August 2016

This edition of Good Things to Happen for Women in Film comes to you from festival director Corrina, who has been keeping track of this month’s goings on despite Notting Hill Carnival and her birthday! Read on for August’s highlights, including archive gems and news about the very welcome return of our pal Desiree Akhavan.

New York Puts Spotlight on Pre-1950s Female Filmmakers



Sadly, seeing a woman make it as a director today still feels revolutionary – but this wasn’t always the case. Only once film became a profitable industry were women shunted into obscurity. So what of all the hundreds of talented women who were chopping the clapper boards before their male colleagues snatched up their money-making roles? Thanks to New York’s Anthology Film Archives female directors from before 1950 and their work will be back in the spotlight – this month they announced the lineup for their Women With A Movie Camera project which runs from September 15-28. Visitors will be treated to remarkable works from filmmakers such as Lois Weber, Alice Guy-Blaché, Ida May Park (who wrote over 50 films and directed 14) and Elvira Notari (who directed a massive 42 films). In New York next month? (Team BTF are!) Hit it up! Here’s the full line-up details 


Hidden Figures Looks Out Of This World

Hidden Figures John Glenn man have been the first American astronaut to make a complete orbit of the Earth, but he couldn’t have done it without the smarts of Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson – the first African-American women to work for NASA. The forthcoming Fox Searchlight film is suggestively and appropriately titled Hidden Figures, and follows the crucial story of how America won the ‘Space Race’ between the Soviet Union. It profiles the role women, played by Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monáe and Taraji P. Henson, had in this landmark expedition. This month saw the launch of the trailer which has got us all starry eyed in anticipation of the early 2017 release. Directed by Theodore Melfi who also wrote the screenplay alongside Allison Schroeder, the film also enjoys the talents of cinematographer Mandy Walker and a soundtrack from the distinguished Pharrell Williams and Hans Zimmer.  Watch the Hidden Figures trailer below! 


Akhavan back as The Bisexual

deseree Desiree Akhavan is back! Her big screen debut Appropriate Behaviour won our hearts back in 2015 (we screened it along with a Q&A!) – her next project is a TV series for the mighty Channel 4 called The Bisexual. Touted as a ‘painfully funny’ and  ‘shamelessly raw’ comedy, it’s about the ups, downs and side to sides of being a bisexual Yank in lonely London.

Desiree will direct the original scripted screenplay over six 30 minute episodes, reuniting with writer Cecilia Frugiuele (Appropriate Behaviour).

Akhavan said: “Getting to play in the sandbox with such intelligent collaborators at Sister Pictures and Channel 4 is an absolute dream come true. They’re the perfect partners in crime for a taboo sex comedy. And by that I mean they’re all perverts.” We’re rubbing our knees with glee.

Up and Coming Director From Down Under Rosemary Myers

girl_asleep_704_2Get ready to remember the name of Rosemary Myers. Her debut feature Girl Asleep is making the hearts of worldwide cinephiles flutter as it scoops up 2000px_BW_Rosemary-Myersawards across the festival circuit, Supermarket Sweep-style. The quirky coming of age movie set in 1970s suburban Australia features 16 year-old Bethany Whitmore and has just won Australia’s richest film award at the Adelaide Film Fest alongside producer Jo Dyer. The $100,000 prize is a bonus, given the growing interest already garnered from their Crystal Bear nomination at the Berlinale and the Grand Jury Prize win at the Seattle International Film Festival.

My Brilliant Career director Gillian Armstrong headed up the jury and said the decision to award Girl Asleep was unanimous saying: “The film was a dazzling treat – brave, clever, funny and heartfelt with a wonderful cast and performances ,especially by the two lead kids, Bethany Whitmore and Harrison Feldman” (who stars in ABC’s show Upper Middle Bogan). Watch the Girl Asleep trailer



Zendaya Spins a Web of Rumours for New Spider-Man Movie

Disney Channel actress, Lemonade star and singer Zendaya (whose name means “to give thanks” in the language of Shona) is rumoured to be playing the love interest of the latest Spider-Man reboot, Spider-Man: Homecoming. According to The Wrap, the star will be the apple of young Peter Parker’s eye (Mary Jane) as the movie follows the teenage years of the webbed wonder. If the rumours are true, there’s a triumph to be found in the casting of a woman of colour as a character who has previously been depicted as a pale-skinned redhead (Kirsten Dunst). Unfortunately, these casting rumours have riled the narrow minded sticklers who haven’t left their bedroom since the 80s, with comments littering Twitter with perplexing dismay with classics such as Since Mary Jane is being played by a Black woman, can MLK be played by a White man in a next movie about him?’  SIGH.

It’s exciting news for Zendaya, who could be embarking on her next major step as a Hollywood superstar – as well as helping to pave the way for colourblind within the world of superhero franchises.

Kerry-Washington-011Kerry Lays Down The Law

Kerry Washington’s new production company Simpson Street (named after her hometown street in the Bronx) has signed a two-year exclusive deal with ABC  to develop original content for ABC Signature and ABC Studios. Washington is now on board to executively produce Patrol, her first series under the Simpson Street banner, a police drama following four female LAPD officers.

Roping in Secrets and Lies writer Chitra Elizabeth Sampath, Washington has also hired a bevy of female producers and crew including Janice Williams and Sharla Sumpter Bridgett, as well as Sampath who will serve as co-executive producer.

This is a smart moves from Washington, who is well known for her role as the brilliant and stylish Olivia Pope in TV hit Scandal and was the first black woman to receive an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series in 18 years!

And Finally…

We’re super excited to announce our next screening! We’re combining our annual look at representations of masculinity in the movies with the BFI’s Woman With A Movie Camera series and hailing Mary Harron’s deliciously satirical, feminist reimagining of Brett Easton Ellis’ opinion dividing book American Psycho as it celebrates its 25th anniversary! Tickets are soon to sell out so nab them fast!

Mon 26 September / BFI Southbank / 6pm


Hidden Figures Trailer 

Girl Asleep Trailer

Bechdel Test Fest