SUNDANCE: days 9-11

The Sundance Film Festival officially ends today, and awards were given out last night.  I’m encouraged that so many women received such international recognition for their films — see below for the list of winning films by women (as directors and writers).

Days 9-11


Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic & Excellence in Cinematography – U.S. Dramatic

BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD (co-writer Lucy Alibar)*

U.S. Directing Award: Documentary

THE QUEEN OF VERSAILLES (director Lauren Greenfield)*

U.S. Directing Award: Dramatic

MIDDLE OF NOWHERE (writer-director Ava DuVernay)*

World Cinema Screenwriting Award

YOUNG & WILD (director & co-writer Marialy Rivas)

U.S. Documentary Editing Award

DETROPIA (directors Heidi Ewing & Rachel Grady)

World Cinema Documentary Editing Award

INDIE GAME: THE MOVIE (directors & editors Lisanne Pajot & James Swirsky)*

World Cinema: Documentary Special Jury Prize

AI WEIWEI: NEVER SORRY (director Alison Klayman)

World Cinema Cinematography Award: Dramatic

MY BROTHER THE DEVIL (writer-director Sally El Hosaini; cinematographer David Raedeker)

U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Prize for Excellence in Independent Film Producing

NOBODY WALKS (director & co-writer Ry Russo-Young; co-writer Lena Dunham; producers Jonathan Schwartz, Andrea Sperling, Alicia Van Couvering)*

World Cinema Cinematography Award: Documentary

PUTIN’S KISS (director Lise Birk Pedersen; cinematographer Lars Skree)*

U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Prize for Excellence in Independent Film Producing

SMASHED (co-writer Susan Burke; producers Jennifer Cochis, Jonathan Schwartz, Andrew Sperling)

See the slideshow of all winning titles on the Sundance Channel website.

*Films have been picked up during the festival for theatrical or VOD distribution, except Indie Game which will be adapted into a fictional half-hour series for HBO.


Writer-director Julie Delpy’s film 2 Days in New York has been picked up by Magnolia Pictures.  Delpy also stars in the film opposite Chris Rock.  Magnolia will release the film via VOD (Video On Demand) as well as in theatres.  No word yet on which territories this covers (I’m assuming at least North America), or a firm release date.  Read the story over at Nikkie Finke’s Deadline Hollywood.

Magnolia has also picked up director & co-writer Ry Russo-Young’s feature film Nobody Walks which she co-wrote with Lena Dunham (most well-known for her film Tiny Furniture and her upcoming HBO series “Girls” which will premiere at SXSW in March, then on HBO in April).  Check out the story over at Reuters (incl. information on 2 Days in New York).

Check out all the distributors that picked up films at Sundance this year in this indieWIRE story.

I’m expecting more acquisitions to happen in the next few days and weeks and will try to update the Sundance film acquisitions list to include those titles.

SUNDANCE: days 7 & 8


Wednesday and Thursday were days seven and eight at Sundance, and it winds down on January 29.  Premieres are few and far between now.  I’ve read more than a few articles about the cautious behavior of distributors, the dearth of breakout films this year, and the apparent success story of day and date distribution.  More on that later as I find out more about it myself!


Writer-director Ava DuVernay’s much-lauded film Middle of Nowhere has been picked up by Jeff Skoll’s Participant Media and the African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement for distribution.  Read the story here on Reuters.  This is big news, people!!!!

Days 7 & 8


Among the films by women screened at Sundance on days seven and eight were the following titles.  Many of the films previously listed here on Her Film also screened, but as they’ve been mentioned before, they will not be listed along with other titles which are premiering.  Titles previously mentioned which screened on days seven and eight include directors Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady’s Detropia, director Lise Birk Pedersen’s Putin’s Kiss, writer-director Alice Rohrwacher’s Corpo Celeste and more.  Check out the trailers for the films by clicking on the highlighted link below.

Ethel (director Rory Kennedy)

Shut Up and Play the Hits (cinematographer Reed Morano)

Where Do We Go Now? (director, co-writer Nadine Labaki)



Yesterday was day six of the Sundance Film Festival — it’s half over! — and it’s great seeing so many women-directed and women-written films getting picked up for theatrical distribution: director Katie Aselton’s Black Rock (with a VOD component, I think), director Lise Birk Pedersen’s doc Putin’s Kiss, writers Katie Anne Naylon and Lauren Anne Miller’s For a Good Time, Call…, co-writer Lucy Alibar’s Beasts of the Southern Wild, star and co-writer Rashida Jones’s Celeste and Jesse Forever, and the first film announced as having been sold at Sundance: opening night’s The Queen of Versailles documentary from director Lauren Greenfield.

Check out the great Take Action page for the Sundance documentary The Invisible War about rape in the U.S. military.  Get involved!  Watch the trailer below.  (One of the film’s cinematographers is Kirsten Johnson.)


