RED BANK, NJ: As some of you may know from last year, The Monmouth Film Festival shared an article highlighting some female directors whose films were being screened at their 2019 festival. This year is no different as they plan to continue that tradition. Making these blog posts is just scratching the surface in all they hope to do. Women make up more than half the population so it only makes sense they take up a fair amount of space in an industry that holds a lot of weight when it comes to representation in the media. Last year the Monmouth Film Festival had more films by females than the last and that percentage continues to grow.
This is why they always put so much of their attention on the younger generation, from their internships to their FREE workshops, panels and NJ HS Student Showcase. The more accessible these opportunities are for everyone, the more diverse the content in the world can become.
Although film festivals can’t control who submits films to them, they can control the atmosphere they create, which is one that should encourage all artists to grow, equally. The Monmouth Film Festival wants everyone to be able to look up at their screens and see somebody like them. The films mentioned below are not getting attention solely because they are made by women, but because they are great, with layered characters and varied perspectives. Seeing films from one demographic would simply be boring and not truly represent the world we live in. The decision to put women at the center of their stories should be an obvious one.
Here are some of the female-directed films being screened at the 2020 ‘Hybrid’ Monmouth Film Festival.
- HUNGRY TO LEARN - Geeta Gandbhir // This documentary introduces the faces behind an American crisis -- college students so strapped to pay tuition that they don’t have enough money to eat or a place to live. Director Geeta Gandbhir's past films have won Emmy, Academy and Peabody Awards.
- A FINE STEW - Marie Glichitch // It's Easter Sunday during this short narrative from Belgium. Catherine has cooked her stew, Manon is hungover, Jacques is late, Dad is getting married and Pierre is the one who has to announce it. It would be just a normal family meal, if there wasn't a dead cat in the freezer.
- COOTIES - Kat Gueli // This off-beat melodrama centers around a teenage boy, whose helicopter parents do not know his best friend is a sex toy. Director Kat Gueli is an award-winning director, screenwriter, and cinematographer.
- DECRESCENDO - Olivia Chiesi // Young Benjamin, an avid music lover, reluctantly arrives to his estranged family's mansion for an imposed lunch in this suspenseful short. As the tense get-together moves forward, he progressively and inexplicably begins to lose his hearing.
- DRIVING WHILE BLACK MAGIC - Julia C Liu // In this dramatic short Nadege has to work late again, leaving Reggie and their dog Fatboy waiting at their new house. During her commute home she tries to block out the news, as protests erupt in Providence Plantations over another state sanctioned killing. Instead, she listens to her self-help tape, teachings from Obeah the Spirit Mother. As Nadege recites her daily affirmations for decolonization, the line between nightmarish premonition and reality starts to blur. Director and artist Julia C Liu found her love for visual storytelling first through her comics. She started her career as a camera assistant on hit shows like Girls and Person of Interest. She has filmed many familiar faces, such as Jim Parsons, Octavia Spencer, and Priyanka Chopra, as well as contributed to Emmy-nominated work.
- HANNAHS - India Donaldson // This short follows a woman who cons her way into another woman’s apartment, resulting in a strange and intimate encounter. Hannahs was nominated for Best U.S. Short by the Palm Springs International ShortFest.
- MICKY - Aimee Hoffman // In San Francisco where homelessness is rapidly growing, this short follows a young woman who travels the streets in search of a home and independence, but discovers that comfort is not always a place.
- THE LAST CROP - Katie Supplee // This documentary takes an intimate look at the recession of a local, family farm in rural Pennsylvania and the rich history behind their disappearing livelihood.
- WE CHOOSE TO GO - Marlene Emilia Rios // When Angie Miranda first awakens onboard the Horizon, she notices something seems a bit…off. After taking her first initial steps outside her cryosleep pod, she discovers her crew mates have died in their sleep, and the food onboard the ship is beyond expired. As she explores, she discovers that the ship has undergone a fatal mission error and they’ve not only overshot their mission—but they’ve endured 60 years of directionless drift. As Angie tries to overcome the fatal scenario she’s found herself in, she reflects back on the life she gave up on Earth in pursuit of this mission. Director Marlene Emilia Rose is also known for her work on Sangre and Jubilation.
- WARMTH - Jen Hurler // Whether to fight for survival or to take a chance on an enemy is the tough decision at the core of this CG animated student short. When a boy alone in the woods faces a tiger, the two realize that they’re not so different. This film, with its minimal setting evokes the cold isolation at the beginning, but through its watercolor art direction and small message of empathy will leave audiences a little warmer.