Tag Archives: Nigerian film

New Shows + Movies by Women — September 17, 2021

Closing in on October means an influx of indie horror films. It also means the very beginning of a ramp-up toward awards contenders. Beyond this, it’s interesting to see what’s getting brought in from other countries. The pandemic meant a slowdown in production, and a more deliberate pace as things get back underway. In the effort to keep the rate of new series and movies steady, streaming services have increasingly brought in projects that they might not have just a few years ago.

Netflix has been particularly good when it comes to a few countries – their curation of Filipino, Nigerian, and South Korean projects didn’t start with the pandemic, but the slowdown seems to have made them a greater priority. In addition, Amazon and Netflix have invested in India’s filmmaking industry. A number of women writers and directors have been empowered by this, as India’s sometimes misogynistic production structures and laws mean half the talent is often skipped over. I wrote last month about new Indian laws and ‘enforcements’ that are attempting to crack down on and silence women filmmakers in the wake of streaming services picking up their projects.

This week is mostly English-language projects, and there are some good ones, but please don’t skip over what comes out of other countries. When I started this weekly feature, I thought about shoving anything with subtitles to the back of every list, knowing that some readers might skip over these. I decided not to because it shouldn’t be that way. Acting as if the projects from women in the U.S. and U.K. matter more than women from other countries would just be kicking the can down the road on misogyny, and my generation has seen how dangerous that is as we come across every issue those before us declined to handle. Why repeat that? Look at non-English projects. The less of these you’ve watched, the more great work is out there just waiting for you to see it. If you feel like shows are redundant and repeating, and all you watch is English-language projects, then the explanation should be obvious – you’re only seeing things from a narrow range of perspectives. Of course they’ll repeat.

There are shows from France, Japan, and Nigeria this week. Take a look at them. Consider the list of Indian shows and movies by women from last month – if there’s enough of an audience for them, streaming services will be more likely to buck India’s crackdown on women filmmakers and continue to fund their work. Streaming services organize films from other countries pretty well. Choose a place you’ve never seen a film from, and pick what looks interesting. Watching shows and movies doesn’t become repetitive if the places you’re picking from aren’t repetitive.

NEW SERIES

Y: The Last Man (Hulu)
showrunner Eliza Clark
directed by women

Based on the comic book series, “Y: The Last Man” posits a world where every mammal with a Y chromosome suddenly dies…with the exception of a single artist. This is Yorick, and he is chased by those wanting to protect him, experiment on him, and kill him.

Both the original comic and the series base this on chromosomes – so trans women with a Y chromosome and women with androgen insensitivity are part of this. Showrunner Eliza Clark has been specific in saying what sets Yorick apart isn’t his maleness, as other men also survive. What sets him apart is simply that Y chromosome. There are updates that need to be made to the comic series – it started 20 years ago, and cultural and scientific knowledge has improved since then. The series looks promising in terms of including trans creative talent, with actor Elliot Fletcher in a role, and Hugo Award-winning writer Charlie Jane Anders in the writers room.

Showrunner Eliza Clark is a playwright and actress. All the directors on the show are women.

You can watch “Y: The Last Man” on Hulu, with new episodes weekly.

The Heike Story (Funimation)
directed by Naoko Yamada

Biwa is a blind girl with the ability to see the future. She travels as a musician to make her living. When she meets the patriarch of a powerful clan, she offers him a prophecy of bloodshed and war. The series is based on a 13th century epic about the rise and fall of the Taira clan.

Director Naoko Yamada has directed series including “K-on!” and films such as “A Silent Voice”.

You can watch “The Heike Story” on Funimation, with new episodes weekly.

Smart Money Woman (Netflix)
directed by Bunmi Ajakaiye

Zuri is living a life she can’t afford. Her four best friends each have their own problems, but they’re able to help her figure out her life step by step.

“Smart Money Woman” comes from Nigeria and is directed by Bunmi Ajakaiye. She’s a well known photographer, writer, and director who’s helmed two films and now her second series.

You can watch “Smart Money Woman” on Netflix.

Cheyenne & Lola (Sundance Now)
showrunner Virginie Brac

Lola murders the wife of the man she’s sleeping with. Ex-convict Cheyenne witnesses it, and believes she’ll be the one blamed. The two pair up to hide the crime. The series is subtitled; there just isn’t a subtitled trailer available.

