries” on MUBI, or see where to rent it.

Take a look at new shows + movies by women from past weeks.

If you enjoy what you read on this site, subscribe to Gabriel Valdez’s Patreon. It helps with the time and resources to continue writing articles like this one.

New Shows + Movies by Women — July 29, 2022

There are many, many new entries this week, covering most major streaming platforms. You really should take your time to browse, so we’re going to skip the preamble and dive straight in:

NEW SERIES

Paper Girls (Amazon)
directed by women

It’s Halloween night in 1988 and four girls will have to time travel to save the world. “Paper Girls” is based on the Brian K. Vaughn comic book series.

Creator and co-showrunner Stephany Folsom left the show in the middle of principal photography on its first season, but she was involved in its pre-production. Mairzee Almas, Georgi Banks-Davies, Destiny Ekaragha, and Karen Gaviola each direct two episodes.

You can watch “Paper Girls” on Amazon. All 8 episodes are available immediately.

CW for “Surface”: suicide attempt

Surface (Apple TV+)
showrunner Veronica West

Gugu Mbatha-Raw stars as Sophie, who tries to piece together the jumble of memories that led up to her alleged suicide attempt.

Veronica West showruns. She also produced on “High Fidelity”.

You can watch “Surface” on Apple TV+. Three episodes are available now, with new ones arriving every Friday.

Keep Breathing (Netflix)
showrunner Maggie Kiley
directed by Maggie Kiley, Rebecca Rodriguez

A woman must survive alone after her plane crashes in the Canadian wilds.

Showrunner Maggie Kiley’s directed episodes of “Riverdale” and “Dirty John”, while Rebecca Rodriguez comes over from “Snowpiercer” and “Doom Patrol”.

You can watch “Keep Breathing” on Netflix. All 6 episodes are out on day one.

Another Self (Netflix)
directed by Burcu Alptekin

In this Turkish romance series, three best friends set off on a road trip in an attempt to break monotonous cycles and reshape their futures.

“Another Self” is directed by Burcu Alptekin, who also helmed episodes of popular Turkish series “The Protector” and “The Gift”.

You can watch “Another Self” on Netflix. All 8 episodes are available immediately.

Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin (HBO Max)
directed by women

The fourth series in the “Pretty Little Liars” franchise finds a new set of girls being tormented. This time, the style leans more openly horror.

Lisa Soper, Cierra Glaude, and Maggie Kiley direct. Soper handles five episodes – she’s directed on “Peacemaker” and “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina”.

You can watch “Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin” on HBO Max. The first three episodes have premiered, and at least two episodes drop every Thursday.

Amber Brown (Apple TV+)
showrunner Bonnie Hunt

A girl navigates her parents’ divorce through art and music.

Bonnie Hunt showruns, based on the novel by Paula Danziger.

You can watch “Amber Brown” on Apple TV+. All 10 episodes are available immediately.

Rebel Cheer Squad – A Get Even Series (Netflix)
showrunner Holly Phillips
half-directed by Claire Tailyour

In the spirit of 2020 UK thriller “Get Even”, “Rebel Cheer Squad” finds a trio of cheerleaders at the same private school revive the original’s club to exposes bullies.

You can watch “Rebel Cheer Squad” on Netflix. All 8 episodes are available now.

NEW FILMS

Not Okay (Hulu)
directed by Quinn Shephard

A struggling writer accumulates followers by pretending to be in Paris, but her story puts her at the location of bombings. To maintain her newfound fame, she pretends to be a survivor, as the con grows a life of its own. (One of my favorite performances in recent years was Zoey Deutch’s con artist in Tanya Wexler’s “Buffaloed”, and I’m curious to see what she does with a different angle into similar territory.)

This is writer-director Quinn Shephard’s second feature film after “Blame”, a modern adaptation of “The Crucible”.

You can watch “Not Okay” on Hulu.

Honor Society (Paramount Plus)
directed by Oran Zegman

Honor is determined to get into Harvard. She targets three competitors, determined to undermine their chances…until she falls for one. The cast here’s worth noting, with Gaten Matarazzo (Dustin from “Stranger Things”) and Miku Martineau (from last year’s “Kate”) also starring.

This is director Oran Zegman’s first feature film.

You can watch “Honor Society” on Paramount Plus.

