Horror has been good to these directors. (Or is it the other way around?)
Like comedy, horror is a tricky genre to get right, because right away you’re faced with the inescapable expectation that your work must, in fact, be the very thing that makes the genre what it is. For comedy, it has to be funny, but for horror, it has to be scary. Though there are plenty of horror flicks out there that are reductive, predictable, and barely able to make you flinch, there have been some truly great films that have come out in the last several years that remind horror film fans of why we love this bloody genre so much—and an exciting number of them have been women.
In this video from Fandor, we get to explore the work of three female directors who chose to make a name for themselves in the horror genre with their transgressive, challenging, and yes, really, really scary films. Check it out below:
With an industry that is dominated by men, here at Raindance we aim to examine and spotlight the experiences and contributions of women in the film industry. Showcasing films by female filmmakers from around the world, Raindance Film Festival celebrates the work of women in film.
Today we are highlighting the events and films at the 25th Raindance Film Festival that will examine the female voice both behind and in front of the camera.
Women in Film Panel
What does it mean to be a leading female character on the big screen?
Hosted by Women in Entertainment President – Cynthia Landon – this panel will explore films and narratives in which female characters and stories are placed front and centre. Featuring Kelly Davis and Kim Hudson, this panel will discuss what it means to create work with a leading female character and explore hour audiences are receiving this work.
Written and Directed by Zornitsa Sophia Popgantcheva
Voevoda – the term given to female leaders of rebel gangs – charts the life of Roumena, a feisty young tomboy, as she navigates life in a men’s world. Despite becoming a wife and mother, she makes a choice to join the rebel cause in the footsteps of her father – and pays the consequences. A breathtakingly atmospheric drama celebrating female heroism.
In the heart of the hammam, far from the accusing gaze of men, mothers, lovers, virgins and Islamic fanatics, butts and burqas mingle and mix, confront one another, with laughter, tears, rage, the Bible and the Koran… before the flash of a dagger and the silence of God.
The world of seven-year-old Luca is rapidly changing. Her parents, who broke-up two years ago, fall in love again while renovating their soon-to-be-sold house in the volcanic island of Santorini. This dark and frightening story takes you deep into the psyche of a child trying to cope with the loss of a high status, being left to twist in the Aegean wind. Will she accept the new situation or will she burst the bubble she has created?
Written, Produced and Directed by Paola Villanueva
Lola lives in a public nursing home, where even the only coffin is a shared commodity. Calling her mom and taking care of her husband, both now long gone fro her life, are part of her daily efforts to give value to her existence in a world that otherwise would be completely impersonal for her.
Director Christopher McQuarrie has been posting some great behind-the-scenes shots on his Instagram account, and this weekend he revealed a new one featuring the women of Mission Impossible 6! Pictured, from left to right, are Vanessa Kirby (The Crown), Angela Bassett (upcoming Black Panther), Rebecca Ferguson (returning as Ilsa Faust), and Michelle Monaghan (returning as Julia Meade).
They join Tom Cruise in the highly-anticipated July 27, 2018 release, which also features the returning cast of Simon Pegg (Benji Dunn), Ving Rhames (Luther Stickell), Sean Harris (Solomon Lane), and Alec Baldwin (Alan Hunley), as well as franchise newcomer Henry Cavill (upcoming Justice League).
The Mission: Impossible franchise launched in 1966 with the original CBS television series, which ran for seven seasons and 171 episodes. Mission: Impossible returned in 1988 with a rebooted series on ABC. It failed to find an audience, however, and was cancelled after two seasons. It was nearly a decade later that the Tom Cruise-led Mission: Impossible feature film would turn the small screen spy series into a hugely-successful cinematic franchise.
Christopher McQuarrie, who previously helmed Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, is once again writing and directing the sequel. His return to the franchise marks the first time a director has helmed more than one Mission: Impossible film.