Creator, showrunner, and writer Virginie Brac is a prolific French TV writer.

You can watch “Cheyenne & Lola” on Sundance Now.

NEW MOVIES

CW: sexual assault

What She Said (VOD)
directed by Amy Northup

Sam decides she’s going to drop the charges against her rapist. Her friends and siblings stage an intervention at Thanksgiving.

This is the first film from director Amy Northup, an intimacy coordinator who runs classes on consent practices for filmmakers. On her website, Northup discusses, “the same way that we have prioritized the safety of our teams in violent scenes with stunt choreographers, it’s time to normalize the safety, boundaries, and consent of everyone involved in the making of intimate scenes”.

See where to rent “What She Said”.

CW: involuntary commitment

The Mad Women’s Ball (Amazon)
directed by Melanie Laurent

A woman is forcibly institutionalized in a Paris asylum. She plans her escape with the aid of an employee there.

Director, co-writer, and star Melanie Laurent is probably most familiar to U.S. audiences as the vengeful survivor Shosanna in “Inglourious Basterds”. She’s had an extensive career acting in both French and U.S. film. “The Mad Women’s Ball” is her fifth film as director.

You can watch “The Mad Women’s Ball” (listed as “Le Bal des Folles”) on Amazon.

Best Sellers (VOD)
directed by Lina Roessler

Aubrey Plaza and Michael Caine star as a young publisher and the author she coaxes out of retirement. The polar opposites invite disaster as they mount a publicity tour for a man who resents the public. Cary Elwes also stars.

This is director Lina Roessler’s first feature. As an actress, she’s starred in “Lost Girl” and Canadian staple “Murdoch Mysteries” (aka “The Artful Detective”).

See where to rent “Best Sellers”.

CW: stalking, suicide

#Like (Shudder)
directed by Sarah Pirozek

Rosie discovers the man who bullied and harassed her sister into suicide a year earlier is still seeking new victims online. She decides to take revenge into her own hands.

This is the first narrative feature from writer-director Sarah Pirozek.

You can watch “#Like” on Shudder.

Giddy Stratospheres (VOD)
directed by Laura Jean Marsh

Life happens chaotically in the UK indie music scene of the 2000s.

This is the first feature for writer-director Laura Jean Marsh, who also stars in the film.

See where to rent “Giddy Stratospheres”.

Bad Candy (VOD)
co-directed by Desiree Connell

A range of local urban legends are recounted by two Radio DJs on Halloween in a campy horror film.

Desiree Connell directs with Scott B. Hansen. This is her first film as director.

See where to rent “Bad Candy”.

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

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

New Shows + Movies by Women — September 10, 2021

There are new series on Disney+, Netflix, and Amazon, but the new movies this week are on more niche platforms like MUBI and Shudder. I’d urge everyone to take a look at these smaller streaming services. MUBI features a great curated selection of independent, classic, and foreign films. It’s this last category where they bring in movies that you really don’t get a chance to see anywhere else. It’s still not easy in the U.S. to see the low-budget, independent, or experimental movies from other countries that push cinema as a whole forward.

Shudder picks up a lot of low-to-mid budget horror movies, but competes for these with streaming services that know there’s a solid audience for them. They can’t outbid a Netflix or Hulu for these, so their newer films can be a mix. What I’d really recommend them for is a selection of classic horror films that show the evolution of the genre spanning across decades.

There are also great options that aren’t featured this week. OVID TV has become one of the best and most interesting platforms for featuring documentaries made in recent years.

Most of these are relatively inexpensive, too. MUBI runs $11 a month, OVID is $7, Shudder is just $6, and each has some version of a free trial.