Topside (Hulu, Kanopy)
co-directed by Celine Held

A girl and her mother live in a hidden community: the abandoned subway tunnels underneath New York City.

Celine Held writes and directs with Logan George, as well as starring. Held has directed on the series “Servant”.

You can watch “Topside” on Hulu, Kanopy, or see where to rent it.

Paradise Highway (VOD)
directed by Anna Gutto

A truck driver is forced to smuggle to save her brother. She’s chased by the FBI, and soon finds out her cargo is a girl. Juliette Binoche, Morgan Freeman, and Frank Grillo star.

This is Anna Gutto’s first feature as writer or director.

You can rent “Paradise Highway” on Amazon, Google Play, or Vudu.

How to Please a Woman (VOD)
directed by Renee Webster

Fed up with her lot in life and freshly laid off, Gina manages an all-male combination cleaning-and-prostitution service in this Australian film.

This is writer-director Renee Webster’s first feature after directing on Australian series such as “The Heights”.

See where to rent “How to Please a Woman”.

Purple Hearts (Netflix)
directed by Elizabeth Allen Rosenbaum

Cassie is a singer-songwriter whose health care isn’t keeping up with her needs. A marine agrees to marry her so she can share his military benefits, but their separation makes things more and more complex.

Elizabeth Allen Rosenbaum directs. She’s previously helmed episodes of “Dead to Me” and “Empire”.

You can watch “Purple Hearts” on Netflix.

Take a look at new shows + movies by women from past weeks.

If you enjoy what you read on this site, subscribe to Gabriel Valdez’s Patreon. It helps with the time and resources to continue writing articles like this one.

New Shows + Movies by Women — July 22, 2022

This week’s a lighter week, but it has good range over different streaming platforms. On top of this, we’re getting a constant inflow of quality horror movies. This week’s Irish “You Are Not My Mother” and Sandra Oh-starring “Umma”, last week’s generational horrors “She Will” and the South African “Good Madam”, and Laotian time travel horror “The Long Walk” from the week before have meant a steady stream of early summer horror.

That’s not all there is, and this week’s new series arrive from Brazil and the U.S., while new films come from Australia, Ireland, and the U.S.

NEW SERIES

Rap Sh!t (HBO Max)
showrunner Syreeta Singleton

A rap group composed of women try to find success in Miami’s music industry.

While Issa Rae helped develop the concept, Syreeta Singleton showruns. She’s also written on “Insecure” and “Central Park”.

You can watch “Rap Sh!t” on HBO Max. The first two episodes have premiered, with new ones arriving every Thursday.

All the Same…or Not (Disney+)
co-directed by Suzy Milstein

In this Brazilian coming-of-age series, Carol is navigating both the pressures of high school and the new family her mother’s marriage introduces.

Based on the novel “Na porta ao lado” by Luly Trigo, the series is directed by Suzy Milstein and Marcelo Trotta.

You can watch “All the Same…or Not” on Disney+. All 10 episodes are available immediately.

NEW MOVIES

You Are Not My Mother (Hulu)
directed by Kate Dolan

Char’s mother goes missing from their housing estate. She returns seeming…different. Char begins investigating around North Dublin for an answer, coming across family secrets that were long hidden away.

Writer-director Kate Dolan started out in art direction and set dressing before shifting into writing and directing.

You can watch “You Are Not My Mother” on Hulu, or see where to rent it.

Umma (Netflix)
directed by Iris K. Shim

Sandra Oh plays Amanda, who works a farm with her daughter. When the remains of her estranged mother arrive, Amanda fears she’s turning into her.

The horror film is written and directed by Iris K. Shim, an accomplished documentary filmmaker and editor.

You can watch “Umma” on Netflix, or see where to rent it.

Love and Penguins (Tubi)
directed by Christine Luby

Tilly works in animal sanctuary management, and lands a project to rehabilitate a resource-starved penguin sanctuary in Australia. There she meets their zoologist Fletcher, and sparks fly.

“Love and Penguins” is directed by Christine Luby, who got her start as a production manager and assistant director in Australian film.

You can watch “Love and Penguins” on Tubi.

Alone Together (VOD)
directed by Katie Holmes

During the pandemic, a pair of strangers in stressful relationships are booked for the same Airbnb in upstate New York. Katie Holmes, Jim Sturgess, Derek Luke, and Melissa Leo star in Holmes’s debut as a writer and second film as director.

