Weekly Update for August 28: Women Centric, Directed, and Written Films Opening

FILMS ABOUT WOMEN OPENING AND COMING TO STREAMING/VOD

Driven to Abstraction (Documentary) – Directed by Daria Price

“Driven to Abstraction” unravels a mutating tale of self-delusion, greed, and fraud — the $80 million forgery scandal that rocked the art world and brought down Knoedler, New York City’s oldest and most venerable gallery. Was the gallery’s esteemed director the victim of a con artist who showed up with an endless treasure trove of previously unseen abstract expressionist masterpieces? Or did she eventually suspect they were fakes, yet continue to sell them for many millions of dollars for 15 years? Whatever the truth, two women from very different worlds were, wittingly or not, caught up in the greatest hoax ever of Modern American Art.

“Driven to Abstraction” is now available via virtual cinemas.

All Together Now 

“All Together Now”

Amber Appleton (Auli’i Cravalho) remains an optimist even when her personal life is far less stable than it appears on the surface. A musically gifted high school student with aspirations to attend Carnegie Mellon, Amber balances her beloved high school drama club helmed by Mr. Franks (Fred Armisen) with working long hours at a donut shop to help support herself and her down-on-her-luck single mom (Justina Machado). She also spends time at the local retirement community, giving care and attention to her favorite pessimistic resident (Carol Burnett). When new obstacles present themselves that threaten her dreams, Amber must learn to lean on the strength of her chosen family to move forward.

“All Together Now” is now available on Netflix.

The New Mutants 

“The New Mutants”

In “The New Mutants,” five young mutants, just discovering their abilities while held in a secret facility against their will, fight to escape their past sins and save themselves. The “X-Men” spinoff introduces Danielle (Blue Hunt), a young woman who wakes up from a tragedy to be told that she survived it because she’s “a very uncommon girl.” And she’s not alone — not anymore. Danielle is just one of the young mutants being held for psychiatric monitoring at an isolated hospital.

“The New Mutants” is now in theaters. Find screening info here

The Real Exorcist – Written by Sayaka Okawa

Sayuri (Fumika Shimizu), a coffee shop waitress, uses her supernatural powers to help those who are troubled by spiritual phenomena, such as possession and poltergeist. She gradually gets involved in serious matters, eventually facing a fierce battle with the devil.

“The Real Exorcist” is now screening in select theaters. It will be available on VOD September 1. Find screening info here.

Fátima – Written by Barbara Nicolosi, Valerio D’Annunzio, and Marco Pontecorvo 

“Fátima”

“Fátima” tells the story of a 10-year-old shepherd, Lúcia dos Santos (Stephanie Gil), and her two young cousins, Francisco (Jorge Lamelas) and Jacinta (Alejandra Howard), who reported having received apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Fátima, Portugal, circa 1917. Their revelations inspire believers but anger officials of both the Catholic Church and the secular government, who try to force them to recant their story. As word of their prophecy spreads, tens of thousands of religious pilgrims flock to the site to witness what became known as the Miracle of the Sun.

“Fátima” is now in theaters and available on VOD. Find screening info here.

Rogue – Directed by M.J. Bassett; Written by M.J. Bassett and Isabel Bassett 

Megan Fox tackles a thrilling new role as a battle-hardened mercenary in this explosive action saga. As team leader O’Hara, she leads a lively squad of soldiers on a daring mission: rescue hostages from their captors in remote Africa. But as the mission goes awry and the team is stranded, O’Hara’s squad must face a bloody, brutal encounter with a gang of rebels — and a horde of ravenous, enraged lions.

“Rogue” is now available on VOD.

The Garden Left Behind 

Driving a cab through the lonely streets of New York, Tina (Carlie Guevara) struggles to provide for herself and her grandmother. Being undocumented makes work difficult to come by, and to add more stress, Tina has begun the transition process. While her doting grandmother endeavors to understand, Tina finds warm support in a group of trans activists that take her under their wing. Tina waits impatiently for her doctor (Ed Asner) to sign off on her transition so she can begin taking hormones, eager to join her trans sisters. But mounting medical costs, her rocky relationship with the man she’s been seeing, and her legal immigration status all become daunting obstacles in Tina’s pursuit of happiness.

“The Garden Left Behind” is now available via virtual cinemas. 

Ghost Tropic

Khadija (Saadia Bentaïeb) is a 58-year-old Maghrebi cleaning woman living in Brussels in the wake of the 2016 bombings that shook the city. After work one night, she falls asleep on the last subway train, wakes up at the end of the line, and has no choice but to make her way home — all the way across the city — on foot. Along the way, she has a series of encounters: with a security guard, a convenience store clerk, a group of teenagers. She asks for help and she gives it and slowly, steadily makes her way.

“Ghost Tropic” is now available via virtual cinemas.

