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Sundance Film Festival 2021

WIF congratulates the filmmakers of marginalized genders who have directed films that will be on the 2021 Sundance Film Festival program. Fifty percent of the works that have been selected for the festival have at least one woman director, and six projects have non-binary directors. These films are listed below.

U.S. Dramatic Competition

Presenting the world premieres of narrative feature films, the U.S. Dramatic Competition offers Festivalgoers a first look at groundbreaking new voices in American Independent film.

CODA
Director and Screenwriter: Siân Heder
As a CODA – Child of Deaf Adults – Ruby is the only hearing person in her deaf family. When the family’s fishing business is threatened, Ruby finds herself torn between pursuing her love of music and her fear of abandoning her parents.

PASSING
Director and Screenwriter: Rebecca Hall
Two African American women who can “pass” as white choose to live on opposite sides of the color line in 1929 New York in an exploration of racial and gender identity, performance, obsession and repression.

TOGETHER TOGETHER
Director and Screenwriter: Nikole Beckwith
When young loner Anna is hired as the surrogate for Matt, a single man in his 40s, the two strangers come to realize this unexpected relationship will quickly challenge their perceptions of connection, boundaries and the particulars of love.

MAYDAY
Director and Screenwriter: Karen Cinorre
Ana is transported to a dreamlike and dangerous land where she joins a team of female soldiers engaged in a never-ending war along a rugged coast. Though she finds strength in this exhilarating world, she comes to realize that she’s not the killer they want her to be.

SUPERIOR
Director: Erin Vassilopoulos; Screenwriters: Erin Vassilopoulos, Alessandra Mesa
On the run, Marian returns to her hometown in upstate New York to hide out with her estranged identical twin sister, Vivian. Struggling to put the past behind her, Marian lies about the reason for her return, leaving her sister in the dark until their two worlds begin to collide.

U.S. Documentary Competition

Presenting the world premieres of nonfiction feature films, the U.S. Documentary Competition offers Festivalgoers a first look at American films illuminating the ideas, people, and events that shape the present day.

AILEY
Director: Jamila Wignot
Alvin Ailey was a visionary artist who found salvation through dance. Told in his own words and through the creation of a dance inspired by his life, this immersive portrait follows a man who, when confronted by a world that refused to embrace him, determined to build one that would.

CUSP
Directors: Parker Hill, Isabel Bethencourt
In a Texas military town, three teenage girls confront the dark corners of adolescence at the end of a fever dream summer.

TRY HARDER!
Director: Debbie Lum
In a universe where cool kids are nerds, the orchestra is world class and being Asian American is the norm, seniors at Lowell High School compete for the top prize: admission to the college of their dreams.

AT THE READY
Director: Maisie Crow
Home to one of the region’s largest law enforcement education program, students at Horizon High School in El Paso train to become police officers and Border Patrol agents as they discover the realities of their dream jobs may be at odds with the truths and people they hold most dear.

RITA MORENO: JUST A GIRL WHO DECIDED TO GO FOR IT
Director: Mariem Pérez Riera
Rita Moreno defied both her humble upbringing and relentless racism to become one of a select group who have won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony Award. Over a seventy year career, she has paved the way for Hispanic American performers by refusing to be pigeonholed into one-dimensional stereotypes.

USERS
Director: Natalia Almada
A mother wonders, will my children love their perfect machines more than they love me, their imperfect mother? She switches on a smart-crib lulling her crying baby to sleep. This perfect mother is everywhere. She watches over us, takes care of us. We listen to her. We trust her.

World Cinema Dramatic Competition

These narrative feature films from emerging talent around the world offer fresh perspectives and inventive styles.

THE DOG WHO WOULDN’T BE QUIET (Argentina)
Director: Ana Katz
Sebastian, a man in his thirties, works a series of temporary jobs and he embraces love at every opportunity. He transforms, through a series of short encounters, as the world flirts with possible apocalypse.

HIVE (Kosovo-Switzerland-Macedonia-Albania)
Director and Screenwriter: Blerta Basholli
Fahrije’s husband has been missing since the war in Kosovo. She sets up her own small business to provide for her kids, but as she fights against a patriarchal society that does not support her, she faces a crucial decision: to wait for his return, or to continue to persevere.

PLEASURE (Sweden-Netherlands-France)
Director and Screenwriter: Ninja Thyberg
A 20-year-old girl moves from her small town in Sweden to LA for a shot at a career in the adult film industry.

