I’ll be posting an article next week about the best films the Oscars overlooked. It isn’t meant to take away from any of the deserving films that are nominated, but the reality is that work by women is incredibly overlooked by the awards circuit. Most of what I’m writing about in that article is directed by women – not because it’s an article about work by women, but because every year, about half of the best films aren’t recognized and they overwhelmingly have one thing in common. Women directed them.
One of 10 films nominated for Best Picture was directed by a woman (Sarah Polley’s “Women Talking”). No woman was nominated for Best Director. Only four of 65 Best Director nominations since 2010 have been women.
Of the 18 writers nominated in the screenplay categories, only two were women. Mandy Walker’s nomination for Best Cinematography makes her only the third woman nominated in the category since 1929. One woman was nominated for editing, a category where only 20% of the nominees since 2000 have been women.
Stating this does not take away from any of the films that are nominated, but these facts do represent what’s constantly taken away from women filmmakers. It is fucking tired, nor should it be an outlier that a man gives a shit. Nobody thinks it’s odd when women or men praise male filmmakers, and no one expects to give them any cookies for doing so. If you’re a man who’s never bothered to seek out half the great work that’s out there or who’s never spoken up for it to be recognized, the only question that’s worth asking is: Why not?
This week, new series by women come from Ireland, the U.K., and the U.S., while new movies by women come from Canada, Germany, Poland, Romania, South Africa, and the U.S.
showrunner Yvette Lee Bowser
Kerry Washington plays a therapist and single mother whose father (Delroy Lindo) is released from prison. Having nowhere else to go, he moves in and becomes part of the family.
Showrunner Yvette Lee Bowser also showran “Dear White People” and “Run the World”. She got her start as a story editor and later writer and director on “A Different World”.
Directors include “Queen Sugar” helmer Numa Perrier and “UnReal” director and star Shiri Appleby.
All 8 episodes are out tomorrow, March 10.
Rain Dogs (HBO Max)
showrunner Cash Carraway
half-directed by Jennifer Perrott
Daisy May Cooper stars in what is described as “an unconventional love story between a working-class single mum, her young daughter, and a privileged gay man”. That’s all we know so far.
Showrunner and writer Cash Carraway is known for her 2010s memoir “Skint Estate” about her experiences as a mother in poverty. Jennifer Perrott directs half the episodes, coming over from “Doctor Who” and “Gentleman Jack”.
The first episode is out on HBO Max, with a new one dropping every Monday for a total of 8.
Holding (Acorn TV)
directed by Kathy Burke
Based on a novel by Graham Norton, “Holding” tells the story of an Irish police officer content to do as little work as possible until he’s thrust into a murder investigation.
Showrunner/director Kathy Burke is a career actress in British TV and film who took up directing about 15 years ago.
You can watch all four episodes on Acorn TV.
School Spirits (Paramount+)
co-showrunner Megan Trinrud
mostly directed by women
Peyton List plays Maddie, a teen in the afterlife stuck where she died: high school. She’ll have to solve her own murder if she ever hopes to move on.
Megan Trinrud showruns with Nate Trinrud. “Honor Society” director Oran Zegman helms four episodes, and Hannah Macpherson another two.
You can watch “School Spirits” on Paramount+. The premiere is out, with a new episode arriving every Thursday.
directed Chloe Okuno
Julia moves to Bucharest for her husband’s job. With little to do during the day, she notices a man watching her from the apartment across the street. Coupled with news about a local serial killer, she starts investigating when no one around her takes her seriously. “Watcher” stars Maika Monroe, who you may recognize as the lead from “It Follows” and is similarly phenomenal here.
I cannot recommend this movie highly enough. It is a masterpiece of slow burn horror built around everyday threats women experience and the dismissal they meet. It functions as both a traditional giallo and a rage-inducing inversion of horror tropes. Its pace is so deliberate you don’t even notice as it saps the air from the room. “Watcher” is one of my top 5 films for 2022, and it’s incredibly overlooked right now.
Director Chloe Okuno also directed a segment on “V/H/S/94” and an episode of “Let the Right One In”.
You can see “Watcher” on Hulu.
The Silent Twins (Amazon)
directed by Agnieszka Smoczynska
“The Silent Twins” tells the story of June and Jennifer Gibbons. Based on real events, the Welsh identical twins would only talk to each other and refused to communicate with anyone else. Letitia Wright and Tamara Lawrance star.
The English-language film is helmed by Polish director Agnieszka Smoczynska, who’se also directed on “1983” and “Warrior Nun”. “Laggies” writer Andrea Seigel adapts the screenplay from the book by Marjorie Wallace.
You can watch “The Silent Twins” on Amazon Prime.
directed by Vanessa Jopp
In this German film, Zeynep leaves her unhappy life to move to a Croatian island where her late mother owned a house. What she didn’t plan for is Josip, the man who still lives on her mother’s property.
Vanessa Jopp is a prolific German director.
You can watch “Faraway” on Netflix.
Deadly Estate (Tubi)
directed by Sam Coyle
A hotel manager is accused of murdering the new owner’s son. She’s innocent and has to prove it using her experience in the industry.
Sam Coyle directs the Canadian film.
You can watch “Deadly Estate” on Tubi.
directed by Ilyssa Goodman
Two women are shipwrecked and fight to survive in a post-apocalyptic world.
Ilyssa Goodman writes and directs.
You can watch “Castaways” on Tubi.
Do Your Worst (Netflix)
directed by Samantha Nell
A life of questionable decision-making finally catches up with the struggling actor Sondra.
Samantha Nell directs the South African film.
You can watch “Do Your Worst” on Netflix.
Take a look at new shows + movies by women from past weeks.
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