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Most Complete Preview List of All Women-Directed Films at the 2018 New York Film Festival

By Nora Lee Mandel

The 56th Annual New York Film Festival of the Film Society of Lincoln Center opens September 28, 2018, running through October 14. The Festival this year includes a modest number of women-directed films, my count, by sections:
In the prestigious Main Slate: 4 new feature films, plus 1 co-written by a woman, out of 30
In Documentary Spotlight: 2 new feature films, out of 14
In Revivals and Retrospectives: 1 woman co-director, out of 25, and 2 new feature documentaries on past filmmakers, including about a woman director, out of 3
In the experimental Projections: 16 features/shorts by women, out of 36
In the Convergence (VR/Immersive Cinema/AI projects) section, 4 by women, out of 12
In the Shorts Programs: 7 are by women directors, out of 21
Of the Talks: with directors, 2 are with women, out of five

Many filmmakers attend the screenings for post Q and A’s, held at several theaters on the Lincoln Center campus. As more information is available, I’ll identify the films created with women in other positions, particularly writers, cinematographers, editors, and composers, as I did for the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival when I also spotlighted other women collaborators. I will also update when more theatrical distribution is announced. As in previous years, I will be covering and reviewing as many of these films as possible for FF2 Media. Last year with fiction features, accessible documentaries and accessible unusual documentaries. In 2016, my Complete Guides to Women-Directed Films at NYFF: the 11 Feature Films and the 18 Short Films.


Main Slate:

Happy as Lazzaro (Lazzaro felice) – directed by Alice Rohrwacher (Italy) (North American Premiere) (Netflix release)
Screening schedule

High Life - directed by Claire Denis (Germany/France/USA/UK/Poland) (U.S. Premiere) (A24 release)
Screening schedule Plus screening added!

Private Life - directed by Tamara Jenkins (USA) (In theaters/Netflix release October 5)
Screening schedule

Too Late to Die Young (Tarde para morir joven)– directed by Dominga Sotomayor (Chile/Brazil/Argentina/Netherlands/Qatar) (U.S. Premiere) (KimStim release)
Screening schedule Plus added screening!
A beautiful, Chilean entry in the genre of women directors remembering coming of age in unconventional childhoods with too much freedom, Dominga Sotomayor achingly and empathetically re-creates a summer co-op as full of human nature as it is woods and waterfalls, where tween and teen girls and boys navigate around their creative parents and each other’s yearnings on a fraught holiday leading up to New Year’s Day.

Wildlife- co-written by Zoe Kazan (USA) (IFC Films release – October 19)
Screening schedule
Kazan and director Paul Dano’s script adaptation of (macho) Richard Ford’s 1990 novel emphasizes the dilemma faced by the (now slightly younger) wife/mother, played with maturity by Carey Mulligan, three years before Betty Friedan called it out. Now she is a college drop-out who finds herself supporting her family when her husband (a downgraded, suburban Jake Gyllenhaal) not only loses his job, but is so sent into a tailspin he needs to go fight Rocky Mountain forest fires to regain his masculinity. To her accusatory son (played by too bland teenager Ed Oxenbould), she is given a new speech justifying her affair: What choice did I have?, and a new independent ending.

Documentary Spotlight:

Divide and Conquer: The Story of Roger Ailes – directed by Alexis Bloom (USA) (A&E IndieFilms release)
Screening schedule (limited ticket availability)

The Waldheim Waltz (Waldheims Walzer) – directed by Ruth Beckermann (Austria’s entry for Foreign Language Academy Award) (Menemsha Films release)
Screening schedule

Revivals and Retrospectives:

”Straub-Huillet Program” in “Dan Talbot Tribute”: Short films directed by partners Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet, all from West Germany: Machorka-Muff (1963) adaptation of Heinrich Böll’s short story “Bonn Diary,”; The Bridegroom, the Comedienne and the Pimp (1968), including a stage production of Bruckner’s Sickness of Youth, and Not Reconciled (1965), adaptation of Böll’s novel Billiards at Half-Past. (The latter two are also streaming on Film Struck.) (Grasshopper Film release)
Screening schedule

Related documentary in the Festival is Introduzione all’Oscuro (Argentina/Austria), director Gastón Solnicki’s tribute to Hans Hurch, a former assistant to Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet who went on to be a film critic.
Screening schedule

Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché directed by Pamela B. Green (USA), (Narration by Jodie Foster) Will be shown on TCM at a future date.
Shown with Alice Guy-Blaché’s Falling Leaves (1912) (Music composed and performed by Makia Matsumura. A collaborative restoration for the Alice Guy-Blaché retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Mastered from a 2K scan of a surviving nitrate print received by the Library of Congress in 1983 from the Public Archives of Canada/Jerome House Collection. 2018 Digital restoration produced by Bret Wood for Kino Lorber)
Screening schedule

Searching for Ingmar Bergman – directed by Margarethe von Trotta (Germany/France) (U.S. Premiere) (Oscilloscope Laboratories release)
Screening schedule


Jodie Mack’s “Grand Bizarre” (USA) (US premiere) - Screening schedule (limited ticket availability)

Dora García’s “Second Time Around (Segunda Vez)” (Belgium/Norway) (North American premiere) - Screening schedule

Ericka Beckman restorations - Cinderella (1986) and You the Better (1983) - Screening schedule

”Program 1: Place Revisited” includes: Janie Geiser’s “Valeria St” USA) (North American Premiere) Akosua Adoma Owusu’s “Mahogany Too” (USA/Ghana), Nazli Dinçel’s “Between Relating and Use” (Argentina/USA), Katherin McInnis’s “Eye of a Needle” (USA) (World Premiere), Sylvia Schedelbauer’s “Wishing Well” (Germany) - Screening schedule

”Program 2: Strategies for Renewal” includes: Laida Lertxundi’s “Words, Planets” (USA/Spain), Beatrice Gibson’s “I Hope I'm Loud When I'm Dead” (UK) (US premiere), - Screening schedule

”Program 3: Trips to the Interior” – includes co-director Parastoo Anoushahpour’s “Chooka” (Iran/Canada) (US premiere), Helena Wittmann’s “Ada Kaleh” (Germany) (US premiere), Laura Huertas Millán’s “The Labyrinth (El Laberinto)” (Colombia/France) (US premiere) - Screening schedule

”Program 4: Form and Function” – includes Courtney Stephens’ “Mixed Signals” (USA) (US premiere), co-director Mariana Caló’s “Luminous Shadow (Sombra Luminosa)” (Portugal) (North American premiere), Mary Helena Clark’s “The Glass Note” (USA) (US premiere) - Screening schedule

Convergence (VR/Immersive Cinema/AI):

Co-director Eline Jongsma’s “What Goes Up/Must Come Down” (USA) (World Premiere): Information on Free! Virtual Reality & Video Installation on October 14 from 1-8 pm at the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center Amphitheater.

”Virtual Reality Documentary Program” includes Ana Kler’s “The Drummer” (USA); Tiffany Hill’s “Hope Against the Haze” (India) (World premiere) - Screening schedule

”Virtual Reality Arcade” includes “Blue Bird” has a team of directors with Miranda Conway, Allie Perdomo, Parnaz Rad and Nicole Tylor - Screening schedule


”International Shorts I” includes Yalda Afsah’s “Tourneur” (Germany) (U.S. Premiere) and Laura Huertas Millán’s “jeny303” (Colombia/France) (North American Premiere) - Screening schedule

”International Shorts II” includes Sofia Bohdanowicz’s “Veslemøy’s Song” (Canada) (US premiere) – Screening schedule

”Genre Stories” includes Nicole Perlman’s (Co-Writer, Captain Marvel and Guardians of the Galaxy) “The Slows”, based on Israeli writer Gail Hareven’s short story in The New Yorker (USA) (US premiere) - Screening schedule

”New York Stories” includes Eleanore Pienta’s “Ada” (USA) (World Premiere), co-director Ashley Connor’s “The Shore” (USA) (World premiere), Barbara Cigarroa’s “God Never Dies (Dios Nunca Muere)” (USA/Ireland) - Screening schedule


”Directors Dialogues” includes Alice Rohrwacher - Schedule

”On Cinema” includes Claire Denis Schedule

Screenings and Tickets updates

updated 9/21/2018

Nora Lee Mandel is a member of New York Film Critics Online and the Alliance of Women Film Journalists. Her reviews are counted in the Rotten Tomatoes TomatoMeter:

Complete Index to Nora Lee Mandel's Movie Reviews

Since August 2006, edited versions of most of my reviews of documentaries/indie/foreign films are at Film-Forward; since 2012, festival overviews at FilmFestivalTraveler, and, since 2016, coverage of women-made films at FF2 Media. Shorter versions of my older reviews are at IMDb's comments, where non-English-language films are listed by their native titles.

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