Weekly Update for July 12: Women Centric, Directed, and Written Films Playing Near You

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FILMS ABOUT WOMEN OPENING

The Farewell – Written and Directed by Lulu Wang

“The Farewell” solidifies Awkwafina as a multi-faceted actress. The “Crazy Rich Asians” breakout really surprised with such a heartfelt performance in this film. Based on a true lie, per the press information, “The Farewell” stars Awkwafina as Billi, a floundering NYC artist who returns to China with her parents to see her beloved grandma, who has been diagnosed with advanced cancer. As is tradition, the family decides not to tell Nai Nai (Shuzhen Zhao) that she only has a few weeks left. Billi has a really hard time with the lie and tries to convince her father that Nai Nai has a right to know she is ill. As the whole clan grapples with this impending huge loss, they also remind each other how important family is. “The Farewell” is a moving family tale about love, connection, honesty, and pain. (Melissa Silverstein)

Read Women and Hollywood’s interview with Lulu Wang.

Firecrackers – Written and Directed by Jasmin Mozaffari (Also Available on VOD)

“Firecrackers”: TIFF

Lou (Michaela Kurimsky) and her best friend Chantal (Karena Evans) plan to get out of their isolated, run-down town and move to a city far, far away. When Chantal’s unstable and possessive ex violates her during a night of partying, the girls decide to exact their revenge on him through a night of vandalism and debauchery. The consequences of their actions are devastating, threatening the girls’ chances of ever leaving. The more Lou fights tooth-and-nail to save her friendship and hold onto her dreams, the more she spins out of control as she begins to realize that freedom will come at a high cost.

Read Women and Hollywood’s interview with Jasmin Mozaffari.

Find screening info here.

The Sweet Requiem – Directed by Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam (Opens in NY)

“The Sweet Requiem”

Dolkar (Tenzin Dolker) is a 26-year-old living in exile in Delhi. An unexpected encounter with a figure from her past sets off a flurry of memories she had long repressed regarding the journey that brought her here. Dolkar was only eight when she and her father left their Tibetan home in a desperate attempt to start anew in a safer land. As memories of what became a disastrous expedition take shape, Dolkar resolves to confront the man she believes is responsible.

Read Women and Hollywood’s interview with Ritu Sarin.

Find screening info here.

Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable (Documentary) – Written by Carol Martori and Aaron Lieber

Bethany Hamilton lost her arm to a tiger shark at age 13, but this didn’t stop her from pursuing her dream of becoming a professional surfer. However, it wasn’t only the competition that fueled her desire to stay in the big blue, but her love for the ocean. Not only has she conquered the giant walls but also the journey of being a mother — all with only one arm. She inspires and she never stops.

Darlin’ – Written and Directed by Pollyanna McIntosh (Also Available on VOD)

“Darlin’”: SXSW

Found at a Catholic hospital filthy and ferocious, feral teenager Darlin’ is whisked off to a care home run by The Bishop and his obedient nuns where she is to be tamed into a “good girl.” However, Darlin’ holds a secret darker than the “sins” she is threatened with, and she is not traveling alone. The Woman, equally fierce and feral, who raised her is ever present and is determined to come for her no matter who tries to step in her way.

Read Women and Hollywood’s interview with Pollyanna McIntosh.

Miss Arizona – Written and Directed by Autumn McAlpin (Also Available on VOD)

Rose Raynes (Johanna Braddy) was crowned Miss Arizona — 15 years ago. Now a bored housewife trapped in a less-than-ideal marriage, Rose accepts an invitation to teach a life skills class at a women’s shelter. Digging out the relics of her pageant queen past, Rose attempts to share her platform speech with a room of four disinterested women dodging abusive exes. But when trouble shows up at the shelter, what the women really need is for Rose’s shiny SUV to get them out of dodge. The five embark on a wild all-night adventure through LA’s darkest streets and wildest drag club as the women fight to survive, and in so doing, discover what they need most.

Find screening info here.

Saving Zoë – Written by LeeAnne H. Adams and Brian J. Adams (Also Available on VOD)

It’s been a year since her older sister’s murder, and Echo is still far from being completely alright. Echo (Laura Marano) has been trying her hardest to be the strong one, while her mother takes too many antidepressants and her father works too much. Now, at the start of her freshman year of high school, Echo receives an unlikely gift from Zoë’s old boyfriend: her diary. Echo is hesitant to read it but can’t put it down after she gets caught up in Zoë’s secret life.

Kidnapping Stella (Available on Netflix)

Snatched off the street and held for ransom, a bound and gagged woman (Jella Haase) uses her limited powers to derail her two masked abductors’ carefully laid plans.

Secret Obsession (Available on Netflix July 18)

“Secret Obsession”

When Jennifer (Brenda Song) wakes up with amnesia after a traumatic attack, her doting husband cares for her. But she soon realizes the danger is far from over.