EL PLANETA (U.S.-Spain)
Director and Screenwriter: Amalia Ulman
Amidst the devastation of post-crisis Spain, mother and daughter bluff and grift to keep up the lifestyle they think they deserve, bonding over common tragedy and an impending eviction.

THE PINK CLOUD (Brazil)
Director and Screenwriter: Iuli Gerbase
A mysterious and deadly pink cloud appears across the globe, forcing everyone to stay home. Strangers at the outset, Giovana and Yago try to invent themselves as a couple as years of shared lockdown pass. While Yago is living in his own utopia, Giovana feels trapped deep inside.

World Cinema Documentary Competition

These nonfiction feature films from emerging talent around the world showcase some of the most courageous and extraordinary filmmaking today.

FAYA DAYI (Ethiopia-U.S.)
Director, Screenwriter and Producer: Jessica Beshir
A spiritual journey into the highlands of Harar, immersed in the rituals of khat, a leaf Sufi Muslims chewed for centuries for religious meditations – and Ethiopia’s most lucrative cash crop today. A tapestry of intimate stories offers a window into the dreams of youth under a repressive regime.

THE MOST BEAUTIFUL BOY IN THE WORLD (Sweden)
Directors: Kristina Lindström, Kristian Petri
Swedish actor/musician Björn Andresen’s life was forever changed at the age of 15, when he played Tadzio, the object of Dirk Bogarde’s obsession in Death in Venice – a role which led Italian maestro Luchino Visconti to dub him “the world’s most beautiful boy.”

PRESIDENT (Denmark-U.S.-Norway)
Director: Camilla Nielsson
Zimbabwe is at a crossroads. The leader of the opposition MDC party, Nelson Chamisa, challenges the old guard ZANU-PF led by Emmerson Mnangagwa, known as “The Crocodile.” The election tests both the ruling party and the opposition – how do they interpret principles of democracy in discourse and in practice?

INCONVENIENT INDIAN (Canada)
Director and Screenwriter: Michelle Latimer
An examination of Thomas King’s brilliant dismantling of North America’s colonial narrative, which reframes history with the powerful voices of those continuing the tradition of Indigenous resistance.

PLAYING WITH SHARKS (Australia)
Director and Screenwriter: Sally Aitken
Valerie Taylor is a shark fanatic and an Australian icon – a marine maverick who forged her way as a fearless diver, cinematographer and conservationist. She filmed the real sharks for Jaws and famously wore a chainmail suit, using herself as shark bait, changing our scientific understanding of sharks forever.

TAMING THE GARDEN (Switzerland-Germany-Georgia)
Director Salomé Jashi
A poetic ode to the rivalry between men and nature.

WRITING WITH FIRE (India)
Directors and Producers: Rintu Thomas, Sushmit Ghosh
In a cluttered news landscape dominated by men, emerges India’s only newspaper run by Dalit women. Armed with smartphones, Chief Reporter Meera and her journalists break traditions on the frontlines of India’s biggest issues and within the confines of their own homes, redefining what it means to be powerful.

Premieres

This showcase of world premieres presents highly anticipated films on a variety of subjects, from both the fiction and nonfiction worlds.

BRING YOUR OWN BRIGADE
Director and Screenwriter: Lucy Walker
A character-driven vérité and revelatory investigation takes us on a journey embedded with firefighters and residents on a mission to understand the causes of historically large wildfires and how to survive them, discovering that the solution has been here all along. (Documentary)

IN THE SAME BREATH
Director: Nanfu Wang
How did the Chinese government turn pandemic coverups in Wuhan into a triumph for the Communist party? An essential narrative of firsthand accounts of the coronavirus, and a revelatory examination of how propaganda and patriotism shaped the outbreak’s course – both in China and in the U.S. (Documentary)

MARVELOUS AND THE BLACK HOLE
Director and Screenwriter: Kate Tsang
A teenage delinquent befriends a surly magician who helps her navigate her inner demons and dysfunctional family with sleight of hand magic, in a coming-of-age comedy that touches on unlikely friendships, grief, and finding hope in the darkest moments. (Narrative)

“Philly D.A.”
Created By: Ted Passon, Yoni Brook, Nicole Salazar
A groundbreaking inside look at the long shot election and tumultuous first term of Larry Krasner, Philadelphia’s unapologetic District Attorney, and his experiment to upend the criminal justice system from the inside out. (Episodic Documentary)