With director Park Chan-wook wooing audiences around the world with his sumptuous, imaginative reworking of Sarah Waters’s novel Fingersmith, in his erotic thriller The Handmaiden, you’d be forgiven for thinking books by women get snapped up to be made into film all the time. Yet frustratingly, female writers are still routinely dismissed as being ‘too domestic’, when in truth the clarity of their storytelling and their nuanced examination of human relationships scream ‘ready-made for cinema’. There are entire bookstores of novels by women that haven’t (as yet!) been adapted. So here at Raindance we aim to rectify that situation, with our pick of the hidden gems – the Top 5 Hottest Novels By Women we believe deserve a book-to-film deal:
5 Hottest Novels by Women Ripe for Making into Film
THE GUSTAV SONATA by Rose Tremain (Vintage) A familiar World War 2/Holocaust backdrop but in an unusual, visually enticing Swiss setting, Tremain spins the tale of the unlikely friendship lasting into middle age between a well-heeled Swiss boy and an anxious Jewish piano prodigy. The film industry could use a fresh angle on the impact of war on relationships, and this novel, structured in three movements (echoing the sonata of the title) might just provide it, especially if accompanied by a soaring score to reflect the agony of lives half lived.
INVISIBLE THREADS by Lucy Beresford (Quartet) Part missing person thriller, part exposé of India’s sex trade, Beresford’s shortlisted novel is also a love story. Searching Delhi for answers about her husband’s mysterious death, English doctor Sara falls for her low-caste driver Hemant but gets sucked into a world where prostitutes as young as seven writhe in pink polyester saris. As might be expected from the host of a radio sex show, Beresford’s novel has pungent things to say about sexual desire. It’s City of Joy meets Taken, with a plucky female heroine (we’re thinking Felicity Jones) – the perfect formula for film adaptation.
THE LEFT HAND OF DARKNESS by Ursula K. Le Guin (Orbit) With Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale newly adapted for British television, now is a good time to revisit other feminist works of alternative universes. Le Guin’s novel from the 1980s has stood the test of time in its explorations about gender and politics. It’s set on a planet called Winter where the weather is semi-arctic, and all people are all sexes rolled into one. Plus, if you believe the world needs a more feminist Lord of the Rings, Le Guin’s imaginative world gives masses of scope for a big-budget film within the fantasy genre.
STATE OF WONDER by Ann Patchett (Bloomsbury) Patchett’s shortlisted novel lays bare the powerful rivalries within academia, as scientist Marina journeys deep into the Amazon rain forest to search for her colleague (and secret lover) Dr. Swenson who might have found a miracle cure based on tree bark. Think The Emerald Forest meets Medicine Man, but with two terrific female leads, as Marina clashes with a former medical mentor. It’s a story we reckon contains plenty of scope for a meaty on-screen battle of ideas as well as cultures.
BLACK DIRT by Nell Leyshon (Picador) Frank has come home to die, a morphine drip controlling his pain. As he drifts in and out of consciousness, Holy Grail myths and enchanting stories from his childhood compete with uglier memories and the immediate need to make arrangements for his disturbed son. We envisage a film adaptation which celebrates the rural idyll as much as it charts the end of a life, to make a thoughtful, atmospheric film along the lines of The Sea Inside by Alejandro Amenábar – reunited perhaps with Javier Bardem to play Frank.
The statue of suffragist Millicent Fawcett — one of the leading figures in the campaign for women’s voting rights in the UK — will stand alongside statues of Sir Winston Churchill and Nelson Mandela outside the Houses of Parliament. All 11 statues in the square are currently of men, making Fawcett the first woman to be honoured in this way.
Fawcett led the peaceful campaign for women’s suffrage for 62 years, during which suffragettes fought for voting rights to be extended to women. February 2018 will mark 100 years since the Representation of the People Act 1918 was passed, which granted women over the age of 30 in the UK the right to vote. Full equality at the ballot box wasn’t achieved until a decade later, one year before Fawcett’s death. Read more…
Tina Fey isn’t one to mince words—and she had some very important things to say on Friday night.
