Weekly Update for September 4: Women Centric, Directed, and Written Films Opening

FILMS ABOUT WOMEN OPENING AND COMING TO STREAMING/VOD

Mulan – Directed by Niki Caro; Written by Lauren Hynek, Elizabeth Martin, Amanda Silver, and Rick Jaffa 

Acclaimed filmmaker Niki Caro brings the epic tale of China’s legendary warrior to life in Disney’s “Mulan,” in which a fearless young woman risks everything out of love for her family and her country to become one of the greatest warriors China has ever known. When the Emperor of China issues a decree that one man per family must serve in the Imperial Army to defend the country from Northern invaders, Hua Mulan, the eldest daughter of an honored warrior, steps in to take the place of her ailing father. Masquerading as a man, Hua Jun, she is tested every step of the way and must harness her inner-strength and embrace her true potential. It is an epic journey that will transform her into an honored warrior and earn her the respect of a grateful nation — and a proud father.

“Mulan” is now available to rent on Disney+ for an additional cost.

All In: The Fight for Democracy (Documentary) – Directed by Liz Garbus and Lisa Cortés

“All In: The Fight for Democracy”

“All In: The Fight for Democracy” examines the often overlooked, yet insidious issue of voter suppression in the United States in anticipation of the 2020 Presidential Election. The film interweaves personal experiences with current activism and historical insight to expose a problem that has corrupted our democracy from the very beginning. With the perspective and expertise of Stacey Abrams, the former Minority Leader of the Georgia House of Representatives, the documentary will offer an insider’s look into laws and barriers to voting that most people don’t even know is a threat to their basic rights as citizens of the United States.

“All In: The Fight for Democracy” hits theaters September 9. It will be available on Amazon Prime Video September 18.

I’m Thinking of Ending Things 

Full of misgivings, a young woman (Jessie Buckley) travels with her new boyfriend (Jesse Plemons) to his parents’ (Toni Collette, David Thewlis) secluded farm. Upon arriving, she comes to question everything she thought she knew about him, and herself.

“I’m Thinking of Ending Things” is now available on Netflix. 

Cuties – Written and Directed by Maïmouna Doucouré 

“Cuties”

Eleven-year-old Amy (Fathia Youssouf) lives with her mom, Mariam (Maïmouna Gueye), and younger brother, awaiting her father to rejoin the family from Senegal. Amy is fascinated by disobedient neighbor Angelica’s (Médina El Aidi-Azouni) free-spirited dance clique, a group that stands in sharp contrast to stoic Mariam’s deeply held traditional values. Undeterred by the girls’ initial brutal dismissal and eager to escape her family’s simmering dysfunction, Amy, through an ignited awareness of her burgeoning femininity, propels the group to enthusiastically embrace an increasingly sensual dance routine, sparking the girls’ hope to twerk their way to stardom at a local dance contest.

“Cuties” will be available on Netflix September 9. 

Unpregnant – Directed by Rachel Lee Goldenberg; Written by Rachel Lee Goldenberg, Jennifer Kaytin Robinson, Jenni Hendriks, Ted Caplan, and Bill Parker

“Unpregnant”

Seventeen-year-old Veronica (Haley Lu Richardson) never thought she’d want to fail a test — that is, until she finds herself staring at a piece of plastic with a blue plus. With a promising college-bound future now disappearing before her eyes, Veronica considers a decision she never imagined she’d have to make. This never-taken-lightly decision leads her on a 1,000-mile hilarious road trip to New Mexico over three days with her ex-best friend, Bailey (Barbie Ferreira), where they discover sometimes the most important choice you’ll make in life is who your friends are.

“Unpregnant” will be available on HBO Max September 10. 

Angels Wear White – Written and Directed by Vivian Qu

“Angels Wear White”

In a small seaside town, two schoolgirls are sexually assaulted by a middle-aged man in a motel. Mia (Vicky Chen), a teenager who was working on reception that night, is the only witness. For fear of losing her job, she chooses to keep silent.

“Angels Wear White” is now available on OVID.tv. 

