When I started the project, there were several people who expressed doubt that I would be able to find enough female-directed films to cover an entire year. They were wrong. Before I started, I found over 100 female directed movies available only on various streaming services. Between those releases and the new releases, I determined that I could find enough movies to fill an entire year. I actually watched more than 300 films directed by women this year. It was doable.
That year I didn’t watch any of the films nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars, as all eight of them were directed by men. In fact, there were very few films directed by Oscar nominated women that year other than Deniz Gamze Ergüven’s “Mustang” in the Best Foreign Language Film category and “What Happened, Miss Simone?” in the documentary category. Both lost. Currently, there are three women-directed films that are heading this year’s awards season: “Nomadland” by Chloe Zhao, “Promising Young Woman” by Emerald Fennell and “One Night In Miami” by Regina King. . There have been a lot of movies released in the six years since I started my project A Year With Women Who Should Have Also Had the Honor. Greta Gerwig named “Lady Bird” and “Little Women” in several categories. But what about the films of Marielle Heller, Lynne Ramsay, Debra Granik? Baby footsteps, I guess.
What else did I skip in 2015? Successful comic book adaptations. There were no female directors in the peloton six years ago. Patty Jenkins has since tackled two Wonder Woman films; Anna Boden has co-directed a Captain Marvel film, Gina Prince-Bythewood has directed “The Old Guard” and Cathy Yan has teamed up with producer / star Margot Robbie on the Harley Quinn solo film “Birds of Prey”. And that’s just the beginning. Soon we’ll have three more female-directed superhero movies: Cate Shortland’s version on “Black Widow,” Chloe Zhao is changing gears with “The Eternals” and Nia DaCosta will be directing “Captain Marvel 2.”
I learned in 2015 that while many films make their theatrical debuts only in New York and Los Angeles, they are also available to audiences on VOD. With the closure of many theaters across the country due to the ongoing pandemic, audiences have moved a lot to VOD and voila, those movies are still here. Every week, you’ll find at least one – and often more than that – movies directed by women available on VOD. For example, in March alone you can watch “The Stylist” by Jill Gevargizian, “Sophie Jones” by Jessie Barr, “Undertow” by Miranda Nation, “Quo Vadis, Aida?” From Jasmila Žbanić, “Stray” by Elizabeth Lo, “Insight” by Livi Zheng, “Jumbo” by Zoé Wittock, and more. While inequality in distribution remains a pressing issue for films directed by women, the standardization of VOD and virtual theaters could foster positive change, as audiences may be less likely to prejudge these films based on their direct broadcast status.