I’d also like to highlight Kanopy. Kanopy is free through many universities and public libraries. If yours takes part in the service, all you need to watch is a university log-in or your library card. It includes many new and classic movies, the library of A24, a portion of the Criterion collection, the list goes on. They have a Directed by Women category that includes films as new as this year’s “Shiva Baby”, “Shadow in the Cloud”, and “Carmilla”, and films from recent years such as “The Assistant” (my pick for best film of 2020), “Portrait of a Lady on Fire”, “The Farewell”, “Clemency”, “Lady Bird”, and “A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night”. The service’s focus on film history means they also boast films like Larisa Shepitko’s Soviet-era “The Ascent”, Ida Lupino’s 1953 thriller “The Hitch-Hiker”, even Lotte Reiniger’s silhouette-animated films from the 1920s. It’s an amazing resource across the board, and because Kanopy is designed to be used for academic services, it’s incredibly well-organized.

Take a look at these other services, because that’s where you’ll find so much that’s glossed over or skipped entirely on the more popular ones.

OK, that’s enough of my spiel, let’s get to this week’s new series and movies by women:

NEW SERIES

Doogie Kamealoha, M.D. (Disney+)
showrunner Kourtney Kang

Lahela Kamealoha picks up the torch of Doogie Howser as a wunderkind starting her medical career while she’s still a child. The show takes place and is shot in Hawaii.

Showrunner Kourtney Kang has previously written and produced on “How I Met Your Mother” and “Fresh Off the Boat”, two of the best sitcoms of the last two decades.

You can watch “Doogie Kamealoha, M.D.” on Disney+.

On the Verge (Netflix)
showrunner Julie Delpy

Julie Delpy, Elisabeth Shue, Sarah Jones, and Alexia Landeau star as women facing midlife crises in L.A.

Showrunner Julie Delpy is best known as the star of the “Before Sunrise” trilogy opposite Ethan Hawke. She also became co-writer of the latter two in the series: “Before Sunset” and “Before Midnight”. Both earned Oscar nominations for their writing. Delpy has also written and directed a number of French, often multilingual films. This includes a nomination for France’s national film awards, the Cesars, for writing “2 Days in Paris”.

You can watch “On the Verge” on Netflix.

Pretty Hard Cases (Amazon)
showrunners Tassie Cameron, Sherry White

Competing detectives from two different departments team up in a buddy comedy. The series comes from Canada. It also features a rare live-action role for Tara Strong, whose voice you’ve probably heard if you’ve even glanced at an animated series in the last decade. (One of her most recent roles was as Miss Minutes in “Loki”.)

Tassie Cameron and Sherry White have produced a number of Canadian shows together.

You can watch “Pretty Hard Cases” on Amazon.

NEW MOVIES

Martyrs Lane (Shudder)
directed by Ruth Platt

Leah is a girl who lives in a clergy house. Many are helped there throughout the day, but leave at night. That’s when she’s visited by a girl who appears to be an angel, but might not be all that she seems.

This is Ruth Platt’s third film as writer and director.

You can watch “Martyrs Lane” on Shudder.

Mama (MUBI)
directed by Li Dongmei

We see life in a rural Chinese village during the 1990s, recounted through the eyes of a 12-year-old. The film is a semi-autobiographical recounting of the last days of writer-director Li Dongmei’s mother.

This is her first film.

You can watch “Mama” on MUBI.

Fucking with Nobody (MUBI)
directed by Hannaleena Hauru

Hanna loses a filmmaking opportunity, so she begins a parody romance on Instagram. The Finnish film helps lead a recent trend in Scandinavian film of examining the falsities inherent in social media.

Hannaleena Hauru co-writes, directs, and stars. This is her second film in all three roles, after 2018’s “Metatitanic”.

You can watch “Fucking with Nobody” on MUBI.

Omo Ghetto: The Saga (Netflix)
co-directed by Funke Akindele

Leftty leads her group in a gangster comedy that became the highest grossing film in Nigerian history.

Funke Akindele co-directs and stars as Leftty. She won Africa’s continental award for Best Actress at the Africa Movie Academy Awards in 2009. This is her second time directing.

You can watch “Omo Ghetto: The Saga” on Netflix.

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

If you like what you read on this site, consider subscribing 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 27, 2021

One of the things I’ve been paying attention to lately is the content creation niche that’s dedicated to arguing why every project by women fails. I’m in a few “Star Trek” groups (shock) and one of the ‘analysts’ we regularly shake our heads at is Doomcock. Now first off, he should really get that checked out by a doctor. Secondly, he traffics in “inside rumors” and “sources” that he insists makes him a resource for prognosticating the future of shows.