Dream Horse

“Dream Horse” tells the inspiring true story of Dream Alliance, an unlikely race horse bred by small town Welsh bartender, Jan Vokes (Toni Collette). With very little money and no experience, Jan convinces her neighbors to chip in their meager earnings to help raise Dream in the hopes he can compete with the racing elites. The group’s investment pays off as Dream rises through the ranks with grit and determination and goes on to race in the Welsh Grand National, showing the heart of a true champion.

“Dream Horse” is now in UK theaters.

Lost Girls and Love Hotels – Written by Catherine Hanrahan 

Margaret (Alexandra Daddario) finds herself in the glittering labyrinth of Tokyo by night and as a respected English teacher of a Japanese flight attendant academy by day. With little life direction, Margaret searches for meaning with fellow ex-pats in a Japanese dive bar, drinking to remember to forget and losing herself in love hotel encounters with men who satisfy a fleeting craving. When Margaret crosses paths with a dashing Yakuza, Kazu (Takehiro Hira), she falls in love with him despite the danger and tradition that hinders their chances of being together. We follow Margaret through the dark and light of love and what it means to find oneself abroad with a youthful abandon.

“Lost Girls and Love Hotels” is now in theaters and available on VOD. 

Switched – Written by Alexandra Boylan, Andrea Polnaszek, and John K.D. Graham 

Tired of being bullied, Cassandra Evans (Miya Horcher) prays that her nemesis, Katie Sharp (Madeleine Byrne), the queen bee of social media, would know what it’s like to walk a day in her shoes. Her prayer is answered in an unexpected way when they get “Switched.”

“Switched” is now available on VOD.

Range Runners

A woman thru-hiking an isolated trail (Celeste M Cooper) runs into trouble when her pack is hijacked by two men hiding out in the woods, desperate and on the run. Now, stranded and left to fend for herself, she has a choice: crawl back to her normal life in defeat, or push forward and take back what was stolen from her.

“Range Runners” will be available on VOD September 8.

Indigo Valley – Written and Directed by Jaclyn Bethany

“Indigo Valley” tells the story of estranged sisters Louise (Rosie Day) and Isabella (Jaclyn Bethany). Tensions build and secrets begin to surface when Isabella returns from rehab and unexpectedly joins Louise and her new husband (Brandon Sklenar) on their honeymoon.

“Indigo Valley” will be available on Apple TV and Amazon Prime Video September 8.

First One In – Written and Directed by Gina O’Brien

After accidentally killing an endangered animal on a popular reality TV show, Madi Cooke (Kat Foster) is labeled an eco-terrorist, is fired from her job, and believes she now is the most hated woman in America. She changes her look and last name to interview with Bobbi (Georgia King), who heads Mason Agents — the #1 real estate firm in Connecticut. But in an effort to maintain championship status in a local, annual tournament, Bobbi only hires women who play tennis. Madi joins a clinic at Acme Indoor Tennis to practice the game she hasn’t played seriously since high school, nearly 20 years ago. In a twist of events, Madi and her underdogs take on Bobbi’s Mason Agents at their elite tennis club, where Madi will find her grit or lose everything.

“First One In” will be available on VOD September 8.

FILMS MADE BY WOMEN OPENING AND COMING TO STREAMING/VOD

Beau Travail (Restoration) – Directed by Claire Denis; Written by Claire Denis and Jean-Pol Fargeau 

“Beau Travail”

With her ravishingly sensual take on Herman Melville’s “Billy Budd, Sailor,” Claire Denis firmly established herself as one of the great visual tone poets of our time. Amid the azure waters and sunbaked desert landscapes of Djibouti, a French Foreign Legion sergeant (Denis Lavant) sows the seeds of his own ruin as his obsession with a striking young recruit (Grégoire Colin) plays out to the thunderous, operatic strains of Benjamin Britten. Denis and cinematographer Agnès Godard fold military and masculine codes of honor, colonialism’s legacy, destructive jealousy, and repressed desire into shimmering, hypnotic images that ultimately explode in one of the most startling and unforgettable endings in all of modern cinema.

“Beau Travail” is now available via virtual cinemas.

