Weekly Update for August 7: Women Centric, Directed, and Written Films You Can Watch from Home

FILMS ABOUT WOMEN COMING TO STREAMING/VOD

I Used to Go Here – Written and Directed by Kris Rey

A former professor and crush beckons Gillian Jacobs back to her old stomping grounds in “I Used to Go Here.” Kate (Jacobs), a 35-year-old writer, just published her first novel, and has been invited by her mentor to speak at her alma mater, where he’s still teaching. Kate’s trip isn’t exactly a triumphant return. Her book sales are underwhelming — so much so that her book tour has been cancelled. She’s desperately trying to reconnect with her former fiancé, and surrounded by pregnant friends who are preparing to start the next chapter of their lives. Kate feels stuck, and is overjoyed to return to the comforts of her old campus and a period in her life where she felt like she had her whole future in front of her. Kate befriends some undergrads living in her old digs, and is buoyed by the fact that they see her as a “real writer.” David (Jemaine Clement), the professor who asks her to visit, offers her a job, and their chemistry from all those years ago is quickly revived. Still, the longer Kate stays in town, the more it starts to feel like she’s at risk of moving backwards, and she’s behaving more and more like the 20-year-olds she’s started hanging around with. (Laura Berger)

“I Used to Go Here” is now in select theaters and available on VOD.

A Thousand Cuts (Documentary) – Written and Directed by Ramona S. Diaz 

“A Thousand Cuts”: PBS

“A Thousand Cuts” is a powerful portrait of an indomitable journalist and an impassioned call to arms. Described by director Ramona S. Diaz as a film about “the erosion of democracy, and one woman’s story to hold power to account,” the doc examines social media disinformation campaigns and the current crackdown on the news media in the Philippines by President Rodrigo Duterte. The documentary spotlights one of the politician’s top targets, journalist and TIME Magazine’s Person of the Year Maria Ressa. As founder and chief executive of the independent news site Rappler, Ressa tries to hold Duterte and his government accountable for their violent war on drugs and its escalating body count. “You are a fake news outlet,” Duterte tells a Rappler reporter at a press conference. “You will be allowed to criticize us, but you’ll go to jail for your crimes.” Ressa is arrested. She also receives an average of 90 hate messages per hour, including rape and death threats. Still, she persists. She refuses to be silenced, despite the very real risk of being jailed or even murdered. She is willing to die to help protect freedom of the press and democracy. (LB)

Read Women and Hollywood’s interview with Ramona S. Diaz.

“A Thousand Cuts” is now available via virtual cinemas

Spinster – Directed by Andrea Dorfman; Written by Jennifer Deyell

“Spinster”

Gaby (Chelsea Peretti) is dumped on her 39th birthday by a boyfriend she doesn’t seem to like. With her 40th on the horizon and a fear of being alone, she goes on a bunch of dates and scopes out every available dude she can find. And the whole process is a nightmare. At a certain point, Gaby realizes that being on her own is actually okay — it’s undoubtedly preferable to being with a shitty guy just for the sake of being in a relationship. Once Gaby accepts this, she discovers her life is pretty good — and it’s getting better. She adopts a dog, pursues a professional dream, makes new friends, and becomes closer with her family. She hasn’t completely abandoned the thought of finding romantic love, but it’s not the end-all be-all anymore. In “Spinster,” the main character’s journey is neither radical, nor conventional; it’s not exultant, or sad. It just sees a regular woman coming to terms with her life, and learning it’s not as abnormal as she’s been conditioned to believe. That’s not revolutionary, but it’s still pretty cool. “Spinster” is too. (Rachel Montpelier)

“Spinster” is now available on VOD. 

The Secret Garden

“The Secret Garden”

“The Secret Garden” is a new take on the beloved classic novel of the same name written by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Set in England during a new time period in 1947, the film follows a young orphan girl who, after being sent to live with her uncle, discovers a magical garden on the grounds of his estate. Dixie Egerickx, Julie Walters, and Colin Firth star.

“The Secret Garden” is now available on VOD. 

Sunless Shadows (Documentary)

“Sunless Shadows”

“Sunless Shadows” takes a look at the lives of teenage girls in an Iranian juvenile detention center; each of the film’s principal subjects is serving time for the murder of a male family member. One by one, director Mehrdad Oskouei invites them to go into a room alone, push the red button on the camera, and address their accomplices or their victims. With this confessional approach combined with the ever-deepening relationships he has with his subjects, Oskouei presents a picture of the disenfranchised in an aggressively male-dominated society and of the prison that is their shelter from it.

“Sunless Shadows” is now available via virtual cinemas.

