Celebrating female filmmakers on International Women’s Day with SheDoesFilmz

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Official film history often forgets about female directors, says Julie Des, the founder of SheDoesFilmz, a subscription service featuring solely female-directed films. She’s hoping to remedy that, and during the week of 4-11 March, new subscribers will get a 50% discount on annual membership, to mark International Women’s Day. Julie says: “For the price of two coffees a month, you can receive a regular, curated collection of female films selected by the best global festivals.”

The online platform, which features award-winning films from around the world, was set up in 2018 to highlight brilliant women in film. Julie says:

“SheDoesFilmz aims to build a community of film lovers who will help progress the search for past and current talent and bring these talented works to the world.” 

According to a study in Slate magazine, women-directed films suffer from 67% lower distribution than other movies. Julie said: “This means women are making all these movies that are amazing and get to festivals, but then don’t get distributed. Part of our analysis is that some institutions go for easy picks, wanting to avoid topics that are too bold or female-focused. We are more interested in those – the movies that are a bit shocking, different. 

Ava DuVernay, ‘Half The Picture’ documentary Photo by Soraya Selene

“Many of our movies are about topics which you wouldn’t expect or you don’t usually see. As a society we have to actively work towards representation in all fields, but particularly in the arts and film. It’s work we’re proud to be leading!”

SheDoesFilmz shows a rotating collection of festival films directed by women, which can be hard to see elsewhere. Past gems include Nelly Kaplan’s iconic ‘nouvelle vague’ films. SheDoesFilmz selects movies from across all genres and Julie says she’s inspired by the “pure cinephile joy” of watching wonderful films:

“What a shame to ever have missed them! This is the real passion behind the platform – discovering and sharing incredible films.”

When asked to recommend a couple of films that are currently on the site, Julie mentions the Sundance Film Festival-winning documentary ‘Half The Picture’, which is, appropriately enough, about the gender gap in Hollywood. The movie features interviews with successful female directors, including Ava DuVernay, Lena Dunham, Jill Soloway, Rosanna Arquette and Gina Prince-Bythewood, asking them about their career paths, challenges and aims for the future.

‘Half The Picture’ documentary poster

Another must-watch is ‘Microhabitat’, by South Korean director Jeon Go-woon. Julie says: “It’s a super-fun, quirky film about a thirty-something woman in Seoul who’s in love with whisky and cigarettes! It was a huge festival favourite, winning over 10 awards.” And Julie says that she’s looking forward to adding to new festival  acclaimed Ecuadorian film about a prostitute seeking revenge, ‘La Mala Noche’ and Chinese festival favourite ‘Girls Always Happy’ about the symbiotic relationship between a mother and her daughter in Beijing.

To find out more about SheDoesFilmz and subscribe, visit: www.shedoesfilmz.com

Featured photo credit: ‘Half The Picture’ documentary, Lena Dunham