My Octopus Teacher (Documentary) – Directed by Pippa Ehrlich and James Reed 

“My Octopus Teacher” Pippa Ehrlich / Sea Change Project

“My Octopus Teacher” takes viewers into a world few humans have ever seen. Eight years ago, debilitated by adrenal fatigue, Craig began free diving in a freezing underwater forest at the tip of Africa. As the icy water re-energized him, he started to film his experiences and in time, a curious young octopus captured his attention. By visiting her den and tracking her movements every day for months, he won the animal’s trust and they developed an unlikely relationship. As the little octopus shared the secrets of her world, Craig became witness to the beauty and drama of a wild creature’s life and in the process, underwent an incredible mental and physical transformation.

Read Women and Hollywood’s interview with Pippa Ehrlich.

“My Octopus Teacher” will be available on Netflix September 7. 

Jimmy Carter: Rock & Roll President (Documentary) – Directed by Mary Wharton 

“Jimmy Carter Rock & Roll President” shows how Carter’s lifelong passion for music gave him an unexpected edge as a presidential candidate as he tapped into a force that transcended racial and generational divides, and often party lines. Carter’s appreciation for all genres of music, and friendships with the likes of Bob Dylan, Gregg Allman, Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash, and Willie Nelson helped to define his administration. Featuring rare archival era-defining live performances from Nelson, Jimmy Buffett, Paul Simon, and Dylan, among others, director Mary Wharton traces how Carter’s genuine approachability, combined with the unifying power of music, became key to his political appeal, and allowed him to connect with voters who may only have known him as a small-town peanut farmer.

“Jimmy Carter: Rock & Roll President” hits theaters and virtual cinemas September 9.

The Social Dilemma (Documentary-Narrative Hybrid) – Written by Vickie Curtis, Davis Coombe, and Jeff Orlowski 

Set in the dark underbelly of Silicon Valley, “The Social Dilemma” fuses investigative documentary with enlightening narrative drama — think “An Inconvenient Truth” meets “The Matrix.” Expert testimony from tech whistle-blowers exposes our disturbing predicament: the services Big Tech provides — search engines, networks, instant information, etc. — are merely the candy that lures us to bite. Once we’re hooked and coming back for more, the real commodity they sell is their prowess to influence and manipulate us.

“The Social Dilemma” will be available on Netflix September 9.

The Sit-In: Harry Belafonte Hosts The Tonight Show (Documentary) – Directed by Yoruba Richen

“The Sit-In: Harry Belafonte Hosts the Tonight Show”

“The Sit-In: Harry Belafonte Hosts The Tonight Show” chronicles the seminal event and almost-forgotten moment in American history during which legendary entertainer and civil rights activist Harry Belafonte hosted the iconic “Tonight Show” in place of Johnny Carson for an entire week. Amidst a backdrop of riots across the country and the Vietnam War, Belafonte introduced a fractured, changing country to itself for five nights with guests that included entertainment icons Aretha Franklin and Sidney Poitier as well as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy. “The Sit-In” highlights never-before-seen footage from this pivotal week, which set the stage for the confluence of late-night and politics that we see today.

Read Women and Hollywood’s interview with Yoruba Richen.

“The Sit-In: Harry Belafonte Hosts The Tonight Show” will be available on Peacock September 10.

Black Boys (Documentary) – Written and Directed by Sonia Lowman

“Black Boys” is a documentary film that celebrates the full humanity of Black men and boys in America. Utilizing conversations and stories around education, criminal justice, and sports, the film reveals the emotional landscape of those experiencing racism and invites us to reimagine an America in which Black boys experience true belonging and unlimited possibilities. A film for this historic moment, in a nation still struggling to rectify its racist legacy, “Black Boys” serves as a rare glimpse into the emotional landscape of Black men and boys, illuminating their tenderness, vulnerability, joy, and resilience.

“Black Boys” will be available on Peacock September 10.

TV AND EPISODIC PREMIERES

Away (Premieres September 4 on Netflix)

“Away”: Netflix

As American astronaut Emma Green (Hilary Swank) prepares to lead an international crew on the first mission to Mars, she must reconcile her decision to leave behind her husband (Josh Charles) and teenage daughter (Talitha Bateman) when they need her the most. As the crew’s journey into space intensifies, their personal dynamics and the effects of being away from their loved ones back on Earth become increasingly complex. “Away” shows that sometimes to reach for the stars, we must leave home behind.

