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The Women-Led Sundance Projects We Absolutely Cannot Wait To See
For two weeks every January, Park City, Utah, is converted from a sleepy ski town (population: 3,000) to a film lover's mecca for the annual Sundance Film Festival. Sundance is where the humanistic, poignant, daring films premiere that large studios concerned with superhero franchises might not ever get around to making. It’s where studio and streaming acquisitions executives find those movies, and buy them for larger distribution. And it’s where awards buzz for next year begins to rumble. To put it simply, Sundance is a big deal for independent film.
This year marks a particularly momentous festival for women creators. The percentage of female directors hit an all-time high, with 37% of the festival's films directed by women. Sundance also supports women filmmakers and producers through its Women At Sundance programming, and partnerships with other organizations — like Refinery29's own Shatterbox Anthology, a short film series. This year's festival is also remarkably diverse. Take the U.S. Dramatic Competition category as an example. Of the 16 films up for an award, only seven were directed by white men.
We may not all get to go to Sundance for the classy, high-altitude parties and the indie movie premieres. But we can be excited for the movies that trickle down from Sundance to streaming sites, and to theaters near you. These are the films by women premiering at this year's festival to get excited about.
Dead Pigs Directed by: Cathy Yan Starring: Vivian Wn, Zazie Beetz and David Rysdahl Category: World Cinema Dramatic Competition
A pig farmer. A rich girl. A homeowner defending her property. A busboy with a secret job. An expat looking to win big in China. The five protagonists in Yan's mosaic of a movie are brought together through a strange occurrence: Pig carcasses floating down the main river in Shanghai.
Seeing Allred Directed by: Sophie Sartain, Roberta Grossman Category: U.S. Documentary Competition
Has there been a more appropriate cultural moment for a documentary about legendary women's rights attorney Gloria Allred than right now? The documentary picks through the highlights of Allred's four-decade career, culminating in the cultural reckoning regarding sexual misconduct we're currently talking through on Twitter and around dining room tables.
Seeing Allred is making its debut at Sundance, but will land on Netflix on February 9.
2018 Sundance Movies Best Female Directors, Writers