Every year I watch a lot of films, and go to the cinema quite often. Last year I saw 49 films that were released in 2019. I saw 126 films total when counting older films and re-watches. Late in 2018, I started making more of a conscious effort to seek out women-directed films. I’d go out of my way to see new theatrical releases opening weekend. I always go into a film knowing if it was directed, written, or produced by a woman. But this year I’d like to document it and make it more intentional. That’s where the #52FilmsByWomen comes in.
I’ve always been very tuned in to issues of representation and diversity, particularly around film (particularly animation of course). The abysmal stats of women in above-the-line roles as well as nearly every other role are not new to me. I’ve written a bit about it before, like when a rep from the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media visited the NYC chapter of Women in Animation. I was one of “those” women in the brainstorm and story rooms at Blue Sky questioning the women characters and/or lack of POC. It sucked being that person, but it seems like people are catching up…slowly.
The 52 Films By Women challenge is pretty self-explanatory: once a week for a year, watch a film directed by a woman. I plan on documenting it on my film/animation Twitter account, as well as my Letterboxd.
It’s fun to scroll through the hashtag on Twitter and see other people’s films and lists and recommendations too.
These are my own general guidelines:
- directed by a woman or person identifying as a woman
- can be co-directed by man
- bonus points if written by a woman, but not the focus this year
- feature films
- short films
- not too many re-watches
The main reason I’m allowing for a male co-director is because I don’t think I’d have much luck with animated features otherwise. 😑 And while I want to seek out new films, there are some I’ve seen that are worth re-watching or at least documenting on here as well.
So yes, there will be some posts on here about–gasp!–not animation! But if it gets me writing more and about film overall, it’s well worth it.
I’m excited to explore filmography I haven’t gotten around to, like Kathryn Bigelow and Agnes Varda, to dig around for the rare Criterion Collection gems, find some animated shorts. I want to find older films. I do want to re-watch some films too. The point’s to just watch films. There’s just so much out there…and yet…never enough.
THE 2020 LIST
- Little Women (2019) Greta Gerwig
- Can You Ever Forgive Me (2018) Marielle Heller
- Hail Satan? (2019) Penny Lane
- Mountain (2017) Jennifer Peedom
- Sister (2018) Siqi Song
- Dcera (2019) Daria Kashcheeva
- Kitbull (2019) Rosana Sullivan
- Henrietta Bulkowski (2019) Rachel Johnson
- The Bird and the Whale (2019) Carol Freeman
- Britannia (1993) Joanna Quinn
- St. Louis Superman (2019) Smriti Mundhra (& Sami Khan)
- Life Overtakes Me (2019) Kristine Samuelson (& John Haptas)
- Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl) (2019) Carol Dysinger
- Walk Run Cha-Cha (2019) Laura Nix
- Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) (2019) Cathy Yan
- Miss Americana (2019) Lana Wilson
- She Did That (2019?) Kirsten Magwood (& Sterling Milan)
- Loop (2020) Erica Milsom
- The Imagineering Story (2019) Leslie Iwerks
- Pretty Strong (2020) Colette McInerney, Julie Ellison, and Leslie Hittmeier
- Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011) Jennifer Yuh Nelson
- The Half of It (2020) Alice Wu
- Becoming (2020) Nadia Hallgreen
- Broken: Rock, Paper, Scissor (2014) Gang Maria Yi (& Garrett O’Neal & Bryan Locantore)
- Peter and the Wolf (2006) Suzie Templeton
- Le Clitoris (2016) Lori Malépart-Traversy
- The Watermelon Woman (1996) Cheryl Dunye
Well, 2020 ended and as far as I know I did not achieve my goal. With the pandemic halting theatrical visits, as well as access to the library, and my not-well mental health, I had a harder time motivating myself to watch many new films. And by new, I don’t just mean new releases, but simply films I’d never seen before. In 2020 I sought comfort films I’ve watched many times before, that were predicable, and generally had happy endings. I’d like to properly give this a go again in the future when I can visit cinemas again, because I loved all of the new films this brought into my life.