HOW IT ENDS
Directors, Screenwriters and Producers: Daryl Wein, WIF Film Finishing Fund grantee Zoe Lister-Jones
On the last day on Earth, one woman goes on a journey through LA to make it to her last party before the world ends, running into an eclectic cast of characters along the way. (Narrative)

LAND
Director: Robin Wright
The poignant story of one woman’s search, in the aftermath of an unfathomable event, for meaning in the vast and harsh American wilderness. Cast: Robin Wright, Demián Bichir, Kim Dickens. (Narrative)

MY NAME IS PAULI MURRAY
Directors: Betsy West, Julie Cohen
Overlooked by history, Pauli Murray was a legal trailblazer whose ideas influenced RBG’s fight for gender equality and Thurgood Marshall’s landmark civil rights arguments. Featuring never-before-seen footage and audio recordings, a portrait of Murray’s impact as a non-binary Black luminary: lawyer, activist, poet, and priest who transformed our world. (Documentary)

STREET GANG: HOW WE GOT TO SESAME STREET
Director: Marilyn Agrelo
How did a group of rebels create the world’s most famous street? In 1969 New York, this “gang” of mission-driven artists, writers and educators catalyzed a moment of civil awakening, transforming it into Sesame Street, one of the most influential and impactful television programs in history. (Documentary)

Spotlight

The Spotlight program is a tribute to the cinema we love and presents films that have played throughout the world.

THE WORLD TO COME
Director: Mona Fastvold
Music supervision by WIF Board member Tracy McKnight
Somewhere along the mid-nineteenth century American East Coast frontier, two neighboring couples battle hardship and isolation, witnessed by a splendid yet testing landscape, challenging them both physically and psychologically.

NEXT

Pure, bold works distinguished by an innovative, forward-thinking approach to storytelling populate this program. Digital technology paired with unfettered creativity promises that the films in this section will shape a greater next wave in American cinema.

THE BLAZING WORLD
Director and Screenwriter: Carlson Young
Decades after the accidental drowning of her twin sister, a self-destructive young woman returns to her family home, finding herself drawn to an alternate dimension where her sister may still be alive.

WE’RE ALL GOING TO THE WORLD’S FAIR
Director and Screenwriter: Jane Schoenbrun
A teenage girl becomes immersed in an online role-playing game

MA BELLE, MY BEAUTY (U.S.-France)
Director and Screenwriter: Marion Hill
A surprise reunion in southern France reignites passions and jealousies between two women who were formerly polyamorous lovers.

Midnight

From horror flicks and bizarre comedies to works that defy any genre, these unruly films will keep you wide awake and on the edge of your seat.

CENSOR (U.K.)
Director and Screenwriter: Prano Bailey-Bond
When film censor Enid discovers an eerie horror that speaks directly to her sister’s mysterious disappearance, she resolves to unravel the puzzle behind the film and its enigmatic director – a quest blurring the lines between fiction and reality in terrifying ways.

VIOLATION (Canada)
Directors, Screenwriters and Producers: Madeleine Sims-Fewer, Dusty Mancinelli
A troubled woman on the edge of divorce returns home to her younger sister after years apart. But when her sister and brother-in-law betray her trust, she embarks on a vicious crusade of revenge.

KNOCKING (Sweden)
Director: Frida Kempff
When Molly moves into her new apartment after a tragic accident, a strange noise from upstairs begins to unnerve her. As its intensity grows, she confronts her neighbors – but no one seems to hear what she is hearing.

Indie Series Program

Our Indie Series Program was created specifically for bold stories told in multiple episodes, with an emphasis on independent perspectives and innovative storytelling.

4 FEET HIGH (Argentina-France)
Directors: María Belén Poncio, Rosario Perazolo Masjoan
Juana, a 17-year-old wheelchair user, aims to explore her sexuality but is ashamed of her body. Trying to find her place in a new high school, she will go through failure, friendship, fear and politics until she builds her own pride.

“Would You Rather” (France-Germany)
Creators: Lise Akoka, Romane Guéret
Sixteen-year-olds Shaï, Djeneba, Aladi, and Ismaël grew up in a working-class Paris neighborhood. Together, they watch hours drift by, cracking jokes, and playing their favorite game, “Would you rather?” As the group’s equilibrium suddenly shifts, they have to start making choices – in their lives and their game.

