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Women directors in Foreign Language Academy Award submissions

Last year, women directed, or co-directed, nine of the sixty-five films submitted for the Foreign Language Academy Award (14%). They wrote and directed only four (6%). And I thought and wrote about that. And Susanne Bier won the award with her In A Better World.

This year women directed ten of the sixty-three films submitted (16%) and wrote and directed three (4.75%): Leticia Tonos wrote and directed Love Child, Athina Rachel Tsangari wrote and directed Attenberg and Juanita Wilson wrote and directed As If I Am Not There. Others directed another writer's screenplay, or co-wrote their screenplays—usually with men—although Pernilla August co-wrote Beyond with Lolita Ray. Here are the trailers, in alphabetical order by the directors' first names. Now I've watched them, I want to see ALL these films, and am glad some are available on MUBI. Which one would you most like to see? Is it time for a major international women filmmakers award, to celebrate films like these and encourage investors to fund more of them?

Agnieszka Holland's In Darkness from Poland

Anne Hui's A Simple Life, from Hong Kong

Anne Sewitsky's Happy Happy from Norway

Athina Rachel Tsangari's Attenberg from Greece

Juanita Wilson's As If I Am Not There from Ireland

Leticia Tonos' Love Child from the Dominican Republic

Maria Peters' Sonny Boy from the Netherlands

Nadine Labaki's Where Do We Go Now? from Lebanon

Pernilla August's Beyond from Sweden (& starring Noomi Rapace!)

Valerie Donzelli's Declaration of War from France

And then I was noodling over at sister site HerFilm, where Kyna has just published her first newsletter, and Lotus Wollschlager has joined Kyna as a reviewer (you can sign up for the newsletter here.) And I found a link to Swedish statistics, where there's a beautiful graph showing the gender difference between Swedish films funded by the Swedish Film Institute—with its gender equity mandate—and the films that the institute hasn't funded, and a link to French stats, which I've wanted to know about forever. People have often told me that women filmmakers are more strongly represented in France than anywhere else in the world, and these stats are very interesting in relation to gender, so I'm working on them right now and will post my wee analysis soon.


  1. I'm so happy I took the time to watch each of these be truthful, I want to see them all...Nadine Labaki's Where Do We Go Now? from Lebanon was filled with visual humour that transcended my lack of access to the language and Valerie Donzelli's Declaration of War from Francetheir subject matter has me intrigued and wanting to see the outcome...but each film is beautifully realized...varied and skilfully executed...I wish each filmmaker great success!

  2. Tx, Jan. Yes, I felt like that, too. Wanting to see them ALL. And, somehow, seeing a group of women's trailers (or films) together always feels so lovely, & so different than seeing a mixed gender group, or the relentless flow of films men make, & makes me realise how hungry I am for movies that women write & direct... Would love to know what you think of the films once you see them!


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