The LA Film Festival Guide to Supporting Female Filmmakers

June 14, 2017
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The LA Film Festival launches this week in the wake of the success of Patty Jenkins’ “Wonder Woman” and just ahead of Lucia Aniello’s “Rough Night.”

Director, Patty Jenkins (left) and Gal Gadot (right) on the set of Wonder Woman

Female filmmakers are having a moment, but are still woefully underrepresented in the larger industry. Fortunately, the LA Film Fest will showcase work from several women directors — about 42 percent of this year’s films at the fest are directed by women.

As the annual film fete marches toward equal representation without using quotas, festival director Jennifer Cochis is quick to point out that the diverse representation is, in part, attributable to the inclusive programming team, per The Washington Post

“The festival is really representative of Film Independent as an organization which has dedicated its broader mission is to amplifying underrepresented voices,” Cochis told the paper.

Here are five screenings/events where you can support or learn more about female filmmakers’ work this week at the LA Film Fest.

The Year of Spectacular Men

Lea Thompson (yes, the queen of 80’s teen films) is back, but this time for her directorial feature debut. Thompson directs herself and real-life daughters Madelyn and Zoey Deutch in this coming-of-age tale of a recent college graduate trying to succeed at “adulting.”

Monkey Business

Ema Ryan Yamazaki’s debut feature follows the co-creators of Curious George, the iconic little monkey from our childhood, along the man in the yellow hat. Yamazaki incorporates animation as she tells the story of the couple’s flight from Nazi-occupied Paris.

#SheToldMe - Women Storytellers Changing the Narrative

This panel will continue the conversation on female directors in emerging markets. Speakers will cover issues confronting women filmmakers in these regions and potential solutions. Panelists include “Wadjda” director Haifaa Al-Mansour; Teri Schwartz, dean of UCLA’s School of Film and Digital Media; and “Moko Jumbie” director Vashti Anderson.

Roller Dreams

Director Kate Hickey’s first documentary feature tells the forgotten story of roller dancing in Venice, Calif. The filmmaker makes use of archival footage to weave a narrative that not only follows these unique skaters, but also ties the story into the politics of race at the time.

Conversation with Lena Waithe

Writer Lena Waithe boasts several credits on long-running television series “Bones” and “Hello, Cupid,” but is probably best-known for her current role on Aziz Ansari’s “Master of None.” Waithe will sit down at the fest to talk with film critic Elvis Mitchell in a candid “off-the-record” conversation.  

The LA Film Festival runs through June 22. Check Film Independent’s website for tickets, events and showtimes.

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Gina Hall

Gina Hall is a writer and producer experience in television, documentary and feature film production. She started in the business on productions such as Friends and Big Brother and has produced documentaries for Warner Brothers, MGM and Universal. She is also a graduate of USC’s School of Cinematic Arts and contributes to HuffPo LA and Silicon Valley Business Journal. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

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