The SLC Proudly Presents: The Women Directors Festival

With names like Steven Spielberg, James Cameron, Martin Scorsese and Michael Bay constantly being pumped out into the media, it’s easy to forget about all of the awe-inspiring women directors in Hollywood. Seriously, when you type “well known directors” into a Google search an endless ribbon of old men with tiny glasses appears on the screen, with the exception of Kathryn Bigelow who’s thrown into the middle of the mix. Luckily, the Askew Student Life Center (the SLC) will be celebrating the triumphs of women directors from Feb. 26 until March 3. That’s almost a full week of movies about women by women back to back to back, not to mention it’s free for students with a valid FSU ID. The festival’s reception will commence at 6 p.m. on Feb. 26, is free to the general public and will include free food. The first film will premiere at 7:15 p.m.

Feb. 26

Courtesy: Who's Dated Who

The first film of the week begins at 7:15pm with A League of Their Own, a film starring Geena Davis as Dottie. She, along with her younger sister, Kit, join an all women’s professional baseball team run by Jimmy Dugan played by Tom Hanks. The movie is set during World War II and really emphasizes the strides women are making during this time. A League of Their Own is directed by Penny Marshall who is now 75 years old and was born in the Bronx, New York. She made her first debut as an actress in the movie How Sweet It Is! in 1968 and proceeded to take on roles in a few TV series during the 70s such as: The Odd Couple, Laverne & Shirley, Happy Day and you might just recognize her as the wife of the devil in Hocus Pocus. Then she went on to directing and created such films as Big starring a young Tom Hanks and A League of Their Own which also stars a slightly older Tom Hanks but is focused heavily on the female dominant cast which includes Madonna and Rosie O’Donnell.

Feb. 27

Courtesy: Black Youth Project

Day two kicks off with Love and Basketball at 7:15 p.m. and again at 10:15 p.m. This film was released in 2000 and stars Sanaa Lathan as Monica Wright and Omar Epps as Monica’s love interest Quincy McCall. Monica and Quincy are neighbors who grew up together and both wish to pursue careers in basketball; however, things get complicated when the two start falling for one another. Love and Basketball was Gina Prince-Bythewood’s directing debut, before that, Gina Prince-Bythewood was just a screenwriter. In fact, she not only directed Love and Basketball but she wrote it too and is also known for her work directing and writing the screenplay for The Secret Life of Bees. Gina Prince-Bythewood was born in 1969, studied film at UCLA’s film school and was immediately hired as a writer upon her graduation for a TV series called Different World in 1987. For her work on Love and Basketball she was awarded an Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature as well as a Humanities Prize. Gina Prince-Bythewood continues to write and direct and never fails to impress, especially with her upcoming position in directing the new Spiderman movie, Silver and Black.  

Feb. 28

Courtesy: Hollywood Reporter

Wonder Woman’s Patty Jenkins continues the Women Directors Festival on day three at 10:15 p.m. with her 2003 classic film Monster. Based on a true story, Charlize Theron plays Aileen Wuornos, a prostitute who becomes a serial killer and Christina Ricci plays her love interest, Selby Wall. Patty Jenkins was born 1971 in California and started out as a painter in New York City before finding her passion in filmmaking. Monster was her debut film and earned her much credibility in the industry as well as various awards, nominations and recognitions. She is also very well known for her most recent directing job of Warner Bros./DC Comics’ Wonder Woman, which became the highest grossing film during the summer of 2017. Aside from directing, Patty Jenkins also writes and wrote both Monster and Wonder Woman as well as two shorts in 2001: Velocity Rules and Just Drive.

March 1

Courtesy: Variety

The new month begins but the Women Directors Festival continues with Greta Gerwig’s 2017 Golden Globe winner for Best Musical/Comedy, Lady Bird, at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Lady Bird is a coming of age story starring Saoirse Ronan (also known for playing Susie in The Lovely Bones) as Lady Bird, an 18-year-old girl trying to figure out her future. This film focuses on the transition from adolescence to adulthood while finding humor in the awkwardness and the emotionality of being young. Greta Gerwig was born in 1983 in California but attended college in New York where she wished to be a playwright. Instead, Greta Gerwig began collaborating on a few low-budget movies and eventually pursued some minor roles acting. While her career history is weighted more towards acting, Greta Gerwig knocked it out of the park with her solo directorial debut Lady Bird

March 2

Courtesy: Shaker Life

The Women Directors Festival has a couple more showings of Lady Bird at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. and then jumps from 2017 back to 1999 with a showing of But I’m a Cheerleader at midnight, directed by Jamie Babbit. This film stars Natasha Lyonne (best known for playing Nicki in Orange is the New Black) as high school cheerleader Megan Bloomfield who is suspected of being a lesbian and is sent to a conversion camp by her parents. This movie is a coming of age story much like Lady Bird and focuses on learning to love oneself for who they are. But I’m a Cheerleader was Jaime Babbit’s first feature film and received quite a bit of controversy over what the MPAA should rate it for theaters. Aside from the rating, the film also received criticism for the production design and being stereotypical. However, this bit of criticism didn’t slow Jaime Babbit’s career in the slightest. She went on to direct episodes of extremely popular and successful TV shows like: Silicon Valley, Girls, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Divorce and Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

March 3

Courtesy: The Undefeated

To close the six-day long festival, the SLC presents Pariah, directed by Dee Rees, with doors at 11:30 p.m. and the show at midnight. Pariah is about 17-year-old African-American girl named Alike who is coming to terms with her sexuality. Dee Rees was born in 1977 in Nashville, Tennessee and attended Florida A&M University but later studied at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts for graduate school. Dee Rees’ education lead her to the creation of Pariah which she wrote and directed as a short film first in 2007 and then later as a feature film in 2011. Dee Rees is also known for her 2015 HBO film Bessie and her collaboration with Virgil Williams for Mudbound. Since Dee Rees has been nominated for a number of awards such as an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for Mudbound and the Gotham Award for Best Breakthrough Director for Pariah.

Celebrate these inspirational women and their achievements this upcoming week during the Women Directors Film Festival at the Askew Student Life Center. Plan a girl’s night in or just go by yourself if you want because these movies should not be missed. Visit IMDB to learn more about each director, their careers, their achievements and their featured films for the week and visit the ASLC’s webpage for movie times and a calendar view of the event.