It’s no secret that the world of directing has historically been a male dominated field. But at this year’s BFI London Film Festival female directors are making a splash. With 10 films fronted by female directors being featured in the festival’s competition, more women directors are sure to leave their mark in the industry. To celebrate their achievement and diversity of style, we take a look at the female directors and the films they are debuting.
Ana Lily Amirpour – A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT
Ana Lily Amirpour has had an interest in short films since a young age, citing her first movie as a slumber party horror piece filmed on her dad’s camera at the age of 12. Since then she has continued with her unique spirit with a series of further shorts, including: A Little Suicide, Hairy, and True Love. Her first full length film A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night illustrates the tale of a forlorn female vampire in a rundown Iranian city. Filmed in black and white, an atypical feature to Amirpour’s works, the film has been wowing critics and is bound to stand apart from the standard vampire flick.
Carol Morley – THE FALLING
Carol Morley has gained traction in the industry since she began directing shorts and documentaries following her graduation in 1993. Morley’s films have played on the topic of human connection and coming of age; her new film The Falling fittingly falls into the genre. Her creative story about blossoming teenage maturity adds a youthful element to her collective works, which include: The Alcohol Years, Edge, and Dreams of a Life.
Celine Sciamma – GIRLHOOD
Celine Sciamma has crafted some of the most riveting explorations of female identity in recent years. Even with only three prior films under her directing belt, Sciamma has made an impression in the coming of age genre. Each of her works has garnered immense attention, which include Water Lilies, Pauline, and Tomboy. Girlhood continues down this path by following the story of Marieme, who struggles to find her identity as she comes of age; pre-existent factors in Marieme’s life lead up to her gradual transition into a member of a girl gang. Sciamma yet again brings attention to the delicate yet life changing events that young women go through as they breach womanhood.
Debbie Tucker Green – SECOND COMING
Debbie Tucker Green, award winning playwright of such projects as Born Bad, has only directed a handful of short films, but her raw depictions of life today are propelling her into the industry. Her debut feature Second Coming is set in modern day London, and follows the tribulations of one family facing an unprecedented event. Tucker Green’s newest film charges head on into theological questions and the struggles of everyday life.
Debra Granik – STRAY DOG
Debra Granik, Oscar nominated writer and director of Winter’s Bone, is a director dedicated to showcasing personal strength and the successes and failures of the human resolve. In her new documentary Stray Dog, Granik acts as an unbiased conduit to share the story of Ronnie ‘Stray Dog’ Hall, an American biker who defies traditional preconceptions about what he should be and how he should live; a unique documentary depicting a small demographic of American life.
Josephine Decker – BUTTER ON THE LATCH
Josephine Decker makes her directorial debut with her first feature film Butter on the Latch. After being inspired following a visit to a Balkan music camp, Decker began her work on this experimental mix of sensual drama and horror. Butter on the Latch follows the fraying friendship of two women who meet up at a woodsy music festival, chalk full of myths and ethereal complexities. Decker’s second feature Thou Wast Mild & Lovely is also showing at the festival.
Lynette Wallworth – TENDER
Lynette Wallworth is most known for her work as a visual artist, creating films and interactive displays/installations. In her first feature length documentary, Tender, Wallworth follows a group of community members in Port Kembla as they set out to revolutionise the way the town manages its funeral procedures.
Sabine Lubbe Baker – NE ME QUITTE PAS
Sabine Lubbe Baker, a Belgian director, makes her documentary debut with Ne Me Quitte Pas. Her feature follows the relationship of two middle aged men in rural Belgium, and their life in relation to their alcoholic tendencies and the all too real humanity of failure.
Sudabeh Mortezai – MACONDO
Sudabeh Mortezai is presenting her first feature film at this year’s festival, a drama that follows the life of a child refugee in Vienna. Macondo centres around the hectic life of Ramasan, a Chechnyan refugee in Vienna with his widowed mother and sisters. The main cast is made up of novice film actors who have had similar life experiences to the characters they are portraying, adding a new depth to Mortezai’s feature debut.
Wiam Simav Bedirxan – SILVERED WATER
Wiam Simav Bedirxan makes her film debut with Silvered Water, Syria Self-Portrait in this year’s documentary competition. From Homs, Bedirxan captured the raw images of daily life in Syria, sending her footage to an exiled Syrian, Ossama Mohammed. Together they compiled a striking visual of everyday life in the chaotic streets of Syria.
In addition to the aforementioned films and directors, there are plenty more to check out, including: Party Girl, Self Made, A Girl at My Door, Villa Touma, Honeytrap, The Great Invisible, Zero Motivation, and Appropriate Behaviour. Go to bfi.org.uk/lff for more info.
BFI LONDON FILM FESTIVAL TO TAKE PLACE 8 – 19 OCTOBER