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Spotlight: Charlotte Wells and Lulu Wang

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Plattsburgh chapter.

In honor of the end of Women’s History Month, it’s essential to highlight remarkable women leading the film industry. 

Historically, film has been a difficult place for women to take up leadership roles. In the 94 years of Oscars history, only three female directors have won for their movies. Kathryn Bigelow’s “The Hurt Locker,”  Cholé Zhao’s “Nomadland” and Jane Champion’s “The Power of the Dog” are the small minority of films that belong to this category. 

Women-directed films are a critical part of the TV and film industry. They are necessary pieces of media for a functioning society. Listed below are female filmmakers to keep an eye out for. 

Charlotte Wells 

Wells made her directorial debut just last year in 2022 with her film “Aftersun.” “Aftersun” stars “Normal People” actors Paul Mescal as Calum and Frankie Corio as Sophie. The two play a father and daughter duo on vacation in Turkey. Though they arrive in celebration of Calum’s 30th birthday, things take a somber mood as the film progresses. Calum’s mental state is in danger, though he tries to combat this with Tai-Chi and self-help books. At the same time, Sophie is experiencing a coming of age through her interactions with the other kids at the resort. Wells stylistically contrasts scenes of Calum and Sophie with present day scenes of grown up Sophie. The movie serves as a semi-autobiographical documentation of Wells’ relationship to her father and the imagined adult life she shares with her wife and child, through the vessel of Sophie’s character. “Aftersun” unfolds in a gripping way that is sure to make a lasting impression on viewers.

Wells has directed three short films alongside “Aftersun”; these include “Tuesday,” “Laps” and “Blue Christmas”. She boasts six awards from organizations such as the National Society of Film Critics and the British Academy Film Awards. As of now, there is no word on any new projects that Wells is working on. 

Lulu Wang

Lulu Wang is best known for her work in portraying the Chinese-American experience. In 2019 she directed her most known film, “The Farewell.” The film follows Billi Wang, a young woman looking to begin a career in the arts. After being rejected from a prestigious fellowship, Billi visits her grandmother, Nai Nai, in Changchun, China. Here, it is revealed to Billi that her grandmother is terminally ill, and yet, Billi’s family has kept this secret from her. Billi grapples with feelings of guilt and betrayal in her deception of Nai Nai.“The Farewell” questions the ethics of dying and familial collectivism, the act of coming together in support of a family member. 

Wang has directed one other feature length film called “Posthumous.” She has also directed two music videos and a number of short films. Wang is set to direct the new Amazon Prime Video series “Expats,” starring Nicole Kidman and Ji-young Yoo. There has also been talk of Wang directing a secret sci-fi movie based on the book “Children of the New World.” The film will focus on an infertile couple that turns to virtual reality to build their family. Wang revealed her work on this project in late 2019, but has not commented on it since. It is possible that her adaptation of “Children of the New World” is on hold due to her “Expats” series. Nonetheless, the prospect of more Lulu Wang content is exciting. 

If you liked this story, stay tuned for more releases of this new Spotlight series. Spotlight aims to highlight individuals in minority groups that are making waves in the film industry. Additionally, the series aims to introduce excellent films from diverse creators. 

Lucy Allen

Plattsburgh '24

Associate editor and TV-Video Production major. Recent graduate of SUNY Plattsburgh's Political Science and Latin American Studies degrees.