15 Female-Directed Films To Look Out For At Sundance 2015

Even though the Academy Awards would have us believe otherwise, there is indeed a strong community of talented female filmmakers at large today. And it’s ever growing — this year’s Sundance lineup, for instance, introduces the world to a bevy of women fostering blossoming writing and directing careers, representing the genres of drama, comedy, thriller, and science-fiction, as well as documentary film.

Here's a quick look at some of Sundance 2015's forthcoming female-helmed features.

Image: Fralita Films/Les Films d’Antoine/Viking Film


Directed by: Jennifer Phang.

What it is: A science-fiction film about a conglomerate pushing “genetic re-engineering” on the general public. Think Gattaca and the writings of Philip K. Dick.

What else she’s done: Two other sci-fi films: Still Life and Half-Life.

Image: Inside the Question/hyper/space/I Ain’t Playin’ Films

'Larry Kramer in Love and Anger'

Directed by: Jean Carlomusto.

What it is: A documentary about the life and work of writer and activist Larry Kramer, a prominent figure in the fight for gay rights and AIDS awareness. If you’re familiar with the works of Kramer, or simply just caught The Normal Heart on HBO, this should be on your watch list.

What else she’s done: Contributed cinematography to the similarly themed documentary How to Survive a Plague.

Image: HBO Documentary Films/Cresting Moon Productions

'Hot Girls Wanted'

Directed by: Jill Bauer and Ronna Gradus.

What it is: A doc about the vexing world of pornographic film, and the regular “girl next door” types who fall down its rabbit hole looking to take a step toward show business.

What else they’ve done: Another porn-themed doc, Sexy Baby.

Image: Two to Tangle Productions


Directed by: Kris Williams Swanberg.

What it is: A drama about two young women, a high school teacher and her student, who bond over simultaneous unplanned pregnancies. 

What she’s done: She’s directed a couple of her own films, but is far more recognizable for her onscreen roles in her husband Joe Swanberg’s many movies.

Image: Getty

'Songs My Brothers Taught Me'

Directed by: Chloé Zhao.

What it is: A somber story about siblings recovering from the death of their father.

What else she’s done: The fantastical war film Post.

Image: Getty Images


Directed by: Kim Farrant.

What it is: A harrowing drama about an Australian couple losing their children amidst a perilous dust storm, and the town’s efforts to track them down.

What else she’s done: The body-image documentary Naked on the Inside.

Image: Dragonfly Pictures/Fastnet Films/Worldview Entertainment

'The Diary of a Teenage Girl'

Directed by: Marielle Heller.

What it is: A coming-of-age story about a teenage girl (what gave it away?) and her complicated relationship with her stepfather.

What else she’s done: This is her first gig directing, but perhaps you’ll recognize her for her roles in A Walk Among the Tombstones and, even better, MacGruber.

Image: Caviar/Cold Iron Pictures/Archer Gray

'How to Dance in Ohio'

Directed by: Alexandra Shiva.

What it is: A doc about a group of autistic teenagers correlating and embarking upon the complicated social politics inherent in preparation for a high school dance.

What else she’s done: The documentaries Bombay Eunuch and Stagedoor.

Image: Getty Images

'The Second Mother'

Directed by: Anna Muylaert.

What it is: A heartfelt drama about a housekeeper and nanny torn between allegiances to her loving surrogate family and her own troublesome daughter.

What else she’s done: Written and directed a number of features, including Durval Records, Desmundo, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, and The Year My Parents Went on Vacation.

Image: Africa Filmes/Globo Filmes/Gullane Filmes

'City of Gold'

Directed by: Laura Gabbert.

What it is: A rare look into the underworld of Los Angeles’ ethnic cooking subculture, led by food critic Jonathan Gold.

What else she’s done: The documentaries The Healers of 400 Parnassus and No Impact Man.

Image: Getty Images


Directed by: Anna Sewitsky.

What it is: A tense drama about the complicated relationship between a newly united half-sister and half-brother, both estranged (one emotionally, one physically) from their parents.

What else she’s done: The dramedy Happy, Happy and family film Totally True Love.

Image: Maipo Film

'Stockholm, Pennsylvania'

Directed by: Nikole Beckwith.

What it is: A dramatic thriller about a mother and father striving to rescue their daughter from the brainwashing endured during her long stint under the care of a menacing kidnapper, to whom she has grown attached and loyal.

What else she’s done: Nothing, unless you count a one-off appearance on an episode of Law & Order: Criminal Intent.

Image: Fido Features/Olympus Pictures

'The Summer of Sangaile'

Directed by: Alanté Kavaïté.

What it is: An uplifting (literally!) romantic drama about two girls pursuing one another, and one’s passion for flight, during a lakeside summer.

What else she’s done: The crime-mystery Fissures.

Image: Fralita Films/Les Films d’Antoine/Viking Film


Directed by: Tali Shalom-Ezer.

What it is: A coming-of-age story about a young girl struggling with gender identity and a dangerous relationship with her stepfather.

What else she’s done: The sex-themed drama Surrogate.

Image: Marker Films

'The Wolfpack'

Directed by: Crystal Moselle.

What it is: A documentary about a household of effectively imprisoned brothers whose only connection to the outside world is the world of cinema.

What else she’s done: Produced the biographical doc Excavating Taylor Mead.

Image: Verisimilitude