Skip to main content

#DirectedByWomen month in Aotearoa New Zealand

September marks the fourth global #DirectedByWomen celebration. All round the world, people choose to watch films that women direct. In bed late at night on their phones. On the couch with mates and wine and popcorn and tea and biscuits. In cinemas with friends and strangers.

Good to go, in Palma
And in lots of other places, like this outdoor cinema in Spain, where #DirectedByWomen has grown and grown.

You can find events near you on the very full #DirectedByWomen catalogue.

This year, by a wonderful coincidence, September is also the month where here in Aotearoa New Zealand we celebrate 125 years since Parliament passed the law that gave women the vote: Suffrage125. So there are films #directedbywomen all over the place! Starting in the north... and aware that I haven't included anything from Te Wai Pounamu/ the South Island (yet!)


In Auckland, at ACADEMY CINEMAS, there's There She Goes: Women's Countercinema in the 20th Century.  It starts with Mauri, on Women's Suffrage Day, next Wednesday. (On the same day, at the 8th Down Under Berlin Film Festival on the other side of the world, WARU, 2017 will screen.) There She Goes runs through to November.

Here's its list–

A Place of Rage dir. Pratibha Parmar, 1991
Born in Flames dir. Lizzie Borden, 1983
Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai Du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles dir. Chantal Akerman, 1975
Love and Anarchy dir. Lina Wertmüller, 1973
Mauri dir. Merata Mita, 1988
Vagabond dir. Agnes Varda, 1985
Wanda dir. Barbara Loden, 1970
Woman, Demon, Human dir. Huang Shuqin, 1987

*&* shorts by Alison Maclean, Forough Farrokhzad, Maya Deren, and Sima Urale!

I love the series title, perhaps a hat-tip to this book by Corrin Columpar and Sophie Mayer. Sophie is also the author of Political Animals: The New Feminist Cinema and a Feminist Filmmaking Manifesto

TE URU WAITAKERE GALLERY in west Auckland is screening some Merata Mita films, in association with Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision and alongside some Barry Barclay films, also not often screened.

Mana Waka dir. Merata Mita, 1990 (based on original 1937 footage of Mäori carvers recreating the great fleet of waka that originally brought Māori to Aotearoa)
Saturday 22 Sep | 7pm | Hollywood Cinema

Mauri dir. Merata Mita, 1988
Saturday 23 Sep | 7pm | Hollywood Cinema 

And check out the programme for CIRCUIT Artist Film and Video Aotearoa, in Auckland, this weekend, 15 September! Heaps of women-directed work and discussion; and director Stephanie Beth will talk about her I want to be Joan, 1977 and In Joy, 1980 which she self-distrbuted in a 100-date national tour. Here are some production stills from In Joy, including Stephanie directing camera operator Leon Narbey, a review from Alternative Cinema and a recent shot of Stephanie.

Stephanie Beth, now and then


In New Plymouth, at the GOVETT-BREWSTER ART GALLERY, there's a Women's Suffrage Film Festival. 

Last week they too showed Merata Mita's Mauri,  a rare treat!

Here's their programme for this week, headed by Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance, a feature-length film documentary film by the legendary Alanis Obomsawin. It has just been released in Mohawk, so it's perfect for this week as Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori, too–

Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance dir. Alanis Obomsawin, 1993
Wed 12 Sep | 7 pm | Exempt

The Punk Singer dir. Sini Anderson, 2013
Sat 15 Sep | 3 pm | M

RBG dir. Julie Cohen & Betsy West, 2018
Sun 16 Sep | 3 pm | PG


At MTG Hawkes Bay there's a mix of NZIFF films and a special Suffrage programme.

Birds of Passage dir. Cristina Gallego, Ciro Guerra, 2018 Wed 12 Sep | 2pm, Sunday 16 Sep | 4pm

Wed 12 Sep | 6.15pm, Fri 14 Sep 2pm (an extraordinary film about an extraordinary woman director, directed by her son)

The Miseducation of Cameron Post dir. Desiree Akhavan, 2018 Thu 13 Sep | 6.15pm

Hot Words & Bold Retorts (short) dir. Gaylene Preston, 2018, with Suffragette dir Sarah Gavron, 2015 (Suffrage programme) Wed 19 Sep | 2pm, 6pm 


If you search 'New Zealand' on the #DirectedbyWomen site, you'll find the Latin America & Spain Film Festival (LASFF) is at the MĀORILAND HUB from September 7th-16th. Māoriland consistently supports women directors right through the year and this programme includes work directed by women from Cuba, Colombia and Spain–

On The Roof dir. Patricia Ramos Hernández, 2016 
Thu 13 Sep | 8pm 

Keyla dir. Viviana Gómez Echeverry, 2016 Fr 14 Sep | 6pm

Even the Rain dir. Icíar Bollaín, 2010 Sat 15 Sep | 5pm  (This one is about water (etc), really really want to see it....)


There's Minimum, too, an online series directed by Kathleen Winter about women who work low-wage, precarious or under-appreciated jobs in Aotearoa. Watch it here (scroll down). Currently being released one episode at a time.

And then there's my own Suffrage125 project, #directedbywomen #aotearoa, with its pop-up events. It's hard to write about because I'm right in it. But I gave it a go, here.