SEEDS OF DECEIT (Netherlands)
Director: Miriam Guttmann
The revelation that Dr. Karbaat clandestinely used his own semen to inseminate more than 65 of his patients shocked the world. A vivid portrayal of how that happened and all the ways it haunts those affected: the emotional trauma of coming to terms with a changed life, a new identity.

Short Films Program

Driven by innovation and experimentation, the Short Films Program calls out filmmaking’s most original voices.

Shorts Program 1

FLEX
Director: Josefin Malmén
He may be god enough, but is he good enough? A slightly surreal comedic exploration of the fine line between a bodybuilder’s self-loathing and self-loving.

BAMBIRAK (Germany)
Director: Zamarin Wahdat
When Kati stows away in her father’s truck, Faruk must juggle his responsibilities as a single dad while holding down his first job in a new country. As their relationship deepens, a brush with covert racism tests their bond.

FIVE TIGER (South Africa)
Director: Nomawonga Khumalo
A God-feating woman in present-day South Africa finds herself in a transactional relationship as she tries to support her sick husband and daughter.

Shorts Program 2

WHITE WEDDING
Director: Melody C. Roscher
Amidst a racially tense Southern wedding, a biracial bride has the chance to confront her estranged Black father after accidentally hiring his wedding band to perform.

LATA (India-U.S.)
Director: Alisha Tejpal
Lata, a 23-year-old domestic worker, navigates her way through an upper-class home in South Mumbai. Doors consistently open and close, giving Lata selective access to the various contending realities that occupy this space.

THE AFFECTED (Norway)
Director: Rikke Gregersen
Minutes before takeoff, a situation occurs, preventing an airplane from departing. In an attempt to prevent the deportation of one passenger, another refuses to sit down—forcing the pilot to take a political stand.

MOUNTAIN CAT (Mongolia-U.K.)
Director: Lkhagvadulam Purev-Ochir
A troubled girl is coerced into seeing a shaman. Trapped by the ancient beliefs that pacify her mother, she finds peace in the physical realm, unleashing her repressed, youthful spirit on the shaman when she realizes his true identity.

Shorts Program 3

WIGGLE ROOM
Directors: Sam Guest, Julia Baylis
Determined to save her wheelchair ramp from repossession, Daisy confronts the shady insurance agent who owes her money.

AVA FROM MY CLASS (U.S.-South Korea)
Director: Youmin Kang
Anna thinks Ava is the best actress in her class.

BLACK BODIES (U.S.-Canada)
Director and Screenwriter: Kelly Fyffe-Marshall
A Black man comes face-to-face with the realities of being Black in the twenty-first century.

Shorts Program 4

LIKE THE ONES I USED TO KNOW (France)
Director: Annie St-Pierre
December 24, 1984, 10:50 p.m.: Julie and her cousins ate too much sugar, and Santa Claus is late. Denis, alone in his car, is anxious about setting foot in his former in-laws’ house to pick up his children.

YOU WOULDN’T UNDERSTAND
Director: Trish Harnetiaux
An idyllic picnic of one is upended after the arrival of a stranger.

DOUBLESPEAK
Director: Hazel McKibbin
A young woman grapples with the aftermath of reporting sexual harassment in the workplace.

Animation Spotlight

THE FOURFOLD (Canada)
Director and Screenwriter: Alisi Telengut
An exploration of the Indigenous worldview and wisdom based on ancient shamanistic traditions and animistic beliefs in Siberia and Mongolia. With handcrafted animation, a testament of reclaiming animism for environmental ethics and nonhuman materialities.

GNT
Directors: Sara Hirner, Rosemary Vasquez-Brown
Glenn is a woman on an unwholesome mission, but just how far will she go to conquer the clique—and social media at large?

MISERY LOVES COMPANY
Director: Sasha Lee
As Seolgi is lying on a grass field with friends, a shooting star falls, and dark, intrusive thoughts hit her. Her melancholy blooms into bright and colorful “flower people,” dancing and wishing for a meteorite to end the world.

Documentary Shorts Program 1

THIS IS THE WAY WE RISE
Director: Ciara Lacy
An exploration of the creative process, following native Hawaiian slam poet Jamaica Heolimeleikalani Osorio, as her art is reinvigorated by her calling to protect sacred sites atop Maunakea, Hawai’i.