The Faceless Man

Emily (Sophie Thurling) is a recovering cancer survivor of three years. Faced with her fear of getting sick again, her best friend Nina (Lorin Kauffeld) plans a weekend away. Six friends venture out to a country holiday house to party over a weekend. Cut off from the rest of the world they soon learn the inhabitants of the town terrorize and humiliate travelers. They also discover a paranormal monster lurking in the town.

“The Faceless Man” is now available on Amazon Prime Video.

The Golden Girl (Documentary) – Written and Directed by Denisa Morariu-Tamaș and Adrian Robe 

“The Golden Girl”

Andreea Răducan is a successful 32-year-old woman and one of Romania’s greatest gymnasts. She worked all her life to become an Olympic champion, and when she finally won the all-round Olympic gold medal in Sydney in 2000, she was stripped of it three days later, after being found positive for a doping substance found in a flu tablet that her doctor had administered to her just minutes before entering the competition. Fifteen years later, Andreea is fighting the toughest fight against the people who deceived her, as she tries to recover her medal and, along with it, her dignity. But along the way, the film uncovers another side of the medal, the trauma and the effort, the sweat and the pain behind the glitter of a gold medal and the glamour of being a champion.

“The Golden Girl” will be available on VOD September 1. 

Children of the Sea

“Children of the Sea”

When Ruka (Mana Ashida) was younger, she saw a ghost in the water at the aquarium where her dad works. Now she feels drawn toward the aquarium and the two mysterious boys she meets there, Umi and Sora (Hiiro Ishibashi and Seishû Uragami). They were raised by dugongs and hear the same strange calls from the sea as she does. Ruka’s dad and the other adults who work at the aquarium are only distantly aware of what the children are experiencing as they get caught up in the mystery of the worldwide disappearance of the oceans’ fish.

“Children of the Sea” will be available on VOD September 1. 

Freaks: You’re One of Us

Tipped by a mysterious tramp, a meek fry cook discovers she has superpowers — and kindred spirits — and uncovers an unsavory, vast conspiracy.

“Freaks: You’re One of Us” will be available on Netflix September 2.

FILMS MADE BY WOMEN OPENING AND COMING TO STREAMING/VOD

Mr. SOUL! (Documentary) – Written and Directed by Melissa Haizlip 

“Mr. SOUL!”: Shoes in the Bed Productions

From 1968 to 1973, the public television variety show “SOUL!”, guided by the enigmatic producer and host Ellis Haizlip, offered an unfiltered, uncompromising celebration of Black literature, poetry, music, and politics — voices that had few other options for national exposure, and, as a result, found the program an improbable place to call home. The series was among the first to provide expanded images of African Americans on television, shifting the gaze from inner-city poverty and violence to the vibrancy of the Black Arts Movement. With participants’ recollections and a bevy of great archival clips, “Mr. SOUL!” captures a critical moment in culture whose impact continues to resonate.

Read Women and Hollywood’s interview with Melissa Haizlip.

“Mr. SOUL!” is now available via virtual cinemas.

The Extraordinary Ordinary – Written and Directed by Natalie Rodriguez 

A few years after a traumatic high school experience, a young photography student (Maddison Bullock) moves across the country from New York to Southern California in search of a fresh start. She quickly finds that she is not alone in her struggles with anxiety and depression and learns that the road to recovery is paved with more love, understanding, and community than she ever could have imagined.

“The Extraordinary Ordinary” is now available on Amazon Prime Video.

The Mole Agent (Documentary) – Written and Directed by Maite Alberdi 

When a family becomes concerned about their mother’s well-being in a retirement home, private investigator Romulo hires Sergio, an 83-year-old man who becomes a new resident — and a mole — inside the facility, who struggles to balance his assignment with becoming increasingly involved in the lives of several residents.

“The Mole Agent” will be available on VOD September 1. 

Baba Yaga: Terror of the Dark Forest – Directed by Nathalia Hencker and Svyatoslav Podgaevskiy; Written by Natalya Dubovaya, Svyatoslav Podgaevskiy, and Ivan Kapitonov

A young family hires a nanny to look after their children, but after gaining the trust of the unsuspecting parents, their new guardian begins exhibiting some alarmingly unnatural behavior. When his parents don’t believe his claims, son Egor (Oleg Chugunov) is left to contend with the problem on his own, until one day he discovers that the nanny and his young sister have disappeared without a trace.

“Baba Yaga: Terror of the Dark Forest” will be available on VOD September 1.

Love, Guaranteed – Written by Elizabeth Hackett and Hilary Galanoy

Earnest, hard-working lawyer Susan (Rachael Leigh Cook) has taken one too many pro bono cases. To save her small law firm, Susan begrudgingly takes a high-paying, high-profile case from Nick (Damon Wayans Jr.), a charming new client who wants to sue a dating website that guarantees users will find love. But Susan and Nick soon find themselves in the middle of a media storm, and as the case heats up, so do their feelings for each other — which could jeopardize everything.

“Love, Guaranteed” will be available on Netflix September 3.