Holmes is most famous for her roles in films like “Disturbing Behavior”, “Pieces of April”, and the series “Dawson’s Creek”.

Take a look at new shows + movies by women from past weeks.

If you enjoy what you read on this site, subscribe to Gabriel Valdez’s Patreon. It helps with the time and resources to continue writing articles like this one.

New Shows + Movies by Women — June 3, 2022

The most exciting thing this week is a new collection of documentaries on athletes by ESPN. All the athletes covered are women and a monthlong series of premieres kicked off with five short films. They’re calling the series “Fifty/50”.

Later in the month, they’ll be premiering “Dream On” (June 15), which chronicles the foundation of the WNBA. On June 18, eight more short documentaries will arrive. June 21 and 28 will see “37 Words”, a four-part documentary on Title IX, which legally codified equal rights for women in education and athletics.

College networks will also see new documentary debuts. June 23 sees “Catch98”, chronicling the career of basketball player Tamika Catchings on SEC Network. “Hidden Dynasty”covers North Carolina’s women’s soccer team, which won 22 national championships. It arrives June 23 on ACC Network.

A range of accompanying digital pieces, reporting, interviews, and podcasts are also part of the effort. ESPNU is also making 75% of their programming this month feature women’s athletics. All of this put together is a lot to choose from, and more than I can cover here, so take a look at the full list.

You can also find past documentaries on women athletes as part of their “30 for 30” and “Nine for IX” series. You need ESPN+ to watch them, but this comes bundled with Disney+, and can be bundled with Hulu. It’s also included in certain cable/satellite subscription plans. These are some of the best documentaries on TV. The “Fifty/50” shorts should also arrive on that page soon.

Let’s get into the new narrative series and films by women this week:

NEW SERIES

Surviving Summer (Netflix)
co-showrunner Joanna Werner
half-directed by Sian Davies, Charlotte George

Summer is a Brooklyn kid who acts out. She’s expelled from school and punished by her family to go live in Australia (I should have acted out more). Once there, she falls in love with surfing.

Joanna Werner showruns with Stuart Menzies. She’s produced on other Australian series such as “The Newsreader” and “Clickbait”.

You can watch “Surviving Summer” on Netflix. All 10 episodes are available immediately.

Tom Swift (CW)
co-showrunners Noga Landau, Melinda Hsu Taylor

“Tom Swift” spins off from the CW’s “Nancy Drew”, folowing a billionaire inventor who delves into a world of sci-fi conspiracies in search of his missing father.

“Nancy Drew” showrunners Noga Landau and Melinda Hsu Taylor are joined by “Empire” writer Cameron Johnson.

You can watch “Tom Swift” on the CW. The premiere is available, with a new episode arriving every Tuesday.

NEW MOVIES

Hollywood Stargirl (Disney+)
directed by Julia Hart

The sequel to 2020 film “Stargirl” (not to be confused with the 2020 superhero series “Stargirl”) finds the free-spirited musician striking out on her own in Los Angeles. Grace VanderWaal reprises the lead role, with Judy Greer and Uma Thurman also starring.

Writer-director Julia Hart returns. Aside from the YA-oriented “Stargirl” films, she’s helmed some incredibly different movies at the start of her career. This includes a take on superheroes in “Fast Color” and one of my favorite films of 2020, the 70s crime drama “I’m Your Woman”.

You can watch “Hollywood Stargirl” on Disney+.

Nudo Mixteco (HBO Max)
directed by Angeles Cruz

As the Festival of San Mateo unfolds, three indigenous women navigate the restrictions of custom, religion, and tradition when it comes to their sexuality.

The Mexican film is the first feature from writer-director Angeles Cruz.

You can watch “Nudo Mixteco” on HBO Max.

Take a look at new shows + movies by women from past weeks.

If you enjoy what you read on this site, subscribe to Gabriel Valdez’s Patreon. It helps with the time and resources to continue writing articles like this one.

New Shows + Movies by Women — March 18, 2022

I have a lot to say about the first series and its creator’s history. It’s important for me to share as much as I can find, but when something intersects with racism, that’s also important to highlight. A big part of the way I write this feature is to highlight the names of women behind these shows and movies, but when one of these names has a history with a racist project, I find myself not always knowing what to do. I also find myself nervous about the specific kind of racism. If I talk about someone being racist toward Black or Asian people, I’m not Black or Asian. I don’t feel doubtful for saying something’s racist because there’s no internal monologue telling me I shouldn’t. There are Black or Asian voices I can point to; I can follow their lead.