SNOWY
Directors: Kaitlyn Schwalje, Alex Wolf Lewis
Snowy, a four-inch-long pet turtle, has lived an isolated life in the family basement. With help from a team of experts and his caretaker, Uncle Larry, we ask: Can Snowy be happy, and what would it take?

DEAR PHILADELPHIA
Director: Renee Maria Osubu
With the help of their family, friends, and faith, three fathers unravel the incomparable partnership of forgiveness and community in North Philadelphia.

THE RIFLEMAN
Director: Sierra Pettengill
Told entirely through archival material tracing Harlon Carter, considered the “father of the modern NRA,” across the decades, this short film reveals the links between the National Rifle Association, the U.S. Border Patrol, and gun culture.

TEARS TEACHER (Japan)
Director: Noémie Nakai
Yoshida is a self-proclaimed “tears teacher.” A firm believer that regular crying promotes healthier living, he’s made it his mission to make more people weep.

Documentary Shorts Program 2

THE FIELD TRIP
Directors: Meghan O’Hara, Mike Attie, Rodrigo Ojeda-Beck
A group of fifth graders learns what it takes to get ahead in the modern American workplace.

TO KNOW HER
Director: Natalie A. Chao
A poetic exploration of the camera’s gaze and a family’s relationship with the filmmaker’s mother.

SPIRITS AND ROCKS: AN AZOREAN MYTH (Belgium-Hungary-Switzerland-Portugal)
Director: Aylin Gökmen
On a volcanic island, inhabitants are caught in an unending cycle: The threat of impending eruptions and the burden of past traumas loom over them. Some draw upon myth and religious beliefs to interpret their precarious situation; others demonstrate resilience.

New Frontier

“According to Sundance, of the 32 artists in the New Frontier lineup, 44% identify as women, 9% as non-binary, 44% as BIPOC, and 22% as LGBTQ+.” [Variety]

4 FEET HIGH VR (Argentina-France)
Lead Artists: María Belén Poncio, Rosario Perazolo Masjoan, Damian Turkieh, Ezequiel Lenardón
Juana, a 17-year-old wheelchair user, aims to explore her sexuality but is ashamed of her body. Trying to find her place in a new high school, she will go through failure, friendship, fear and politics until she builds her own pride.

“The Changing Same: Episode 1” (U.S.)
Lead Artists: WIF Film Finishing Fund grantee Michèle Stephenson, Joe Brewster, Yasmin Elayat
An immersive, episodic VR experience where the participant travels through time and space to witness the connected historical experiences of racial injustice in America. A respectful, haunting story infused with magical realism and Afrofuturism about the uninterrupted cycle of the 400-year history of racial terror — past and present.

“Prison X — Chapter 1: The Devil and The Sun” (Australia, Bolivia, India)
Lead Artists: Violeta Ayala, Alap Parikh, Maria Corvera Vargas, Roly Elias
Heavy doors open and you are swept into an infamous Bolivian jail, where you live among devils, saints, wicked characters, corrupt prison guards and even a Western filmmaker. In Prison X, inhabit the dreams and nightmares of the Neo-Andean underworld.

SECRET GARDEN (U.S.)
Lead Artist: Stephanie Dinkins
An immersive web experience and installation, illuminating the power and resilience in Black women’s stories. Interactive audio vignettes generate a multi-generational narrative that collapses past, present, and future.

TRAVELING THE INTERSTITIUM WITH OCTAVIA BUTLER (U.S.)
Lead Artists: Sophia Nahli Allison, idris brewster, Stephanie Dinkins, Ari Melenciano, Terence Nance
Inspired by the ideas of Octavia Butler, voyaging into the interstitium: a liminal space, a cultural memory, containing the remnants of our ancestors, a place of refuge, a place of recentering, a portal into an alternate dimension.

BEYOND THE BREAKDOWN (U.S.)
Lead Artists: Tony Patrick, Lauren Lee McCarthy, WIF Film Finishing Fund grantee Grace Lee
Imagines alternate narratives for our near-future reality inside a browser designed to hack our normal online behaviors and cultivate collaborative spaces for self-reflection and renewal.

NIGHTSSS (Poland)
Lead Artists: Weronika Lewandowska, Sandra Frydrysiak
A virtual erotic poem created in artistic animation with ASMR and interactive elements, immersing the viewer in the sensual experience of poetry and dance.

