Maven's Nest

Reel Life: Flick Pix





Recommended Films at the Mandel Maven's Nest Reel Life: Flick Pix



--- Zosia Mamet in writer/director Sophie Brooks’ debut Nora Ephron Award-eligible film, screening at TFF 2017; and the advertisement in India that inspired directors Sarita Khurana and Smriti Mundhra’s documentary A Suitable Girl.

The Nora Ephron Award and OtherWomen Filmmakers at 2017 Tribeca Film Festival

By Nora Lee Mandel

There’s 32 women directors among the 98 feature film selections at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival were directed by women. Many filmmakers will be in attendance at Manhattan theaters from April 19 – 30 for the 16th annual showcase of international narrative and documentary shorts and features.
Per the Festival this year: “One narrative film directed by or written by a woman with a film making its North American, International, or World Premiere will receive the Nora Ephron Award, which recognizes a woman who embodies the spirit and vision of the legendary filmmaker and writer Nora Ephron.” My coverage of the Ephron Award winner will be posted at FF2 Media. The jurors for the 2017 Nora Ephron Prize are: Dianna Agron (actress), Joy Bryant (model/actress), Diane Lane (actress), Zoe Lister-Jones (actress/writer,/producer/director), and Christina Ricci (actress).
I am also spotlighting other women collaborators in films – writers, cinematographers, editors, and composers – what I’m called “CREW-ED”. Capsule reviews forthcoming of films directed/written by women: fiction features, documentary features, fiction and documentary shorts directed by women, as well as features with women cinematographers or editors.




NORA EPHRON AWARD-ELIGIBLE: FEATURE FILMS WRITTEN/DIRECTED BY WOMEN DIRECTORS AT 2017 TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL: WHO WILL WIN

Blame
The Boy Downstairs
The Divine Order (Die göttliche Ordnung)
Keep the Change
My Art
Nobody's Watching (Nadie Nos Mira)
One Percent More Humid
Son of Sofia (O Gios tis Sofias)


OTHER FEATURE FILMS WRITTEN/DIRECTED BY WOMEN DIRECTORS AT 2017 TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL

Buster’s Mal Heart
Paris Can Wait
Sambá
The Wedding Plan (Laavor et hakir)



DOCUMENTARIES DIRECTED BY WOMEN AT 2017 TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL

Bobbi Jene
Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story
Chris Gethard: Career Suicide
Copwatch
Dare To Be Different
The Departure
The Family I Had
The Farthest
Flames
House of Z
I Am Evidence
The Last Animals
The Reagan Show
A Suitable Girl
Warning: This Drug May Kill You
Wasted! The Story of Food Waste



WOMEN CREW-ED FILMS: WITH WOMEN CINEMATOGRAPHERS, EDITORS AND COMPOSERS AT 2017 TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL

Acorn and The Firestorm
Flower
For Akheem
Alphago
Elián
A Gray State
The Lovers
Pilgrimage
Psychopaths
Saturday Church
Sweet Virginia
When God Sleeps



NORA EPHRON AWARD-ELIGIBLE FILMS BY WOMEN DIRECTORS AT 2017 TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL


Blame
For Happy #internationalwomensday to all the lovely BLAME ladies! Fun fact: BLAME's crew included 26 women behind the scenes, and the film boasts 6 lead actresses and 10 women in supporting and featured roles! Support #girlpowerand go see BLAME at @tribeca this April!!#tribeca2017 #blamethemovie
Directed/written/edited/co-produced by and starring Quinn Shephard -- her mom Laurie Shephard was the casting director/co-producer/co-story writer (USA) (World Premiere)
Kudos to the portrayal of the Alpha-Beta-Gamma dynamic of teenage girl friendships

The Boy Downstairs - directed and written by Sophie Brooks (USA) (World Premiere) (photo above)
Kudos to a sweet Brooklyn rom-com centered on Zosia Mamet with the very not hunky Matthew Shear, and a maternal landlady played by Deirdre O'Connell
So, nu: my commentary on the Jewish women.

The Divine Order (Die göttliche Ordnung)
- Sibylle Brunner as Vroni, Marie Leuenberger as Nora, and Rachel Braunschwei as Theresa. Photo by Pascal Mora
Directed and written by Petra Volpe; cinematographer - Judith Kaufmann; score by Annette Focks (Switzerland) (International Premiere)
Male chauvinists and female conservatives in 1971 Switzerland are too easy targets for feminist ire, though sadly “Women’s Rights Are Human Rights” is still a battle-cry, but kudos to the charming look at how organizing to secure the vote liberates the legal, financial, sexual, and emotional choices of several different women.