TV AND EPISODIC PREMIERES

Masaba Masaba – Directed by Sonam Nair; Written by Sonam Nair, Punya Arora, Nandini Gupta, and Anupama Ramachandran (Premieres August 28 on Netflix)

“Masaba Masaba”

Real life mom-daughter duo Neena and Masaba Gupta play versions of themselves in this playful, fictional peek into their lives in fashion and film.

#SayHerName, Justice For Breonna Taylor (News Special) (Premieres August 29 on BET)

On March 13, 2020, Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency medical technician, was fatally shot in her home by Louisville police enforcement, executing a no-knock search warrant. The warrant was not issued for Breonna Taylor. Months later, the officers responsible for her death still walk the streets as free men. This one-hour special explores the importance of movements like #SayHerName and examines how Breonna’s murder highlights the lack of awareness around Black women victims of police brutality. Panelists include author Dr. Brittney Cooper, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, activist Brittany Packnett Cunningham, and Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza.

Love Fraud (Docuseries) – Directed by Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady (Premieres August 30 on Showtime)

“Love Fraud”

This four-part docuseries follows the search of Richard Scott Smith, who used the internet and his dubious charms to prey upon women looking for love. The story unravels in real time as Smith’s victims band together to seek sweet revenge.

Women Make Film (Docuseries) (Premieres September 1 on TCM)

This epic, five years in the making, is made up of 14 episodes narrated by Tilda Swinton, Jane Fonda, Adjoa Andoh, Sharmila Tagore, Kerry Fox, Thandie Newton, and Debra Winger. “Women Make Film: A New Road Movie Through Cinema” is a guided tour of the art and craft of the movies. Using almost a thousand film extracts from 13 decades and five continents, Cousins asks how films are made, shot, and edited; how stories are shaped and how movies depict life, love, politics, humor, and death, all through the compelling lens of some of the world’s greatest directors — all of them women. TCM is airing Cousins’ documentary alongside 100 films from 100 women filmmakers.

Bookmarks: Celebrating Black Voices (Premieres September 1 on Netflix) 

The production is a live-action collection of 12 five-minute episodes featuring prominent Black celebrities and artists reading children’s books from Black authors that highlight the Black experience. Hosted by Marley Dias, author and founder of #1000BlackGirlBooks campaign, the collection of books and conversations center around themes of identity, respect, justice, and action — providing families a toolset to start meaningful conversations with kids about difficult topics through short-form book-based content.

The Sounds – Created by Sarah-Kate Lynch (Premieres September 3 on Acorn TV)

“The Sounds”

Maggie (Rachelle Lefevre) and Tom Cabbott (Matt Whelan) move to the town of Pelorus to escape the oppressive influence of Tom’s family. But when he disappears, unsettling facts about Tom soon come to light and the search brings long-buried wounds to the surface.

W&H AND TOGETHER FILMS LAUNCH #WOMENTOGETHER

We are very excited to introduce Women Together, a new initiative brought to you by Women and Hollywood and Together Films, with the goal of promoting women-created and women-centric content. Together, we want to use our expertise to set up the infrastructure and engagement to promote women in our industry.

Whether a project needs a closed “influencer” screening, an online outreach campaign for its opening weekend, or a curated post-show Q&A, we work in a variety of ways to increase visibility, viability, impact, and traffic. Our only criteria? To promote content by and/or about women for everyone.

If you are interested in chatting to us about an upcoming project, please reach out at WomenTogether@TogetherFilms.org.

HELP SUPPORT BROWN GIRLS DOC MAFIA

Brown Girls Doc Mafia (BGDM) is an initiative advocating for over 4,000 women and non-binary people of color working in the documentary film industry around the world. BGDM is hosting a fundraiser from August 3-31 to support much needed programs and staff through 2021, and Women and Hollywood is committed to helping BGDM reach their goal of $400k. While the film industry has increased interest in diversity, equity, and inclusion, BGDM has been fighting for change since its inception. Sign up for the BGDM Ally Email List here. Join us in supporting a vital community and the future of documentary. #GoFundBGDM 

HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE WEEK

Mayo: MGM

Chinonye Chukwu to Direct Pic About Emmett Till’s Death, How His Mother Helped Spark Civil Rights Movement


Juliette Binoche Is Being Honored by Zurich Film Festival


Rebecca Naomi Jones Talks Hosting Playbill’s “Women in Theatre: A Centennial Celebration”


TIFF: Tracey Deer to Receive Emerging Talent Award, Talks Lined Up with Halle Berry, Ava DuVernay, & More


Amy Poehler Will Tell Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz’s Story in Her Doc Feature Directorial Debut


Alana Mayo Named Prez of Re-Launched Orion Pictures, Label’s New Focus Will Be Inclusive Storytelling


Lynn Shelton to Be Honored by The American Cinematheque


AMPAS Launches Conversation Series Focusing on Inclusion in Industry, First Ep Features Whoopi Goldberg

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


Follow Women and Hollywood on Twitter @WomenaHollywood and Melissa Silverstein @melsil

To contact Women and Hollywood, email melissa@womenandhollywood.com.

August 29, 2020
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