Power Book II: Ghost – Created by Courtney A. Kemp (Premieres September 6 on Starz)

“Power Book II: Ghost” picks up shortly after the earth-shattering events of “Power” as Tariq St. Patrick (Michael Rainey Jr.) grapples with a new world order: his father dead and his mother, Tasha (Naturi Naughton), facing charges for the murder her son committed.

Portraits and Dreams (Documentary) – Directed by Elizabeth Barret and Wendy Ewald (Premieres September 7 on PBS)

“Portraits and Dreams” revisits photographs created by Kentucky schoolchildren in the 1970s and the place where the photos were made. The film is about the students, their work as visionary photographers. and the lives they have led since then, as well as the linkage of personal memory to the passage of time.

Record of Youth – Written by Myung Hee Ha (Premieres September 7 on Netflix)

Two actors and a makeup artist fight to make their own way into a world that weighs the backgrounds they were born into more than their dreams.

Surge (Documentary) – Directed by Hannah Rosenzweig and Wendy Sachs (Premieres September 8 on SHOxBET)

Lauren Underwood (center) during the production of “Surge”

“Surge” is a feature documentary about the record number of first-time female candidates who ran, won, and upended politics in what became the historic, barrier-breaking 2018 midterm elections. The film explores whether this is another moment in women’s political history or the beginning of a true movement. “Surge” follows three congressional candidates in Texas, Indiana, and Illinois, who were each looking to flip their deep red districts to blue, including Lauren Underwood, the youngest Black woman ever to be elected to Congress.

Julie and the Phantoms (Premieres September 10 on Netflix)

Julie (Madison Reyes) is a teenage girl who finds her passion for music and life with the help of a high-concept band of teen boys, The Phantoms, who have been dead for 25 years. Julie, in turn, helps them become the band they were never able to be.

The Idhun Chronicles – Created by Laura Gallego and Andrés Carrión (Premieres September 10 on Netflix)

Ashran the necromancer (Carlos Cuevas) has taken power in Idhún and enabled the reign of terror of the flying serpents. The first battle for Idhún’s freedom will take place on Earth, where Jack (Itzan Escamilla) and Victoria (Michelle Jenner) fight to stop Kirtash (Sergio Mur), the assassin sent by Ashran to destroy the Idhudites who flew from his tyranny.

W&H AND TOGETHER FILMS LAUNCH #WOMENTOGETHER

We are very excited to introduce Women Together, a new initiative brought to you by Women and Hollywood and Together Films, with the goal of promoting women-created and women-centric content. Together, we want to use our expertise to set up the infrastructure and engagement to promote women in our industry.

Whether a project needs a closed “influencer” screening, an online outreach campaign for its opening weekend, or a curated post-show Q&A, we work in a variety of ways to increase visibility, viability, impact, and traffic. Our only criteria? To promote content by and/or about women for everyone.

If you are interested in chatting to us about an upcoming project, please reach out at WomenTogether@TogetherFilms.org.

WOMEN AND HOLLYWOOD IN THE NEWS

Female directors close to parity at Venice Film Festival (The Seattle Times)
Unprecedented budget, Asian cast drive Disney’s bet on Mulan (CBC)

HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE WEEK

“The Mary Tyler Moore Show:” CBS-TV/REX/Shutterstock

Book Excerpt: “Love Is All Around: And Other Lessons We’ve Learned from The Mary Tyler Moore Show”
Maïwenn to Receive Honorary Award at Zurich Film Festival
Sabaah Folayan, Débora Souza Silva, Rachel Lears, & More Receive Gucci Tribeca Doc Fund Grants
September 2020 Film Preview
Mamie Till Mobley Limited Series Ordered at ABC, Gina Prince-Bythewood Will Direct First Ep
Women and Diverse Directors Set to Helm 63 Percent of FX’s 2021 Productions
“My Little Sister” Is Switzerland’s Pick for the International Feature Film Oscar
“Miss Juneteenth” Wins Best Narrative Feature at BlackStar Film Festival

Note: All descriptions are from press materials, unless otherwise noted.


Follow Women and Hollywood on Twitter @WomenaHollywood and Melissa Silverstein @melsil

To contact Women and Hollywood, email melissa@womenandhollywood.com.

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