Keep The Change - directed and written by Rachel Israel (USA) (World Premiere)
[commentary forthcoming]

My Art - directed and written by Laurie Simmons (USA) (North American Premiere)
[commentary forthcoming]

Nobody's Watching (Nadie Nos Mira)

Directed by Julia Solomonoff, written by Julia Solomonoff and Christina Lazaridi; co-editor Karen Sztanberg; sound design Lena Esquenazi (Colombia, Argentina, Brazil, US, Spain) (World Premiere)
Kudos to this Latina director demonstrating that women filmmakers don't just show women, but can excel at heartbreaking empathy. Hunky Guillermo Pfening’s blond Argentine actor balances stereotyped expectations, from home to New York City, and survival jobs (including as a manny and a women producer’s escort) while trying to be authentically out as a gay actor

One Percent More Humid
- Juno Temple as Iris and Julia Garner as Catherine in ONE PERCENT MORE HUMID. Photographer: Andreas Burgess.
Directed and written by Liz W. Garcia; edited by Elizabeth Kling (U.S.) (World Premiere)
Kudos to insightful look at female teenage friendship under stress of survivor guilt (vs. the more conventional seduction of married college prof story line.)

Son of Sofia (O Gios tis Sofias)

Directed and written by Elina Psykou; edited by Nelly Ollievault (Bulgaria/France/Greece) (World Premiere)
Kudos for using magic realism (as well as Olympic mascots and a children’s TV show) to communicate the complex feelings and difficult choices behind the strained relationship between an immigrant mother and child in Greece during the 2004 Summer Olympic Games.


OTHER FEATURE FILMS WRITTEN/DIRECTED BY WOMEN DIRECTORS AT 2017 TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL


Buster’s Mal Heart

Directed and written by Sarah Adina Smith (U.S.A.) (New York Premiere)
Kudos to empathetic treatment of the genesis of a killer.

Paris Can Wait - directed and written by Eleanor Coppola (U.S.A.) (New York Premiere)
[Not yet seen.]

Sambá

Co-directed by Laura Amelia Guzmán [so may be ineligible for Ephron Prize]; co-written by Carolina Encarnacion; edited by Andrea Kleiman (Dominican Republic) (World Premiere) (Tribeca Sports Film Festival)
Kudos to the usually macho boxing flick genre done with unusually sensitive portrayal of boxers – former, current, wanna-be – and the people (male and female) around them.

The Wedding Plan (Laavor et hakir) - Written and Directed by Rama Burshtein; edited by Yael Hersonski (Israel) (New York Premiere) Roadside Attractions release on May 12 (So, nu: my commentary on the Jewish women.)
Kudos to unconventional observant Israeli women on screen!


Documentaries
Bobbi Jene - Directed by Elvira Lind (Denmark/Israel) (World Premiere)
[Commentary forthcoming]

Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story - Directed by Alexandra Dean (USA) (World Premiere)
[Commentary forthcoming]

Chris Gethard: Career Suicide - Directed by Kimberly Senior (USA) (World Premiere)
[Not yet seen]

Copwatch
(photo by Adriel Gonzalez)
Directed by Camilla Hall (above); edited by Grace Zahrah (USA) (World Premiere)
Kudos for going behind the media headlines about those who video police brutality and persisting to follow the untold stories of what happens to them.

Dare To Be Different - Directed by Ellen Goldfarb (USA) (World Premiere)
[Commentary forthcoming]

The Departure

Directed by Lana Wilson; Cinematographer Emily Topper (U.S.) (World Premiere)
From the director of After Tiller, another look at the enormous impact on a crisis-help provider – here Ittetsu Nemoto, a a Buddhist suicide counselor in Japan.

The Family I Had - directed by Katie Green and Carlye Rubin; cinematographer - Martina Radwin; edited by Tina Grapenthin (USA) (World Premiere)
Balances on and frequently crosses the thin line between lurid between true crime TV and empathetic sociology in trying to probe fratricide only through interviews with the perpetrator and those intimately affected

The Farthest


Directed by Emer Reynolds; cinematographer Kate McCullough (Ireland) (International Premiere) (To be broadcast on PBS August 23, 2017 – in time for us space geeks to get home after traveling across the U.S. for the solar eclipse on August 21)
Marking the 40th anniversary of NASA’s Voyager space mission, this illuminating oral history features over 25 marvelous and very human interviews with original mission scientists, engineers, and language experts – including several women who worked at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory for years from the 1970’s on through the Grand Tour of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and now into interstellar space. (With just a desultory mention of Star Trek, there’s no reference to the fictional lost “Voyager 6” central to 1979’s Star Trek: The Motion Picture.)

Flames - co-directed by Josephine Decker; cinematographer Ashley Connor (USA) (World Premiere)
[Not yet seen]

House of Z - directed by Sandy Chronopoulos (USA) (World Premiere)
[Commentary forthcoming]

I Am Evidence - directed by Trish Adlesic and Geeta Gandbhir (USA) (World Premiere)
[Commentary forthcoming]

The Last Animals - directed by Kate Brooks (USA) (World Premiere)
[Commentary forthcoming]

The Reagan Show - co-directed by Sierra Pettengill (USA) (World Premiere)
[Commentary forthcoming]

A Suitable Girl

Directed by Sarita Khurana and Smriti Mundhra; edited/produced by Jennifer Tiexiera; co-cinematographer Naiti Gámez; composer- Gingger Shankar (USA/India) (World Premiere)
Kudos to cinema verité look at the realistic options and tremendous pressures three educated women face in India in being selected and selecting a spouse, through three women who make unpredictable compromises.

Warning: This Drug May Kill You - directed by Perri Peltz (USA) (World Premiere)
[Commentary forthcoming]

Wasted! The Story of Food Waste - directed by Anna Chai and Nari Kye (USA) (World Premiere)
[Commentary forthcoming]


Shorts [More and Commentary forthcoming]
Heroin
New Deep South: House of JXN
Phone Calls
New York Is Dead
Shiva
Woman of a Certain Age

Sloan Reading: Works in Progress [Commentary forthcoming]
Invisible Islands
One Man Dies A Million Times

WOMEN CREW-ED: FILMS BY WOMEN CINEMATOGRAPHERS AND EDITORS AT 2017 TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL
Fiction Features
Flower
- Zoey Deutch in FLOWER - Courtesy of Full Metal Mullet, LLC
Cinematographer Carolina Costa; co-editor Beth Shapiro (U.S.A.) (World Premiere)
Kudos to turning the male gaze on a satirically insensitive portrayal of revengeful teenage girls into sensitive people.


The Lovers USA) – composer Mandy Hoffman (World Premiere)
Kudos to a lush, bemused score that emphasizes the maturity of the characters in this adult rom-com.

Pilgrimage (Belgium/Ireland) – editor Mairead McIvor (World Premiere)
[Not yet seen]


Psychopaths (USA) – editor Valerie Krulfeifer (World Premiere)
[Commentary forthcoming]

Saturday Church - director of photography Hillary Spera; editor Abbi Jutkowitz (USA) (World Premiere)
[Commentary forthcoming]

Sweet Virginia - director of photography Jessica Lee Gagne (USA) (World Premiere)
[Commentary forthcoming]


Documentaries

Acorn and The Firestorm (USA) – co-cinematographer (World Premiere)
[Commentary forthcoming]


For Akheem (USA/Germany) - editor Lily Henderson (North American Premiere)
[Not yet seen]


Alphago (USA) - editor Cindy Lee (World Premiere)
[Not yet seen]


Elián (Northern Ireland/Ireland) – co-editor Hannah Vanderlan (World Premiere)
[Not yet seen]


A Gray State (USA) – editor Lara Andre (World Premiere)
[Not yet seen]


The Public Image Is Rotten (USA) – cinematographer – Yamit Shimonovitz (World Premiere)
[Not yet seen]


When God Sleeps (USA)

Editor Valerie Krulfeifer (World Premiere)
Kudos to keeping clear the story of exile Iranian musician Shahin Najafi past and present, within the context of personal relationships and the wider political context of terrorism and protest.


SHORTS [More and Commentary forthcoming ]

Heroin (USA) (in New Online Work (N.O.W.) Showcase)

Directed by Jessica Beshir (World Premiere)
Kudos to empathetically revealing artistic obsession for a woman.

New Deep South: House of JXN (USA) (series in New Online Work (N.O.W.) Showcase)

Created by Lauren Cioffi and Rosie Haber (World Premiere)
Kudos to sensitive portraits of “Rainbow Families” of choice for LGBTQ youth of color in Jackson, Mississippi

New York Is Dead (USA) (series preview in New Online Work (N.O.W.) Showcase)

written and co-produced by Jenn Harris (USA) - World Premiere

Phone Calls (USA) (in New Online Work (N.O.W.) Showcase)
Sonya Dissin as Maura in PHONE CALLS. Photo by Arseni Khachaturan
Co-directed by Bonnie Wright (World Premiere)
Kudos to turning what could have just been a radio play into visualizations of honing in on how subtext becomes text in our too-connected conversations.

Shiva (USA) (in New Online Work (N.O.W.) Showcase)
- Mary and the Twins in SHIVA. Photo by Zachary Smithers
Co-written/directed by and co-starring Shaina Feinberg (World Premiere)
Kudos to women as the rock of the mourning experience, as Feinberg guides visitors through her father’s quintessential Upper West Side “nice place to die” while also trying to follow all the rules and dealing with food and conversation needs.
So, nu: my commentary on the Jewish women.


Woman of a Certain Age (USA) (series in New Online Work (N.O.W.) Showcase)
- (l) Kate Dearing as Kate and Violet Tinnirello as Baby Kate; Jennifer Bassey as Katharine and Dearing as Kate in WOMAN OF A CERTAIN AGE. Photos by John Gebhart
Created, written by, and starring Kate Dearing, co-directed by Amanda Cowper and Sami Kriegstein (World Premiere)
Kudos to getting inside the head of Everywoman to find her noisily critical inner past six-year-old and teenager, and her future crone



updated 5/5/2017



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.






To the Mandel Maven's Nest Reel Life: Flick Pix


Copyright © 2017