When a creator has been racist toward Mexican people in their work, that is something I’ve endured. It is something that has targeted me. It’s a pain I know and have inhabited. Discussing it opens up vulnerability and trauma I’ve experienced. Because I’ve so often been told by the people applying that racism that I’m overreacting or that it doesn’t exist, even bringing it up makes me terrified that no one will take it seriously. I can’t follow someone else’s lead because it’s my lead. My work as a Latino writer isn’t just in reckoning with it, it’s in proving to others that it exists, proving to others that my voice is legitimate to talk about its existence. I have to prove to all that vulnerability and trauma stacked up in me that I’m able to do it even as that ingrained self-doubt tells me in countless ways I can’t possibly do it right. I’m supposed to be one of those voices. If I don’t speak, I know I’m repeating the marginalization that expects me as a Latino to be too exhausted and afraid to do so. If I do speak, I have to wade through all that marginalization I’ve internalized to just get to the first word.

It’s like this with all marginalizations; this moment it’s just my turn. But whoever’s ‘turn’ it is, realize they’re terrified to be taking it. It’s unfair that the work of proving it – whether for Black, Asian, Latine, indigenous, women, disabled, LGBTQ+ writers, the list goes on – that the burden of all that work is on the shoulders of whoever is facing the bigotry aimed at them in that moment. It is an unfair critical structure that our culture assumes as its default. To speak is needed, and the burden of that is it demands repeating the internal experience of violence. To not speak may avoid that direct pressure point, but asks the quieted to live inside and legitimize their marginalization. Men need to understand that for women. White people need to understand that for people of color. Enabled people need to understand that for disabled people. Cis het people need to understand that for LGBTQ+ people.

The purpose of this feature is to highlight work by women and to help make the women doing that work better known. I don’t always know how to call something out when the history of that person’s work itself platforms racism, misogyny, ableism, or other forms of bigotry. I’ve cut things before because they’re blatantly, explicitly hateful. I won’t platform bigotry, but there’s a lot that rides the line, or that comes from someone who featured bigotry in one project…but perhaps not this one.

I’m sure there are some things I don’t see – especially with not being able to watch everything that’s featured here. I specifically want to make this article series as informational as possible because that helps me mitigate potential forms of implicit bias I may not recognize I hold. When a creator has made racist work before, I hope readers realize bringing it up is about the racism, and that does have a place being discussed when that work is featured for another reason. I hope to see the creator I’m about to highlight surpass that racism, to isolate it to a prior point in her career, but without seeing some kind of reckoning with that prior work, the only other option is to talk about the nature of it and the impact it has.

NEW SERIES

Minx (HBO Max)
showrunner Ellen Rapoport

“Minx” follows Joyce as she creates the first erotic magazine for women in the U.S. “Minx” takes its inspiration from a number of similar magazines that started publishing in the 70s. Ophelia Lovibond and Jake Johnson star.

Ellen Rapoport previously wrote and produced on “Three Moons Over Milford”. She got her start as a writer on “The Jamie Kennedy Experiment”.

I’m trying to figure out the right way to say this because the moment I looked at Rapoport’s project history my heart sank. She wrote a film called “Desperados” which was incredibly racist toward Mexicans in an era when that racism is even more dangerous than usual. When a creator has done that before, I can’t feature something from them without noting it.

Like I said, I strive to keep this feature informational, but that is information to me because that kind of racism is dangerous in general and it’s specifically dangerous to me and my family. What makes us safer is other people realizing that is information as well, and not some kneejerk or emotional interpretation. When someone is racist, the fact that they are racist and have done something racist is information we need other people to understand instead of dismiss. The kind of things Rapoport wrote in “Desperados” are the kind of things that make people feel legitimized in dehumanizing or threatening Latine people. I wrestled with whether I should even feature this project or not, but there’s nothing that immediately points to “Minx” sharing that racism. That doesn’t make me feel immediately safer because “Desperados” didn’t look racist from its press releases and trailer either.

This isn’t a case of me harping on something minor; “Desperados” was repetitively racist and dehumanizing. To share another project from the same creator without talking about that would be to participate in my own dehumanization and marginalization. I’m hoping it was isolated to that one project because I’m genuinely interested in “Minx”, but I know from experience that hope is not often sustained.