Work It – Directed by Laura Terruso; Written by Alison Peck 

When Quinn Ackerman’s (Sabrina Carpenter) admission to the college of her dreams depends on her performance at a dance competition, she forms a ragtag group of dancers to take on the best squad in school — now she just needs to learn how to dance.

“Work It” is now available on Netflix. 

Berlin, Berlin: Lolle on the Run – Directed by Franziska Meyer Price

Based on the German TV series “Berlin, Berlin”  this comedy continues the story of Lolle (Felicitas Woll), who’s finally over her ex Sven (Jan Sosniok) and ready to marry her friend Hart (Matthias Klimsa) — that is, until Sven unexpectedly comes back into her life.

“Berlin, Berlin: Lolle on the Run” is now available on Netflix. 

To the New Girl – Directed by Aurora J. Culver and Ambika Leigh; Written by Samantha Macher

“To the New Girl” is a bold anthology feature film made by an all-female creative team and cast. Based on the popular play of the same name, the film follows 10 women scorned as they directly address their exes’ new wives and lovers at an open mic night in Los Angeles. Created by a dynamic group of emerging filmmakers at a time when audiences are demanding films made both by and for women, the project taps into a social and political climate that’s left women poised to take back their voices and be heard.

“To the New Girl” will be available on VOD August 11. 

Dollhouse: The Eradication of Female Subjectivity from American Popular Culture – Written and Directed by Nicole Brending

“Dollhouse: The Eradication of Female Subjectivity from American Popular Culture” charts the rise and fall of fictional child pop star Junie Spoons (Nicole Brending) as her life story — and the ensuing disasters — unfold, as told by those who knew her.

“Dollhouse” will be available on VOD August 11. 

Unraveling Athena: The Champions of Women’s Tennis (Documentary) 

“Unraveling Athena”

Chronicling the lives of some of the world’s most extraordinary athletes, “Unraveling Athena: The Champions of Women’s Tennis” explores the interweaving lives and narrative of female tennis royalty. Featuring extensive interviews with Billie Jean King, Martina Navratilova, Chris Evert, Evonne Goolagong, Pam Shriver, Martina Hingis, Arantxa Sánchez-Vicario, Monica Seles, Kim Clijsters, and more, this is an inspirational story of perseverance, trials, and tribulations, and remarkable achievements. The movie provides insight into the mind of the professional athlete and the ultimate exploration of what it takes to make a champion.

“Unraveling Athena” will be available on VOD August 11. 

Gripped: Climbing the Killer Pillar – Written by Donna Laemmlen, Benjamin Galland, and Corey Fischer

This feature length rock-climbing survival epic takes place on the side of a thousand foot cliff in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California. Rose (Amanda Maddox), a gym climber from Los Angeles, is on her first outdoor climb. While bouldering with her friend Jade (Megan Hensley), Rose falls for Bret (Kaiwi Lyman), an experienced outdoorsman. She talks him into taking her — against his better judgment — on a famous, advanced rock-climbing route called “Killer Pillar.” Disaster strikes when Bret falls and suffers a serious head injury and torn shoulder. With no way to go but up, Rose has to lead the climb to the summit.

“Gripped: Climbing the Killer Pillar” will be available on VOD August 11.

An Easy Girl – Directed by Rebecca Zlotowski; Written by Rebecca Zlotowski and Teddy Lussi-Modeste

“An Easy Girl”

During a sweltering summer on the beaches of Cannes, 16-year-old Naïma (Mina Farid) passes languid days working in a restaurant and preparing for acting auditions with her close friend Dodo (Lakdhar Dridi). When her glamorous cousin Sofia (Zahia Dehar) arrives for an extended stay, Naima begins to shadow her seemingly thrilling lifestyle, which gets complicated when Sofia becomes entangled with two art dealers (Nuno Lopes and Benoît Magimel). Breezy yet sumptuous, Rebecca Zlotowski’s fourth feature taps into the universal hunger of adolescence, and imbues an empathetic coming-of-age story with a sharp class critique.

“An Easy Girl” will be available on Netflix August 13.

FILMS MADE BY WOMEN COMING TO STREAMING/VOD

River City Drumbeat (Documentary) – Directed by Anne Flatté and Marlon Johnson

“River City Drumbeat”

“River City Drumbeat” is a powerful story of music, love, and legacies set in the American South. Edward “Nardie” White devoted his life to leading the African-American drum corps he co-founded with Zambia Nkrumah in Louisville, Kentucky, three decades ago. Together they inspired youth from their West Louisville neighborhood to thrive by connecting them with the art and cultural traditions of their African ancestors. Now Albert Shumake, whose destiny was shaped by the drumline, must take up the mantle for the next generation. Meanwhile, student drummers Imani, Jailen, and Emily navigate adolescence and life changes.

