The lack of female directors in the film industry isn’t exactly a new phenomenon, but with the rise of movements like #MeToo and #TimesUp in the past year, this gender gap has been highlighted now more than ever– just take Natalie Portman’s presentation of the Best Director award at this year’s Golden Globes as an example. Nitehawk Cinema and Metrograph, two local movie theaters, are also recognizing this disparity with a series of film screenings focusing exclusively on female directors.
Nitehawk’s series, fittingly titled “Representation,” aims to address what Caryn Coleman, the theater’s director of programming, described to us as the film industry’s “elephant in the room”: a lack of women directors. The series continues with a screening on February 1 of two new short films– Snowy Bing Bongs: Across the North Star Combat Zone by Alex Fischer and Rachel Wolther, and Best Thing You’ll Ever Do by Catherine Fordham and Monica West. A Q&A session with the filmmakers is part of the screening as well.
Metrograph focuses more on the female experience with their series “Tell Me: Women Filmmakers, Women’s Stories,” running from Feb. 2 to 11. The films range in style from cinema verite to essay film, but all of the featured filmmakers “took the simple, radical step of allowing women space and time to talk about their lives.” Highlights of the series include The Salt Mines and The Transformation, two short films shown together that document the lives of homeless Latinx trans women in 1990s New York, and Mimi, director Claire Simon’s 2003 portrait of her best friend. The films in the series are mostly documentaries, but some narrative features are also included.