You can watch “Minx” on HBO Max. Two new episodes arrive every Thursday, for a total of 10.

Standing Up (Netflix)
showrunner Fanny Herrero

In this French comedy, four young Parisians juggle stressful lives and jobs while trying to make it as stand up comedians.

Showrunner Fanny Herrero also created French comedy “Call My Agent!”.

You can watch “Standing Up” on Netflix.

The Newsreader (Roku)
directed by Emma Freeman

Anna Torv plays a news anchor who takes a reporter under her wing and trains him. They develop a bond as they cover the whirlwind of news the mid-80s brought. The series is set behind-the-scenes at an Australian broadcast news program.

Emma Freeman has directed on “Stateless” and “Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries”, among other Australian series.

You can watch “The Newsreader” on Roku. All six episodes are available immediately.

Cracow Monsters (Netflix)
showrunner Kasia Adamik

In this Polish fantasy series, a medical student is pulled into a circle of investigators who hunt monsters and gods from Slavic mythology.

Kasia Adamik’s shows regularly contend at the Polish Film Awards, with “Wataha” winning two of its three best series nominations, and “1983” being nominated. For “Pokot”, she was also nominated for Best Film and Best Director alongside her mother and co-director, the great Polish filmmaker Agnieszka Holland.

You can watch “Cracow Monsters” on Netflix. All eight episodes are available immediately.

The Paradise (Acorn TV)
directed by Marja Pyykko

In this Finnish-Spanish mystery series, a Finnish family is found murdered in Spain’s Costa del Sol. They send an investigator to bridge the Finnish community and Spanish investigators there. The series is told in Finnish, Spanish, and English.

Director Marja Pyykko is a fairly prolific director of Finnish TV.

You can watch “The Paradise” on Acorn TV. All eight episodes are available immediately.

Welcome to Flatch (Fox)
showrunner Jenny Bicks

A U.S. remake of BBC mockumentary series “This Country”, “Welcome to Flatch” sees a documentary crew film the young adults of a small town.

Showrunner Jenny Bicks was a producer on “Sex and the City”, and wrote and produced on “The Big C” and “Men in Trees”.

You can watch “Welcome to Flatch” on Fox. New episodes arrive every Friday.

Lust (HBO Max)
directed by Emma Lemhagen

No English trailer available, but in this Swedish series, Anette takes part in a government study about the sex lives of women in their 40s. This evokes her and her friends to reflect on how the study’s questions play into their lives.

Emma Lemhagen directs. She’s helmed films in Sweden since the 90s.

You can watch “Lust” on HBO Max. All episodes are available now.

NEW MOVIES

Love After Love (MUBI)
directed by Ann Hui

In the 1940s, a girl is sent from Shanghai to Hong Kong so she can continue her education. Instead, she starts working for her aunt to seduce the rich and powerful.

Ann Hui is a legendary Hong Kong director who’s won Best Director at the Golden Horse Awards three times and at the Hong Kong Film Awards six times.

This is the third time Hui has directed an adaptation of Eileen Chang’s writing. Chang was a feminist writer of the 1940s who fled the Communist regime. Another adaptation of her work that might be familiar to Western audiences is Ang Lee’s “Lust, Caution”.

You can watch “Love After Love” on MUBI.

Master (Amazon)
directed by Mariama Diallo

Three Black women at a college in New England begin to share strange experiences. Regina Hall and Zoe Renee star.

Writer-director Mariama Diallo wrote and directed on experimental series “Random Acts of Flyness”. This is her first feature film.

You can watch “Master” on Amazon.

Violet (Showtime)
directed by Justine Bateman

Violet suffers anxiety. Knowing she makes her decisions out of fear, she puts herself in fearful situations in order to break the cycle. Olivia Munn stars.

Justine Bateman is best known as an actress going as far back as “Family Ties”. This is her first feature as writer or director.

You can watch “Violet” on Showtime.

Cheaper by the Dozen (Disney+)
directed by Gail Lerner

Zach Braff and Gabrielle Union star in this remake of the 2003 Steve Martin/Bonnie Hunt comedy. It centers on a chaotic family of 12.

Director Gail Lerner has helmed episodes of “Grace and Frankie” and “Black-ish”. This is her first feature.

