Bias Cut: five female filmmakers to look out for at EIFF
Edinburgh International Film Festival shows the strength in filmmaking by women
It's no secret that that the gender bias is alive and well in today's film industry. When the proliferation of male directors is so great, it can be hard to see what’s actually being made by anyone else. Female filmmakers are out there, but often sidelined, and being included in festivals boost exposure and can make all the difference between a film being picked up or wallowing in an archive.
It’s inspiring to see that once you look past the surface, there is a rich seam of work by female directors at Edinburgh International Film Festival this year. More excitingly the films aren't boxed into a showcase of women creators; instead they form part of the main programme, woven into every strand of the festival.
From documentaries to features to high-end genre productions, the films at EIFF this year show us that female filmmakers are here, that their work pushes the boundaries, and is not to be missed.
Cheer Up (2016)
dir. Christy Garland
Garland travels to the Arctic Circle to document the journey of the worst cheerleaders in Finland, after Coach Miia decides to whip her squad into shape after placing last one too many times. This is a documentary with heart, showing how tough it can be to balance your life with the sport you love.
The Love Witch (2016)
dir. Anna Biller
The Love Witch boasts a female director, producer, writer and editor, they just happen to all be the same person. Billed as both a feminist film and a 1960s sexploitation feature, The Love Witch follows young witch Elaine as she tries her hand at love magic, with less than successful results.
Maggie’s Plan (2015)
dir. Rebecca Miller
Rebecca Miller’s fifth feature, Maggie's Plan will appeal to fans of the ubiquitous American indie rom-com. With whip-smart dialogue and an easygoing plot, this film features a love triangle between the stellar cast of Greta Gerwig, Julianne Moore and Ethan Hawke. Watch out for SNL stalwarts Maya Rudolph and Bill Hader, who also star.
The Pretty Ones (2016)
dir. Melisa Liebenthal
The tagline for The Pretty Ones, ‘you’re prettier if you smile’, is hard to ignore. This award-winning feature documents the social conditioning of young women and draws heavily on interviews from director Melisa Liebenthal’s school friends, as well as personal accounts of how she herself broke convention with femininity.
The Lure (2015)
dir. Agnieszka Smoczyska
What’s not to love about bloodthirsty mermaids? This film features two of the aforementioned, sisters Silver and Golden, who use their siren songs to enchant locals in a Warsaw burlesque club. It’s only when one of the sisters finds romance that things take a dramatic turn. 80s inspired songs and communist soviet-kitsch production bring this musical fantasy together.
If you’re looking for more female-led films, check out Aslaug Holm’s poignant Brothers; the SDI’s all-female shorts programme, Bridging the Gap ; Raising Films: Making it Possible, and Parched by Leena Yadav as a starting point. But, excitingly, there are plenty more that fit the feminist bill.