Hollywood heavyweight producer Scott Rudin will adapt Lisanne Pajot’s documentary film Indie Game for television, turning it into a fictionalized 30-minute series for HBO.  Lisanne Pajot is co-director and co-writer, plus one of the cinematographers, a producer, and editor, of Indie Game which, according to what I’ve read, has had a lovely reception at Sundance.  Check out the story on Pajot’s doc and Rudin’s involvement over at Geeks of Doom.  Watch the trailer below.

HBO has also picked up ME @ The ZOO_ for distribution, a feature-length documentary co-directed and produced by Valerie Veatch.  Check out a brief mention of this and some other Sundance deals over at  Watch the trailer below.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, co-writer Susan Burke’s film Smashed also has some heat on it and may be poised to sell soon.

Sundance Jury Prizes were announced today.  Check out the entire list over at indieWIRE.

The Jury Prize in Short Film, Non-Fiction:

The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom (director: Lucy Walker) – Oscar nominee

The Jury Prize in Short film, International Fiction:

The Return (Kthimi) (director: Blerta Zeqiri)

Special Jury Award for Comedic Storytelling:

The Arm (directors Brie Larson, Sarah Ramos, Jessie Ennis)

Day 6


Among the films by women screened at Sundance on day six were the following titles.  Many of the films previously listed here on Her Film also screened, but as they’ve been mentioned before, they will not be listed along with other titles which are premiering.  Titles previously mentioned which screened on day six include Ava DuVernay’s Middle of Nowhere, So Yong Kim’s For Ellen, and Alison Klayman’s Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, among others.  Check out the trailers for the films by clicking on the highlighted links below.

Gypsy Davy (writer-director Rachel Leah Jones, also a cinematographer, editor, producer and sound recorder on the film)

We’re Not Broke (writers-directors Victoria Bruce & Karin Hayes)

whiteonwhite (director and co-writer Eve Sussman; co-cinematographer Angela Christlieb)




Director Lise Birk Pedersen’s feature-length documentary Putin’s Kiss has been picked up by UK-based distributor, Dogwoof, the distributor of the recent UK-screened Dreams of a Life by Carol Morley.  Dogwoof has theatrical distro rights for the UK, and the film is being planned for release this year.

With such a relatively high price paid for distribution rights in one country, Dogwoof must be expecting that Pedersen’s film will be enthusiastically embraced by the British film-going public.  Read the Screen International story from earlier today.

Trailer for Putin’s Kiss:

L to R: Katie Anne Naylon, Lauren Anne MillerScreenwriters Katie Anne Naylon and Lauren Anne Miller see their film For a Good Time, Call… picked up by Focus Features for theatrical distribution, for just over $2M for worldwide rights. Read the Deadline story complete with a Focus Features press release.

Storyline (from imdb): Lauren and Katie, college frenemies with a mutual good friend, move in together at age 28 in order to afford an amazing Gramercy Park apartment. The unlikely pair start a phone sex line and become best friends while learning about this hilarious world of vibrators, fake orgasms and nighttime callers. When the hot line is hung up and reality comes calling, the most meaningful relationship of their lives is put to the test.

Celeste and Jesse Forever, co-written by and starring Rashida Jones, was picked up by Sony Pictures Classics.  Theatrical distro rights include North America, Latin America and Eastern Europe.  I’ve read tweets and other bits about this film that seem to say it was a given that it’d be a standout at Sundance this year.  With comedy star-power like Rashida Jones, backed up by SNL cast member Andy Samberg, how could it not?  Variety indicates that the price was $2M (but no word on what territories the rights apply to, yet). Read the Screen Daily story for a few more details on the SPC deal.

Beasts of the Southern Wild, co-written by Lucy Alibar, was finally picked up after a few days of speculation in the press (and by more than a few brokers, I’m sure).  Fox Searchlight secured theatrical distribution rights, but I haven’t found anything yet on what was paid.

Updates:  Director Katie Aselton’s feature film, Black Rock, as I’ve mentioned here on the blog a couple of times already, was picked up by LD Distribution, but I’ve finally found a figure through Variety that says the price was $1M.  No word yet on the territories that distribution covers: worldwide, U.S., who knows?

I predicted yesterday that Leslye Headland’s feature Bachelorette would be picked up during or soon after the Sundance Film Festival, and Sharon Waxman over at The Wrap seems to think so, too.  Interesting comparison with John Hughes’ movies, but let’s just hope Headland gave her film a heart like Hughes did with every film he ever made.  And, uh, I can’t stand the comment about Gloria Steinem at the end of the article!  Read and share in my painy pissed-offness.