You can watch “Cheaper by the Dozen” on Disney+.

Rescued by Ruby (Netflix)
directed by Katt Shea

A state trooper partners with a rescued shelter dog in an attempt to get into the K-9 Search and Rescue unit.

Director Katt Shea started out as an actress in the 80s, but was soon directing films for legendary B-movie maker Roger Corman. Her big break came in 1992 with the infamous “Poison Ivy”. After 18 years away (since 2001), she returned with “Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase” and seems to be focusing on the family genre. (In a weird twist, this also stars Scott Wolf, an actor on Melinda Hsu Taylor’s very different “Nancy Drew” series, which I highly recommend. I look forward to winning a pub quiz with this trivia several years from now.)

You can watch “Rescued by Ruby” on Netflix.

Take a look at new shows + movies by women from past weeks.

If you enjoy what you read on this site, subscribe to Gabriel Valdez’s Patreon. It helps with the time and resources to continue writing articles like this one.

New Shows + Movies by Women — February 18, 2022

It’s funny when weeks take on themes. The week after Valentine’s Day is apparently the time for TV shows about affairs and breakups. Everyone all right out there? I’ve got to look at past years and see if this is a regular occurrence, or just a coincidence this week.

It’s also a time for horror movies, and this is something I know is pretty common to February. Composed of mid-budget and low-budget films, horror likes to lurk where event movies don’t. Superhero and action films are waiting for those prime summer dates, so they aren’t sucking up all the audience right now. That provides an opportunity for films that lack the marketing budget to compete – and these days, that typically means horror, which has found a lot of success in these off-peak months.

I’ll also point out that a new Celine Sciamma film drops this week. It doesn’t fall into either of those categories, but as the filmmaker behind “Portrait of a Lady on Fire”, “Girlhood”, and “Tomboy”, Sciamma has a strong argument as the best director working today.

Netflix has a number of short films debuting by both women and men this week. This includes Ashley Eakin’s directorial project “Forgive Us Our Trespasses”, a 13 minute short about a disabled boy who must escape Germany’s Aktion T4 program during Nazi rule. The program of forced euthanasia resulted in the murder of 300,000 disabled people in Austria, Germany, occupied Poland, and parts of what is now the Czech Republic, often with the aid of regional Catholic and Protestant authorities.

Marielle Woods directs Netflix short “Heart Shot”, a 19 minute film about two teenagers in love, but facing an unspoken danger. Woods has worked on stunts for “John Wick: Chapter 2”, “Baby Driver”, “Bright”, and stunt coordinated on “Westworld”.

New projects this week come from Australia, Brazil, France, Japan, Sweden, the U.K., and the U.S.

NEW SERIES

Aftertaste (Acorn TV)
showrunner Julie De Fina

Easton West is a celebrity chef with anger issues who burns all his bridges and has to retreat to his hometown in Adelaide, Australia. There, he takes on starting a new, more humble restaurant with an unexpected partner.

Julie De Fina created the show with Matthew Bate and showruns and writes on it.

You can watch “Aftertaste” on Acorn TV. All six episodes are available immediately.

Lov3 (Amazon)
half directed by Mariana Youssef

In this Brazilian series, three siblings navigate dating by pursuing unconventional relationships in the wake of their parents’ separation. There’s no English trailer available, but the series itself does have English options.

Mariana Youssef directs three of the six episodes. It’s her first time directing on a series; she’s previously worked on documentaries and short films. “Lov3” was co-created by Rita Moraes.

You can watch “Lov3” on Amazon. All six episodes are available immediately.

Fishbowl Wives (Netflix)
half directed by Namiki Michiko

Sakura Hiraga lives a glamorous life of luxury that hides her husband’s abusive behavior from others. Unable to leave, she makes a connection with another man that reminds her of the dreams she’s given up. She’s just one of six women who pursue affairs in the Japanese series “Fishbowl Wives”.

Namiki Michiko directs at least four of the eight episodes. She’s directed a number of Japanese films and series, including the modernized 2019 adaptation of “Les Miserables”.

You can watch “Fishbowl Wives” on Netflix. All eight episodes are available immediately.

NEW MOVIES

Petite Maman (MUBI)
directed by Celine Sciamma

Nelly is a girl who’s lost her grandmother. She goes on a trip to help her parents clean out her grandmother’s home. Exploring the forest there, she meets another girl building a treehouse. The French film is told from a child’s perspective.

