Tag Archives: birds of paradise

New Shows + Movies by Women — September 24, 2021

We’re into the Fall TV season. That means it’s the one time of year that network series get a strong showing. September tends to be the one month where networks overtake streaming services in terms of narrative television.

Major event films tend to avoid the month. Of the last 10 non-pandemic years, September has had the weakest box office in seven of them. The only thing that saved the month in two of those years was the two parts of Stephen King’s “It”.

This doesn’t mean there aren’t good films out there. With event films outside of horror clearing out of September and early October, it’s usually a great time to find indie movies, genre experiments, and character-based dramas. That holds true this week with a number of new films out on video-on-demand.

As always, let’s start with series first:


Jaguar (Netflix)
co-showrunner Gema R. Neira

Isabel is a Holocaust survivor who settles in Spain. She takes it upon herself to track down escaped Nazis during the 1960s, but it turns out she’s not the only one.

Gema R. Neira created “Jaguar” with Ramon Campos, and the two showrun it together. She’s a veteran in Spanish TV, having written on nearly 40 series.

You can watch the first season of “Jaguar” on Netflix.

The Big Leap (Fox)
showrunner Liz Heldens

“The Big Leap” is a behind-the-scenes musical-comedy about reality competitions. In this case, dancers compete to be cast in a modern remake of “Swan Lake”.

Showrunner Liz Heldens has written and produced on “Friday Night Lights”, “Boston Public”, and “The Orville”.

You can watch “The Big Leap” on Fox, with new episodes weekly.

Our Kind of People (Fox)
showrunner Karin Gist

A single mom moves her family to a vineyard in an attempt to bolster her family name. Her plan involves becoming a part of an elite African American community in the area.

Showrunner Karin Gist has written and produced on “Revenge”, “Grey’s Anatomy”, and “Mixed-ish”.

You can watch “Our Kind of People” on Fox, with new episodes weekly.

NCIS: Hawai’i (CBS)
co-showrunner Jan Nash

As one “NCIS” falls, another rises. So it is written. With the closure of “NCIS: New Orleans”, CBS fills the gap with “NCIS: Hawai’i”. This time, Vanessa Lachey leads the cast investigating a never-ending supply of naval murders.

Jan Nash showruns with Christopher Silber. She’s previously written and produced on “NCIS: New Orleans”, “Without a Trace”, “Black Lightning” and “Rizzoli & Isles”.

You can watch “NCIS: Hawai’i” on CBS, with new episodes weekly.


Birds of Paradise (Amazon)
directed by Sarah Adina Smith

Two girls compete at an elite Parisian ballet academy. Their trust in each other, and sense of reality, will both be turned upside down.

Sarah Adina Smith has directed on “Legion”, “Hanna”, and “Looking for Alaska”. This is her first feature.

You can watch “Birds of Paradise” on Amazon.

East of the Mountains (VOD)
directed by S.J. Chiro

Tom Skerritt plays a retired surgeon who learns his cancer is terminal. He heads to his boyhood home in Eastern Washington to conclude his life, but he and his dog face an unexpected conflict once they get there. “East of the Mountains” is based on the David Guterson novel of the same name.

S.J. Chiro previously directed the well-received “Lane 1974”.

See where to rent “East of the Mountains”.

Through the Glass Darkly (VOD)
directed by Lauren Fash

A girl goes missing. The situation looks similar to the disappearance of Charlie’s daughter the year before. She attempts to find out if there’s a connection, frustrating police and locals who seem like they’re hiding a secret.

This is the first feature from writer-director Lauren Fash.

See where to rent “Through the Glass Darkly”.

Between Waves (VOD)
directed by Virginia Abramovich

A woman keeps glimpsing her missing partner. Eventually, she decides to search for him in an alternate dimension.

“Between Waves” is writer-director Virginia Abramovich’s first feature film.

See where to rent “Between Waves”.

Time is Up (VOD)
directed by Elisa Amoruso

Vivien suffers an accident, and tries to piece together what happened that night. Bella Thorne stars.

Elisa Amoruso has primarily directed Italian documentaries. “Time is Up” is her second narrative feature.

See where to rent “Time is Up”.

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.

National Geographic’s Photos of the Year

The Last Great Picture

by Olivia Smith

National Geographic announced their award for the year’s best wildlife photograph, seen above. It’s called “The Last Great Picture.” It isn’t called that because of photographer Michael Nichols’ ego. He’s fought to raise funds and establish 13 new national parks in lion territory. It’s called “The Last Great Picture” because pictures like these may no longer be possible in coming decades. The Serengeti, like so many natural wonders, becomes lesser every year.

Wildlife Photojournalist of the Year is Brent Stirton. National Geographic combines his award-winning photographs with Nichols’ to create a breathtaking photo series on lions and the strange culture that’s grown around their protection:

“Canned” lion hunts, in which trophy hunters pay for the chance to shoot a lion (and in which professional guides stand by to shoot in case the hunter misses) help raise funds for environmental protection. Is the cost worth it, sacrificing one species as a commodity to save the others in danger?

Local Sakuma dancers kill lions only if they threaten their villages or livestock, but they collect tribute for killing lions by going from village to village and dancing the story of their kill. This glorifies the killing, but for the Sakuma, three or more years of this dancing is required after killing a lion to keep from going mad. Meanwhile, Maasai “Lion Guardians” dedicate their entire lives to tracking and protecting the misunderstood predators.

Then there’s the mad photographers taking pictures of it all.

Finally, a lighter note: Nat Geo features Tim Laman’s portfolio: photographing all 39 species of bird of paradise. No one else has ever done this, because the feat took Laman 10 years of dedication to complete.

If you haven’t already, go check out the stunning photo-essay.

Timothy Laman birds of paradise