FILMS MADE BY WOMEN OPENING

“Sword of Trust”

Sword of Trust – Directed by Lynn Shelton; Written by Lynn Shelton and Michael Patrick O’Brien (Opens in NY) (Available on VOD July 19)

The catalyst for the Birmingham, Alabama-set “Sword of Trust” is an antique Cynthia (Jillian Bell) inherits from her deceased grandfather. It appears to be a Civil War relic — a Union sword to be exact — but according to Cynthia’s grandpa, it’s actually proof that the South won. Cynthia and her partner, Mary (Michaela Watkins), are horrified by their family’s buried racism and conspiracy theories. But that doesn’t stop them from trying to profit from it. Enter Mel (Marc Maron), a cynical pawnshop owner, and his sweet flat-earther assistant, Nathaniel (Jon Bass). The four of them team up to sell the sword to a terrifying sub-culture of history deniers. “Sword of Trust” is simultaneously a slice-of-life story and a wry take on our country’s severe political divide. You feel as if you know these characters. As such, the cast’s lived-in performances are as much of a draw as the central staring-into-the-abyss concept. (Rachel Montpelier)

Read Women and Hollywood’s interview with Lynn Shelton.

Find screening info here.

American Heretics: The Politics of the Gospel (Documentary) – Directed by Jeanine Butler

“American Heretics: The Politics of the Gospel” takes audiences into the buckle of the Bible Belt, where a group of defiant Oklahomans are rising up to challenge deeply rooted fundamentalist Christian doctrine. Labeled as “heretics” for their beliefs and actions, they refuse to wield their faith as a sword sharpened by literal interpretations of the Bible. Especially those interpretations that continue to justify nationalism and hack away at landmark civil rights protections for women, minorities, immigrants, and the LGBTQ communities. These American Heretics are still interested in saving you from hell, but it’s the earthly one, where poverty, discrimination, and nationalism oppress those “who are the least among us.”

Find screening info here.

General Magic (Documentary) – Directed by Sarah Kerruish and Matt Maude; Written by Sarah Kerruish, Matt Maude, and Jonathan Key (Opens in NY)

In the early 1990s, a team of former Apple employees formed their own company and took Silicon Valley by storm with their new project, the first handheld, wireless personal computer — the first smartphone. The company and the product were so ahead of their time, that it ultimately failed, and the company closed down. However, General Magic’s former employees have since gone on to create eBay, LinkedIn, and Android, to developing the technology that has led to the iPhone, iPad, iPod, and everything that we all use today in our daily lives. These “magicians” have become the tech innovators that now lead companies like Samsung, Apple, and Facebook. “General Magic” tells the story of how great vision, grave betrayal, and an epic failure changed the world forever. What was once thought of as an embarrassment is now embraced as amazing.

Read Women and Hollywood’s interview with Sarah Kerruish.

Find screening info here.

TV PREMIERES

Pandora (Premieres July 16 on The CW)

“Pandora”

Set in the year 2199, a young woman who has lost everything (Priscilla Quintana) finds a new life at Earth’s Space Training Academy, where she learns to defend the galaxy from intergalactic threats.

Pearson (Premieres July 17 on USA)

“Pearson”

A spinoff of “Suits,” “Pearson” is centered on powerhouse lawyer Jessica Pearson (Gina Torres) as she adjusts to the dirty world of Chicago politics.

VOD/STREAMING RELEASES

“Little Woods”: Tribeca Film Festival

Breakthrough – Directed by Roxann Dawson (VOD, July 16)
Family – Written and Directed by Laura Steinel (VOD, July 16)
Fast Color – Directed by Julia Hart; Written by Julia Hart and Jordan Horowitz (VOD, July 16)
Little Woods – Written and Directed by Nia DaCosta (VOD, July 16)

PICKS OF THE WEEK FROM WOMEN AND HOLLYWOOD

Ramakrishnan and Kaling

Amy Sherman-Palladino Is Penning the “Gypsy” Remake
Lulu Wang Talks “The Farewell,” Representation, and Working with Awkwafina
Apply Now: NYC Women’s Fund for Media, Music and Theatre
Maitreyi Ramakrishnan Lands Leading Role in Mindy Kaling’s Coming-of-Age Netflix Comedy
Regina King Will Make Narrative Feature Directorial Debut with “One Night in Miami” Adaptation
BAM to Present “Punks, Poets, and Valley Girls: Women Filmmakers in 1980s America”
Amy Poehler-Tracy Oliver Comedy Receives Straight-to-Series Order from Amazon
Lynn Shelton on “Sword of Trust,” TV Directing, and Creating Compelling Characters
With Jacqueline Lyanga’s Hiring, Three Film Independent Creative Divisions Are Women-Run

Note: All descriptions are from press materials, unless otherwise noted.


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