He’s railed against newer “Star Trek” series by insisting they’ve turned their backs on the previous eras by focusing on inclusivity and diversity. Never mind the inclusivity and diversity of the entire canon. Hell, “The Next Generation” spent an episode discussing assisted suicide, followed up by an episode where Riker tries to save someone from conversion therapy. That was in 1992, the year before they launched a show where a Black commander, his best friend who’d changed genders, and a famed terrorist led “Deep Space Nine”. This was all unheard of in 90s TV; if anything, modern Trek could stand to push boundaries even more.

Where is this going? Doomcock (see a doctor!) and those like him rely on their “sources” to break news like “Star Trek: Discovery” getting canceled. It wasn’t; it would subsequently film its fourth season. His “sources” revealed that “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds” would never even get to filming. It finished filming its first season in July. Nearly every rumor is complete fabrication, nearly every source unreliable to an historic degree. And yet…people still tune in because it feeds the narrative they want to hear – one that says shows about women, that prioritize women, that are made by women, and that focus on inclusivity, diversity, and intersectionalism are all doomed to failure. It feeds the thinking that these are things that are unsustainable in our culture, instead of the reality that we keep renewing them and getting more of these shows because there’s such an audience and hunger for them.

One of the biggest narratives this cottage industry of hate has been pushing this year is the failure of “Black Widow”. Why, it’s a $200 million film that’s only made $180 million domestic! Forget the pandemic, forget that it’s made around 75% more on Disney+. (Disney’s own figures put its opening weekend at $60 million on Disney+, in addition to the $80 million it made in theaters).

“Black Widow” is a film directed by Cate Shortland, the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s second film centered on a woman protagonist and first directed solely by a woman (“Captain Marvel” was helmed by directing team Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck). It has to be a failure. They cannot fathom or allow it to be interpreted as successful.

The reality is that “Black Widow” stands as the highest earning movie at the box office this year at $180.6 million. “F9: The Fast Saga” is second at $172.6 million, and “A Quiet Place Part II” is third at $160.1 million. Nothing else crests $100 million.

“Black Widow” very likely made at least another $140 million via streaming, which would make it more profitable than any of the three “Thor” movies that have been released. People like Doomcock (at least get some ointment!) make excuses for similarly expensive movies led by men – they came out during a pandemic, they have same-day streaming releases – while calling the most watched and highest earning movie of the year a failure. It must be in order to fit their narrative.

This happens in a year where Kate Herron directed every episode of “Loki”, Kari Skogland directed every episode of “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier”, and Jac Schaeffer showran “WandaVision”, all three of them popular successes and media darlings.

We saw the same thing in 2020 with Cathy Yan’s “Birds of Prey”, the sixth highest earner all year, declared a failure. The results of films by men are given excuses, whereas films by women are held to a standard as if the pandemic isn’t even happening. Be in the top six and it’s a failure. Be the top performer and it’s a failure. Men get the contract to direct the sequel no matter how they perform. Women effectively get fired from the franchise. Leading a movie? Could you imagine Disney+ refusing to pay Chris Hemsworth? Meanwhile Scarlett Johansson has to sue to get half her pay in a film that outperformed all three of his.

On to this week:

NEW SERIES

King of Boys: The Return of the King (Netflix)
showrunner Kemi Adetiba

“King of Boys” was a 2018 Nigerian political thriller about power struggles and corruption. It centers on a woman, Alhaja Eniola Salami (played by Sola Sobowale). The TV series continuation “King of Boys: The Return of the King” sees Salami return after 5 years of exile in a ruthless attempt to seize power.

Kemi Adetiba created, wrote, and directed both the movie and this new, seven-part limited series. She’s won numerous awards within Nigeria’s music video industry.

You can watch “King of Boys: Return of the King” on Netflix.

NEW MOVIES

Really Love (Netflix)
directed by Angel Kristi Williams

A Black painter tries to break through the art world in a rapidly gentrifying Washington, D.C. that’s less and less interested in Black art. He tries to balance this with his personal life, but he may not have the energy for both.

This is director and co-writer Angel Kristi Williams’s first feature film.

You can watch “Really Love” on Netflix.

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

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