Female Filmmakers Take The Spotlight At This Year’s South By Southwest Film Festival

By Mark Olsen
Los Angeles Times

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Eight out of 10 of the films in the festival’s narrative competition this year are directed by women, from debuts such as Nijila Mu’min’s “Jinn” and Olivia Newman’s “First Watch” to the return of veteran Stacy Cochran (“Boys,” “My New Gun”) with “Write When You Get Work.”

Los Angeles Times

From “Bridesmaids” to “Baby Driver,” the South by Southwest Film Festival has become known as a launching pad for broad comedies and out-there genre fare often disregarded by other fests.

But that reputation overlooks the way in which South by Southwest has long been a vital platform for the discovery of new talent, unknowns about to become somebodies.

The 25th edition of the Austin, Texas-based film festival, which kicks off Friday and runs through March 17, also marks the 10th year for the festival’s director of film, Janet Pierson.

The festival has introduced such notable filmmakers as Barry Jenkins, Gareth Edwards, Andrew Haigh and Joe Swanberg but has arguably been even more influential by creating a space for female auteurs, including Greta Gerwig, Lena Dunham, Stella Meghie, Amy Seimetz and Ry Russo-Young.

Eight out of 10 of the films in the festival’s narrative competition this year are directed by women, from debuts such as Nijila Mu’min’s “Jinn” and Olivia Newman’s “First Watch” to the return of veteran Stacy Cochran (“Boys,” “My New Gun”) with “Write When You Get Work.”

“I’m certainly proud of the work, but it hasn’t been our talking point,” Pierson said of the festival’s ongoing support of female filmmakers. “Of course it’s women and it’s also everybody who doesn’t have an easier seat at the table. You’ve got gender, you have race, you have privilege and geography, and you have age.

“Those kinds of distinctions are part of the puzzle,” she added, “It’s also very important for us to think about films that are made for no money, to take a chance on emerging talent as well as films that are fully realized and made with stars and support.”

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