Last night was the final night of the 2008 Chicago International Film Festival. According to CIFF publicists, a record 18 of this year’s major films were directed by women (more when they also counted Shorts), & 36 were written by women (including most of those directed by women). I saw 33 films this year, 14 of which were directed by women, & another 5 of which had women screenwriters. That means 58% of the films I saw this year were WITASWAN films—a personal accomplishment for me & also for my wonderful husband/partner Richard (who saw most of them with me).
Of course I don’t know this for a fact, but I’m willing to bet that I saw many, many more WITASWAN-qualified films than any of my fellow film critics—there was very little mention of most of these films in the male-dominated guides published in The Reader, The Sun-Times, Time Out Chicago, or the Chicago Tribune.
I will have more to say about several of these films in future, but for now let me just say that while I did see some turkeys, most of these films were terrific. Special kudos to Be Like Others, Cherry Blossoms, Distant Tremors , Heaven on Earth, Lemon Tree , Native Dancer, Pressure Cooker, Sita Sings the Blues, Slumdog Millionaire, Snow, and Wendy & Lucy.
Here are all the films I saw that were directed by women: Be Like Others, The Boot Cake, Cherry Blossoms, Country Wedding, Heaven on Earth, La Rabia, Milton Glaser, Native Dancer, Pressure Cooker, Sita Sings the Blues, Slumdog Millionaire, Snow, Surveillance, Wendy & Lucy.
Here are all the films I saw that were written (but not also directed) by women: 24 City, Deadly Delicious, Distant Tremors, Lemon Tree, Of Boys & Men.
Here are the films on the schedule that were directed by women that I didn’t see: Brutus, the Journey; Crossing Dates; Days in Between; Fear(s) of the Dark; God Man Dog; The Mermaid.