Writer-director Celine Sciamma is the first name that comes to mind when you ask me about the best director working today. She directed “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” and my #3 pick for best films of the 2010s, “Girlhood”.

You can watch “Petite Maman” on MUBI.

A Banquet (VOD)
directed by Ruth Paxton

Sienna Guillory plays Holly, a widowed mother who tries to cope with her daughter Betsey declaring her body now belongs to a higher power. Betsey refuses to eat, but doesn’t suffer or lose weight, and Holly is forced to contend with who or what this higher power may be.

Ruth Paxton started as a production designer and art director, and has written and directed several shorts that interpret painting and dance. This is her feature-length debut.

See where to rent “A Banquet”.

CW: imagery of suicide

Knocking (Shudder, VOD)
directed by Frida Kempff

After undergoing a trauma and a stay in a psychiatric ward, Molly moves into a new apartment. Yet she keeps hearing knocking. She can’t sleep or live a normal life, and no one else hears it or believes her. “Knocking” is adapted by Emma Brostrom from the novel by Johan Theorin.

Frida Kempff is a Swedish director who’s primarily helmed documentaries before this. “Knocking” is her first narrative feature.

You can watch “Knocking” on Shudder, or see where to rent it.

Horror Noire (AMC+)
co-directed by Zandashe Brown, Robin Givens

This anthology film presents six horror stories from Black directors and screenwriters. Tony Todd, Peter Stormare, and Lesley-Ann Brandt star.

Zandashe Brown is a relatively new director. Robin Givens is known for her acting career, which has ranged from “Head of the Class” to “Riverdale”. This is her third feature as director, and she’s helmed some episodes on “Riverdale”.

You can watch “Horror Noire” on AMC+.

The Space Between (Hulu, Paramount+)
directed by Rachel Winter

Kelsey Grammar plays an eccentric rock musician who’s losing track of reality. He has to contend with the people his label sends to force him out of his contract, but may be on the verge of rediscovering his music.

Rachel Winter has produced on films like “Dallas Buyers Club” and “Krystal”. This is her first feature as director.

You can watch “The Space Between” on Hulu or Paramount+.

Flee the Light (VOD)
directed by Alexandra Senza

A psychology student accidentally releases an ancient supernatural force when she tries to cure her sister’s psychosis.

This is the first feature directed by Alexandra Senza.

You can rent “Flee the Light” on iTunes or Vudu.

Take a look at new shows + movies by women from past weeks.

If you enjoy what you read on this site, subscribe to Gabriel Valdez’s Patreon. It helps with the time and resources to continue writing articles like this one.

Culture War: The Dire Condition of Australia’s Arts Funding

Sydney Opera House

by Olivia Smith

Australia is a source of incredible filmmakers and visual artists, but funding for our most independent creators is beset by a coalition led by Senator George Brandis, who heads our Ministry for the Arts.

Our artists face a dire reality: grants are harder to find, and overwhelmingly favour companies secure in their establishment. The Ministry selects for orchestras, operas, and ballets with tourist appeal, while starving out distinctly Australian artists.

Multiplexes are held captive by American companies that stuff their own products onto every screen. Australian-made means you compete with other Australian-made films to get the dingiest, filthiest corner screen. In 2013, Australian films were disregarded to the tune of a dismal 3.5% of box office.

And now, Screen Australia’s funding has been cut by $38 million.

In theatre, five playwrights account for a whopping 24% of Australian drama put on between 1987 and 2013. This is while only 45% of plays – less than half – can be described as Australian in origin. Again, this leads back to the Ministry’s preference in funding only what they interpret as safe, classical work.

We are also beholden to reviews in English papers. A bad review abroad is often worse than a bad review at home. Heaven forbid we offend the delicate tastes of the mother country. These critics would often rather see more Shakespeare and other English playwrights, but this strangles support for new Australian theatre. Of plays performed that originate overseas, nine authors account for 69% of the work. There is meager market and support for up-and-coming Australian playwrights.

Visual artists are forced to find corporate sponsorship. This can easily go wrong, as when nine artists boycotted the Sydney Biennale because of a single sponsor. Transfield Holdings owns stake in Transfield Services, which operates two immigrant detention gulags so far off shore that they are closer to Indonesia and Solomon Islands than they are to the continent.