Other Deals

Apparently on Sunday (day 4 of Sundance), director Julie Dash finalized a deal to direct Tupelo ’77, a feature film written by Rich Mancuso.  From a Reuters news article (scroll to “Also on Sunday” heading for details), the film is described as a story “set in a small town in Mississippi in the summer of 1977. It tells the story of a group of women of various ages and races who are regulars at a roadside diner. The summer of 1977 — the year Elvis Presley died — is the hottest on record in Mississippi.”  Shooting begins summer 2012; casting has begun.  I am SO excited about this!

Day 5


Among the films by women screened at Sundance on day five were the following titles.  Check out the trailers for the films by clicking on the highlighted links below. How pathetic, I could only find one trailer!  It seems there are very few Sundance movie trailers out now.

2 Days in New York (writer-director Julie Delpy)

The Atomic States of America (co-director Sheena M. Joyce; based on book by Kelly McMasters)

Bachelorette (writer-director Leslye Headland)

Daughters of the Dust (writer-director Julie Dash)                                                         Film released in 1991, this is part of a series of films being shown again to Sundance audiences.

My Best Day (writer-director Erin Greenwell)                                                             (Thanks to Harris Doran for posting a comment with a link to the YouTube trailer.)

Slavery by Another Name (writer Sheila Curran Bernard)

Young & Wild (writer-director Marialy Rivas; Rivas credited writer with Camila Gutierrez and two male writers)

Your Sister’s Sister (writer-director Lynn Shelton)

Oscar Nominations: Few women in sight

The Oscar nominations for the 84th Annual Academy Awards were just announced live online and television.  Few women made the cut whether they were producers, directors or screenwriters.

I wish I could say these were SOME of the standouts, but really, these were the only women nominated in these categories:  (See below for updates which include several more women!)


Annie Mumolo & Kristen Wiig (BRIDESMAIDS)


IN DARKNESS (dir. Agnieszka Holland)


(co-writer) Bridget O’Connor (TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY)


THE HELP (based on novel by Kathryn Stockett/female main cast)



KUNG FU PANDA 2 (dir. Jennifer Yuh Nelson – highest-grossing woman film director ever)   Thanks to @FemmeFilmFridays for their tweet about this as I’d missed the animated nominees in the frenzy!

Kathleen Kennedy was also nominated in her role as producer with Steven Spielberg on WAR HORSE.  Letty Aronson (MIDNIGHT IN PARIS) and Rachael Horovitz (MONEYBALL) were also nominated as producers.



GOD IS THE BIGGER ELVIS (Rebecca Cammisa and Julie Anderson)

SAVING FACE (Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy w/Daniel Junge)

THE TSUNAMI AND THE CHERRY BLOSSOM (Lucy Walker and Kira Carstensen)


A MORNING STROLL (Sue Goffe w/Grant Orchard)

WILD LIFE (Amanda Forbis and Wendy Tilby)


PENTECOST (Eimear O’Kane w/Peter McDonald)

THE SHORE (Oorlagh George w/Terry George)

TIME FREAK (Gigi Causey w/Andrew Bowler)

Find the full list of Oscar nominees over at the Oscars headquarters or at the Los Angeles Times’ The Envelope.



Day 4

Aurora Guerrero’s first feature film Mosquita y Mari premieres at the Sundance Film Festival.  Guerrero writes and directs.  Check out the article about the premiere over at ColorLines magazine and an article on Guerrero’s influences, including Gloria Anzaldúa and Cherrie Moraga, over at the Tribeca Film Institute. Mosquita y Mari was filmed by cinematographer Magela Crosignani.

Logline:  In a fast-paced Immigrant community where dreams are often lost to economic survival, two young Chicanas contemplate life when they stir sexual desires in each other.

Twitter: @mosquitaymari

Watch the trailer for Mosquita y Mari on Vimeo.

Sally El Hosaini makes her feature film debut as writer-director with her film My Brother the Devil.  Check out a narrative piece she wrote for Filmmaker Magazine on her love of film.

I’m particularly excited that directors Kristi Jacobson and Lori Silverbush have their documentary Finding North at Sundance.  The film is about hunger in the U.S.  I think hunger is probably the most ignored crisis plaguing vast numbers of Americans.  I can’t wait to see this film.  Check out the trailer below!


Among the films by women screened at Sundance on day four were the following titles.  Check out the trailers for the films by clicking on the highlighted links below.  Sorry, not many trailers are out yet.

Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry (director, cinematographer Alison Klayman)

Corpo Celeste (writer-director Alice Rohrwacher, cinematographer Hélène Louvart)

Finding North (directors Kristi Jacobson and Lori Silverbush, co-cinematographer Kirsten Johnson)

For a Good Time, Call… (writers Katie Anne Naylon and Lauren Anne Miller)

Mosquita y Mari (writer-director Aurora Guerrero, cinematographer Magela Crosignani)

My Brother the Devil (writer-director Sally El Hosaini)

Nobody Walks (director, co-writer Ry Russo-Young, co-writer Lena Dunham)

Save the Date (cinematographer Elisha Christian)

Smashed (co-writer Susan Burke)

V/H/S (co-cinematographer Victoria K. Warren)

Also Middle of Nowhere (dir. Ava DuVernay) and The Invisible War (co-cinematographer Kirsten Johnson) got subsequent screenings.


It’s been reported in Variety that the cash shelled out for Katie Aselton’s feature Black Rock exceeded $1M.  The film was picked up by LD Distribution as I wrote in yesterday’s update to Sundance: days 1-3.  I’m keeping an eye on Sundance acquisitions, but have read many places that the speed and volume at which films are being picked up is slow and low.  Looks like buyers are exercising some caution, but there’s definitely some heat on Celeste and Jesse Forever (co-written by and starring Rashida Jones), Beasts of the Southern Wild (co-written by Lucy Alibar) — Fox Searchlight may nab this one — and For a Good Time, Call… (written by Katie Anne Naylon and Lauren Anne Miller).


Writer-director Leslye Headland’s film Bachelorette will be picked up for distribution either during or quickly following Sundance.  It has some heavyweight involvement and reliable
backup: Kirsten Dunst, Isla Fisher and the lauded Aussie newcomer, Rebel Wilson, and is produced by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay of Funny or Die.  Headland’s off-broadway play
of the same name had a good run, so there’s some knowledge of the story out there already, and, though I hate to say this, I think it may be able to ride the coattails of last year’s hit Bridesmaids.  (I think there are too many wedding comedies out there.) The film premieres at Sundance tonight.  Check out The Carpetbagger blog from the New York Times for a piece on the film.

SUNDANCE: days 1-3


Below is a list of all the women filmmakers whose films screened during the first three days of Sundance (from January 19-21).  I am including feature films, documentaries and shorts which were directed, written or filmed by women.  Credits will also include co-writers, co-directors and cinematographers (sole or one of a group).

To read about one filmmaker’s experience at Sundance this year, take a look at director Kat Candler’s “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” blog where she’s writing about taking her film Hellion to the festival.


DAY 1 (Opening night)

Director Lauren Greenfield’s The Queen of Versailles (U.S. documentary category) was one of four films in the festival’s opening night lineup. (In fact, Greenfield was the only female director of the bunch.) Word is that the film was a big hit, and reports were quickly released that Magnolia Pictures had picked up Greenfield’s film for North American distribution.  Ann Thompson of “Thompson on Hollywood” writes about it here.  Watch a Sundance Channel interview with Greenfield done during this year’s festival here.

Writer Sarah Koskoff’s Hello I Must Be Going (filmed by Julie Kirkwood) also joined the opening night lineup.



Writer-director Ava DuVernay’s eagerly awaited narrative feature Middle of Nowhere screens at Sundance.  DuVernay describes the film as an “…unconventional love story that explores a woman who’s lost her husband to incarceration and how she maintains her marriage from behind bars and what that’s like for her, and that struggle.” (Watch the Middle of Nowhere premiere party video and hear more about the film by clicking here.)

Among the films by women screened at Sundance on day two were the following titles.  Check out the trailers for the films by clicking on the highlighted links:

The Ambassador (co-writer Maja Jul Larsen)

Beasts of the Southern Wild (co-writer Lucy Alibar)

Big Boy Gone Bananas (co-cinematographer Kiki Allgeier)

Celeste and Jesse Forever (co-writer Rashida Jones)

Declaration of War (director & co-writer Valerie Donzelli)

The D Word (co-writer Jen Bradwell)

Father’s Chair (co-writer Elena Soarez)

Escape Fire (co-director Susan Froemke)

Indie Game (co-director, co-writer, one of cinematographers, editors and producers Lisanne Pajot)

The Invisible War (co-cinematographer Kirsten Johnson)

Madrid, 1987 (cinematographer Leonor Rodriguez)

Middle of Nowhere (writer-director Ava DuVernay)

Payback (director Jennifer Baichwal)

Putin’s Kiss (writer-director Lise Birk Pedersen)

That’s What She Said (director Carrie Preston, writer Kellie Overbey)

Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie (cinematographer Rachel Morrison)

West of Memphis (writer-director Amy Berg)



Black Rock (director Katie Aselton, cinematographer Hillary Spera)

(Update: Aselton’s Black Rock was just picked up by LD Distribution according to a Jan. 22 report from indieWIRE.)

Detropia (directors Heidi Ewing & Rachel Grady)

For Ellen (writer-director So Yong Kim, cinematographer Reed Morano)

ME at the ZOO (co-director & producer Valerie Veatch)

Wuthering Heights (director Andrea Arnold)