The comedian took part in the American Civil Liberties (ACLU) Facebook Live telethon, fundraising alongside Amy Poehler, Tom Hanks, and more for the organization. During the nearly four-hour-long broadcast, Fey took the opportunity to speak to Donald Trump supporters—and specifically, to the college-educated white women voters among them.
“A lot of this election was turned by white, college-educated women who now would like to forget about this election and go back to watching HGTV,” the actress said during an interview with Donna Lieberman and Louise Melling of the ACLU. Read more…
The president tweeted out a video Thursday about how “only by enlisting the full potential of women in our society will we truly be able to (you have not heard this expression before) make America great again.”
Trailers are an under-appreciated art form insofar that many times they’re seen as vehicles for showing footage, explaining films away, or showing their hand about what moviegoers can expect. Foreign, domestic, independent, big budget: What better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising? This week we talk about a little known topic called abortion, compare notes about what a totalitarian state looks like abroad while looking at ourselves, wonder aloud who did kill JonBenet Ramsey, revel in the playfulness of a seriously gifted artist and get more Stormare in my life.
Casting JonBenet Trailer
It’s not often when I’m unsettled by something as benign as a trailer but here we are. Director Kitty Green, who directed the fascinating Ukraine Is Not a Brotheldocumentary from 2013, moves from confronting one societal ill to showcasing another and that’s our collective fascination for high-profile, true crime stories. This is just a flat out well-made trailer that hits the right beats and lets things steep when necessary in order to punch up the drama. There is no doubt this is now on my must-see-TV list.
Abortion: Stories Women Tell Trailer
There’s never going to be an end to this conversation and even though I’ve brought up director Tracy Droz Tragos’ documentary before, it looks like it’s going to make landfall on HBO in just a little bit. What I see in this story are the plights for many different women who are trying to make the best of their lives and having to do what is, and will be, the hardest decision they will have to make. No judgments, just listening.
Maurizio Cattelan Be Right Back Trailer
Yes, you’ve seen this before but this is a new trailer and it looks just as solid.
Taking another lap around This Looks Interesting street, this is my second installment to tell you about first time director Maura Axelrod’s ode to a guy who many should like if they find Banksy’s work whimsical and a good commentary on pop culture. This trailer takes a deeper look at the artist himself and by focusing so much time on Cattelan’s depiction of Pinocchio as a way into this guy’s process we get something truly meaty to chew on here.
I don’t know how you go from directing a documentary about Diane Arbus a decade ago, not directing since then, and coming back with this but well-done.
Director Steven Shainberg certainly knows how to make something I wouldn’t mind putting on after a long night of drinking and eating pizza. I’m still not sure what in the world is happening here but it’s got Noomi Rapace and Peter Stormare so I’m all eyes and ears. Honestly, it gets so strange I’m almost giggling but it’s solidly engrossing to watch all the way through so I just had to include it this week to see if anyone else is intrigued by what they see on display here.
Tom Hanks gives a pull-quote.
One of the most fascinating things about director Mohamed Diab’s movie is just how relevant the premise is. To wit:
Set entirely in an 8m police truck, a number of detainees from different political and social backgrounds are brought together by their inevitable fate, during the turmoil that followed the ousting of former president Morsi from power
I love how cramped this is, I love how claustrophobic it makes me feel, but I’m intrigued about how much this feels like a play with how strong the performances are going to have to be. I’m not sure if Hanks’ comment is being generous but the editing on this is nothing short of intense. The music, the visuals, it’s an incredible ride until the very end. People from different perspectives and backgrounds being forced in a small iron cage under extreme duress? Let’s get it on.
Nota bene: If you have any suggestions of trailers to possibly be included in this column, even have a trailer of your own to pitch, please let me know by sending me a note at Christopher_Stipp@yahoo.com or look me up via Twitter at @Stipp
In case you missed them, here are the other trailers we covered at /Film this week: