Sundance Film Festival is not only a champion of independent movies, but it also supports the work of female filmmakers... and 2016 is no different.
In fact, of the fifty-four films that will play in competition at the festival, twenty-two of them will be directed by women. Many of them will be making their directorial debuts, we will see an actress make the leap into the director's chair for the first time, and I cannot wait to see what their movies deliver.
We take a look at some of the female filmmakers that are part of the 2016 programme and the movies that you really cannot afford to miss.
- Clea DuVall - The Intervention
Clea DuVall is best known for her acting work having starred in the likes of The Faculty, Argo, and Girl, Interrupted over the years... now she is making the leap into the director's chair.
The Intervention is set to be the directorial debut for DuVall, who has penned the screenplay and will star in the comedy/drama, which is set to screen as part of the U.S. Dramatic Competition section of the festival.
The movie follows four couples who set out on a weekend getaway together. But the weekend takes a very different turn when one couple discovers that the whole weekend was designed as an intervention on their marriage.
DuVall is on the cast list and is joined by Cobie Smulders, Natasha Lyonne, Alia Shawkat, Jason Ritter, Melanie Lynskey, and Ben Schwartz.
It is always exciting when an actor makes the leap into the director's chair and I can't wait to see what DuVall - who is very experienced in front of the camera - delivers with her debut.
- Sian Heder - Tallulah
Sian Heder has been an actress, written for television and directed short films and now she is set to make the transition into feature film for the very first time with Tallulah.
Heder has directed short films Mother and Dog Eat Dog and Tallulah sees the first time filmmaker on both directing and writing duties. Tallulah is one of the U.S. Dramatic Competition movies that I really am looking forward to the most.
Oscar-nominated actress Ellen Page takes on the title role of Tallulah, a young woman who is hired to babysit for a housewife who wants to get rid of her toddler. Tallulah takes on the jobs of trying to protect the young child.
Heder has assembled a fantastic cast as Zachary Quinto, Allison Janney, and Tammy Blanchard all-star alongside Page. The festival will be the world premiere for the film.
- So Yong Kim - Lovesong
So Yong Kim is another female filmmaker to watch out for in the U.S. Dramatic Competition category, as she returns to the director's chair with Lovesong.
Lovesong is the fifth feature film of So Yong Kim's filmmaking career and her first since For Ellen back in 2012. As well as being in the director's chair for the film, So Yong Kim has also co-written the screenplay with Bradley Rust Gray.
The movie follows best friends Sarah and Mindy who set off on a road trip along with Sarah's young daughter. Along the way, the relationship between Sarah and Mindy deepens and a surprising romance blossoms.
Jena Malone and Riley Keough take on the central roles of Mindy and Sarah and are joined on the cast list by Brooklyn Decker, Ryan Eggold, and Rosanna Arquette - it really is a terrific cast.
Lovesong is a movie that looks set to explore an interesting and intimate side of female friendship and this could be one of the best films on the U.S. Dramatic Competition programme.
- Dawn Porter - Trapped
There are also plenty of female directors to watch out for in the U.S. Documentary Competition section, and Dawn Porter is one of them.
Sundance is set to give Porter's latest documentary Trapped its world premiere as she returns to the director's chair for the first time since Spies of Mississippi; she also brought us Gideon's Army back in 2013.
U.S. reproductive health clinics are fighting to remain open. Since 2010, 288 laws regulating abortion providers have been passed by conservative state legislatures. Unable to comply with these far-reaching and medically unnecessary measures, clinics have taken their fight to the courts.
As the question of whether individual states may essentially outlaw abortion heads to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2016 (Whole Woman's Health v. Cole), Trapped follows the struggles of the clinic workers and lawyers who are on the frontlines of a battle to keep abortion safe and legal for millions of American women.
There are a whole host of documentaries on the programme that are going to be huge talking points at Sundance and Trapped really does look like it is going to be one of the most hard-hitting that will divide audiences. This is the kind of documentary filmmaking that I love and it is great to see Porter tackling such as controversial issue.
- Kim A. Snyder - Newtown
Kim A. Snyder has brought us movies such as I Remember Me, and Crossing Midnight during her career and she is back with her latest film Kim A. Snyder, which is also screening as part of the U.S. Documentary Competition part of the festival.
Snyder has been working in shorts and TV and Newtown is her first feature film since Welcome to Shelbyville back in 2009.
Newtown is another documentary that tackles the very topical and contentious issue of gun crime in America. The movie looks at the community of Newtown in Connecticut that came together in the aftermath of the largest mass shooting in a U.S. school.
The movie explores the impact the event had on those living in the community and how they have found strength and a new purpose as they tried to move forward. Newtown is set to be another very powerful documentary and will ask many questions of the country's gun laws.
- Rebecca Daly - Mammal
Rebecca Daly is a female director who will feature in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition with her latest film Mammal.
Mammal is the second feature film for Daly and comes five years after she made her debut with The Other Side of Sleep. As well as being in the director's chair, Daly has also teamed up with Glenn Montgomery to pen the film's screenplay.
The movie follows Margaret, who befriends a homeless teenager after the death of her son. When that bond is threatened when he gets involved with a violent gang.
Rachel Griffiths is set to take on the central role of Margaret and is joined on the cast list by Barry Keoghan, Michael McElhatton.
Mammal is one of twelve films that will feature in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition from up and coming directing talents from around the world.
- Mirjana Karanovic - A Good Wife
A Good Wife is another of the films to watch out for in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition category and marks the feature film directorial debut of Mirjana Karanovic.
Karanovic is a Serbian actress and is best known for her work in from of the camera - she is just one in a series of actors that are making the transition to filmmaker at the 2016 festival.
As well as being in the director's chair, Karanovic is also showing off her writing skills as she has teamed up with Stevan Filipovic and Darko Lungulov to pen the film's screenplay.
Karanovic also takes on the central role of Milena, who finds out that her seemingly ideal husband is guilty of war crimes. Karanovic is joined on the cast list by Boris Isakovic, Jasna Djuricic, Bojan Navojec, and Hristina Popovic.
A Good Wife will receive its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival.
- Heidi Brandenburg - When Two Worlds Collide
When Two Worlds Collide is one of the films to watch out for in the World Cinema Documentary Competition and sees Heidi Brandenburg team up with Mathew Orzel in the director's chair.
When Two Worlds Collide marks the feature film directorial debut by Brandenburg and this is one of the most exciting documentaries.
The movie follows an indigenous environmental activist that is battling to save the Amazon from the large businesses that continue to destroy the forest.
The environment is another subject that is very topical at the moment with global warming being just one of the big issues on the political agenda.
When Two World Collide is going to explore the importance of the Amazon and how we need to be doing all that we can to protect it and the wildlife that life there. This really is promising to be an interesting and powerful watch.
The Sundance Film Festival 2016 runs 21st - 31st January.
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