Film Independent’s LA Film Festival (LAFF) has announced its first batch of lineups, and the programs are cause for celebration. Of 24 features screening in major competition categories, 14 are directed or co-directed by women, amounting to 58 percent.
Among the titles set to screen in the U.S. Fiction category is “Simple Wedding,” Sara Zandieh’s comedy about cultures clashing when an Iranian woman falls for a quirky bisexual artist.
The Documentary Competition includes Sedika Mojadidi’s “Facing the Dragon,” a portrait of two women in Afghanistan: a doctor-turned-member of parliament who works towards securing peace for women and an investigate journalist determined to reveal truths about her country.
Jeon Go-Woon’s “Microhabitat” is part of the World Fiction Competition slate. The drama follows a housekeeper who gives up her home rather than give up smoking when the price of cigarettes increases.
“Our mission of finding fresh new voices from different geographical and cultural axes remains true,” said LAFF’s director, Jennifer Cochis. “These storytellers are united by their ability to transport, impact, and inspire audiences with the power of their craft.”
According to Film Independent, 42 percent of the festival titles in competition categories are directed by women and 39 percent by people of color. (Women and Hollywood crunched the numbers for features and no other competition categories.)
LAFF’s impressive numbers don’t come as much of a surprise. Forty-six percent of features screening in last year’s competition lineups were women-directed or co-directed.
The fest also announced the programs for LA Muse and Nightfall, where female filmmakers fared less well than the other competition categories. Two of 10 films in the LA Muse section are women-directed or co-directed, and one of six in the Nightfall section.
Check out all of the women-helmed films announced as part of LAFF 2018 below. LAFF runs September 20-28.
US Fiction Competition (2/7 women-directed or co-directed)
In Reality, Ann Lupo, Esteban Pedraza, Aaron Pryka, US
Simple Wedding, Sara Zandieh, US (world premiere)
Documentary Competition (8/10 women-directed or co-directed)
Facing the Dragon, Sedika Mojadidi, US/Afghanistan
False Confessions, Katrine Philp, Denmark (North American premiere)
Hillbilly, Sally Rubin, Ashley York, US
Moroni for President, Saila Huusko, Jasper Rischen, US
Same God, Linda Midgett, US (world premiere)
The Silence of Others, Almudena Carracedo, Robert Bahar, Spain
Stammering Ballad, Nan Zhang, China (North American premiere)
Wrestling Ghosts, Ana Joanes, US (world premiere)
World Fiction Competition (4/7 women-directed or co-directed)
The Cotton Wool War, Cláudio Marques, Marilia Hughes, Brazil (US premiere)
The Day I Lost My Shadow, Soudade Kaadan, France/Lebanon/Qatar/Syrian Arab
Republic (US premiere)
Microhabitat, Jeon Go-Woon, South Korea
Tower. A Bright Day., Jagoda Szelc, Poland/Czech Republic
LA Muse (2/10 women-directed or co-directed)
Solace, Tchaiko Omawale, US
We the Coyotes, Hanna Ladoul, Marco La Via, US (North American premiere)
Nightfall (1/6 women-directed or co-directed)
Head Count, Elle Callahan, US (world premiere)