“River City Drumbeat” is now available via virtual cinemas. 

Black Water: Abyss – Written by Sarah Smith and John Ridley

Deep in the forests of Australia, a group of friends explore a remote cave system when a tropical storm hits. As rising flood waters trap them deep below the surface, something even deadlier emerges from the darkness — killer crocodiles.

“Black Water: Abyss” is now available on VOD.

TV PREMIERES

YOLO: Crystal Fantasy (Premieres August 7 on Adult Swim)

Two Australian party girls, Sarah (Sarah Bishop) and Rachel (Michael Cusack), look for fun times, new experiences, positive vibes, and hopeful horoscopes in the bizarre town of Wollongong. Sarah’s quest is to find love, whereas Rachel hungers for chaos, often bringing them into conflict as they encounter surreal Australiana, strange bush creatures, and eccentric nomads.

Surviving Jeffrey Epstein (Docuseries) – Directed by Annie Sundberg and Ricki Stern (Premieres August 9 on Lifetime)

Following the impact of “Surviving R. Kelly” and “Surviving R. Kelly Part II: The Reckoning,” Lifetime continues to raise the voices of survivors with “Surviving Jeffrey Epstein.” The four-hour doc investigates the billionaire New York financier who is alleged to have used his connections to the rich and famous to shield his predatory behavior with young girls. Revealing how Epstein set up a pseudo sexual Ponzi scheme to bring in underaged girls, the doc delves into the aftermath the survivors are experiencing with no justice to be served.

We Hunt Together – Written by Gaby Hull (Premieres August 9 on Showtime)

“We Hunt Together”

A gripping twist on a classic cat-and-mouse story, this British drama series explores the intoxication of sexual attraction and the dangerous power of emotional manipulation. As two conflicted detectives track down a pair of deadly killers, the series reveals how finding a volatile form of solace in another can have dire consequences.

Mapleworth Murders – Created and Written by Paula Pell and John Lutz; Directed by Claire Scanlon (Premieres August 10 on Quibi)

“Mapleworth Murders”

From the creative minds behind “Saturday Night Live” and “Late Night with Seth Meyers,” this hilarious whodunnit stars Paula Pell and John Lutz, and features a “who’s who” of guest suspects and victims. It all leads to a bigger question: why the hell are there so many murderers in one town?

About Love (Documentary) – Directed by Archana Atul Phadke (Premieres August 10 on PBS)

Three generations of the Phadke family live together in their ancestral home in South Mumbai. When director Archana Atul Phadke, the youngest daughter and unmarried at 32, turns the camera toward her family, the personal becomes political as power structures within the family become visible — and eventually unravel. Cruel and comic in equal measure, “About Love” examines the vagaries of affection across generations.

Platonic (Web Series) – Written and Directed by Erin C. Buckley (Premieres August 12 on YouTube)

Set in a memory of New York City just before the pandemic, “Platonic” follows Olive (Summer Spiro), a gay Brooklynite, and Billy (Ryan King), her straight best friend, as they look for love and document their search via voicemail messages to each other. This 10-episode series juxtaposes the radical intimacy and hazy boundaries of non-romantic relationships with the sexual fluidity and emotional ambiguity of modern dating.

Five Bedrooms – Created by Christine Bartlett and Michael Lewis; Written by Christine Bartlett, Mithila Gupta, Michael Lucas, and Xavier Coy (Premieres August 13 on Peacock)

Five singles meet at, of all places, the singles’ table at a wedding. After several bottles of champagne, they decide to pitch in and buy a house together. Five singles buy a house together — what could go right? It’s a grand social experiment with one glaring problem: they’ll have to actually live with each other. All while journeying together through disasters, life-turning crises, and moments of love, joy, and heartbreak.

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.

HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE WEEK

ITVS’ “And She Could Be Next”

Marina Kato Receives AGBO/AFI Conservatory Development Grant


Apply Now: The ITVS Diversity Development Fund


Magical Empathy: Crowdfunding Picks


Nia DaCosta Will Direct “Captain Marvel 2”


Catherine Hardwicke Discusses “Don’t Look Deeper,” “Twilight,” “Thirteen,” & More with the Girls Club


Stephanie Allain to Receive 2020 PGA/UCLA Vision Award


Quote of the Day: Lena Waithe Wants Hollywood to Mandate and Enforce Inclusion


The Writers Lab for Women Screenwriters Over 40 Unveils 2020 Class


Elyse Steinberg on Why “The Fight” Is the Most Important Film She’s Ever Made


August 2020 Film Preview

August 8, 2020
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