Their gambit worked, forcing Transfield to conclude their sponsorship, to which Brandis responded with threats to cut off government funding of the arts portion. I link a Guardian piece above because our own media frowned upon the upright actions of artists and wagged fingers: it might frighten other corporate sponsors, they warned. Is corporate sponsorship so skittish? Is it so crucial to artists that they cannot survive without it? Unfortunately, the state of our arts funding appears to make the answer to both questions, “Yes.”

Australia has become stifled and stagnant. The art our government chooses to fund is the kind that pleases England and America the best. We are like the child proffering a mangled project of construction-paper and glue to our mother and step-father, hoping that they like it. We refuse to believe that in their eyes we will never be their equal, and so we don’t grow up and invest in our own art infrastructure.

Enough of this and our identity will cease to be Australian. Like our art, we will become poor imitations of other countries.

To find an example of growing up and striking out on our own path, we need look no further than our little brother New Zealand, a country that has created art the way they see fit and has captured the world’s imagination in doing so. Their government has valued community and local arts, has overcome the xenophobia we still suffer and offered opportunities (i.e. poached) artists from Indonesia and Australia, and mobilised crowdfunding, resource sharing, and cooperative creation as ways to bolster local art. Meanwhile, we keep what the tourists like alive while we let our own artistic community stagnate.

Special Edition Trailers of the Week — Aussie Rules

by Gabriel Valdez

There were a few fantastic trailers from Australia and New Zealand this week that I didn’t want to get lost in our regular edition, especially because this next film just became my most anticipated:

PREDESTINATION
Trailer #2

Here’s the thing about Predestination. It’s based on a Robert Heinlein short story about a time traveler who descends from himself…by impregnating himself before a sex change.

The trailer doesn’t breathe a word of this, but if you know the material, you can see it strongly hinted. Perhaps the film just uses the Heinlein name and the time travel concept. Even if that’s true, it still looks like a visually arresting thriller.

BUT! And this might be the biggest “but” in film history – if it addresses Heinlein’s concept in any way (and I wouldn’t put it past Ethan Hawke to tackle it), we are in for a hell of an ambitious film.

Heinlein’s short story “All You Zombies” is a stunning mindbender about a man who creates his entire lineage using temporal paradoxes. In the time it was written, it was an important and challenging metaphor for the struggles of the transgendered, and made readers feel real emotion for a character they might have ridiculed were he a real person standing before them.

Predestination might just be a time travel noir using the barest framework of Heinlein’s story. But if it’s not…oh boy, if it’s not, if it’s true to Heinlein, it’s one of the most difficult – and potentially most important – film adaptations ever tackled.

THE DEAD LANDS
Trailer #1

I’m a big fan of action films about indigenous peoples, because you know what? Indigenous peoples had action franchises, too. Occasionally, a film like this is exploitative, but a surprising amount of the time there’s a real passion and dedication that goes into presenting these societies in detail, and proudly.

The Dead Lands is being produced by the same group that financed Indonesia’s two The Raid movies – the best action franchise of the past decade – and they have a habit of trusting their talent and giving them the means to try out crazy ideas more traditional studios wouldn’t go near.

This means a lot in the countries of Oceania, where there isn’t exactly a lot of money for original filmmaking in the first place. Needless to say, I’m eagerly anticipating a stylish New Zealand action movie that – hopefully – is both respectful and revealing of Maori storytelling culture. After all, we get to hear stories from the perspectives of indigenous peoples far too rarely.

THE MULE
Trailer #1

A movie about how long it takes a man to go to the bathroom. Wait, wait! It’s more complicated. You see, he has drugs in his stomach, he’s being detained by the authorities led by Hugo Weaving (The Matrix, Captain America), and he’s being stalked by the drug dealer he’s late in meeting, played by John Noble (Fringe, Sleepy Hollow). He’s cooped up in a small, Melbourne hotel room while a legal aide tries to get him free and his family turns increasingly dramatic.

It looks like a blistering, uncomfortable comedy with some truly intense moments to it, the kinds of comedies Australia does with a brutal sense of just how to make you laugh out of discomfort.

That’s our special Down Under roundup this week. By the way, if you’re looking for more news and reviews on Australian film, I highly recommend my own go-to source, Jordan and Eddie. They’re two young Australian critics who are fantastic reads.