RICH KIDS: A HISTORY OF SHOPPING MALLS IN TEHRAN (U.K.-Iran)
Lead Artists: Javaad Alipoor, Kirsty Housley
A darkly comedic, urgent new play about entitlement, consumption and digital technology, exploring the ubiquitous feeling that our societies are falling apart through the story of two young members of the Iranian elite, asking what their deaths tell us about climate change, social collapse and Instagram.

TO MISS THE ENDING (U.K.)
Lead Artists: Anna West, David Callanan
A VR cubicle of cardboard boxes begins to glitch, revealing an empty dark space in front of you ― until something glimmers in the distance, a wave of blue flooding towards you. A chorus of real memories and imagined futures expands, until only the largest memories are left.

WEIRDO NIGHT (U.S.)
Lead Artists: Jibz Cameron, Mariah Garnett
A filmed edition, hosted by Dynasty Handbag, of the wildly popular, underground, eponymous live performance and comedy event that, until COVID-19, was held monthly in Los Angeles.

2020–2021 Film Awards and Nominees

The following women have received awards or nominations for their work in cinema throughout the 2020–2021 awards season. List updated regularly.

September 12, 2020: 77th Venice International Film Festival Awards

  • Golden Lion: Nomadland, Chloé Zhao
  • Volpi Cup for Best Actress: Vanessa Kirby for Pieces of a Woman
  • Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement: Ann Hui and Tilda Swinton

September 20, 2020: 45th Toronto International Film Festival Awards

  • People’s Choice Award: Nomadland, Chloé Zhao
    • People’s Choice Award, First Runner Up: One Night in Miami, Regina King
    • People’s Choice Award, Second Runner Up: Beans, Tracey Deer
    • People’s Choice Award, Documentaries: Inconvenient Indian, Michelle Latimer
    • People’s Choice Award, Midnight Madness: Shadow in the Cloud, Roseanne Liang
  • Best Canadian Feature Film: Inconvenient Indian, Michelle Latimer
  • Best International Short Film: Dustin, Naïla Guiguet
  • FIPRESCI Award: Beginning (Dasatskisi), Dea Kulumbegashvili
  • Changemaker Award: Black Bodies, Kelly Fyffe-Marshall
  • Share Her Journey: Sing Me a Lullaby, Tiffany Hsiung
  • TIFF Tribute Awards: Chloé Zhao, Mira Nair, and Kate Winslet

December 9, 2020: SFFILM Awards

  • SFFILM Award for Acting: Glenn Close, Hillbilly Elegy
  • Irving M. Levin Award for Film Direction: Chloé Zhao, Nomadland

December 12, 2020: European Film Awards

  • European Discovery – Prix Fipresci: Sole, written by Giulia Moriggi
  • European Documentary: One Night in Miami, written by Antoaneta Opris
  • European Actress: Paula Beer, Undine
  • European Editing: Maria Fantastica Valmori, Once More Unto the Breach / Il Varco
  • European Production Design: Cristina Casali, The Personal History of David Copperfield
  • European Costume Design: Ursula Patzak, Hidden Away / Volevo Nascondermi
  • European Make-Up & Hair: Yolanda Piña, The Endless Trench / La Trinchera Infinita
  • European Original Score: Dascha Dauenhauer, Berlin Alexanderplatz
  • European Sound: Yolande Decarsin, Little Girl / Petite Fille
  • European University Film Award: Saudi Runway, directed & written by Susanne Regina Meures

December 18, 2020: New York Film Critics Circle Awards

  • Best Picture: First Cow, directed and written by Kelly Reichardt
  • Best Director: Chloé Zhao, Nomadland
  • Best Screenplay: Eliza Hittman, Never Rarely Sometimes Always
  • Best Actress: Sidney Flanigan, Never Rarely Sometimes Always
  • Best Supporting Actress: Maria Bakalova, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
  • Best Animated Film: Wolfwalkers, produced by Nora Twomey
  • Best Non-Fiction Film (Documentary): Time, produced by Lauren Domino
  • Best First Film: Radha Blank, The 40-Year-Old Version

December 20, 2020: 46th Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards

  • Best Picture
    • Runner-up: Nomadland, Chloé Zhao, director; Frances McDormand, Mollye Asher, Chloé Zhao, producers
  • Best Director: Chloé Zhao, Nomadland
  • Best Actress: Carey Mulligan, Promising Young Woman
    • Runner-up: Viola Davis, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
  • Best Supporting Actress: Youn Yuh-Jung, Minari
    • Runner-up: Amanda Seyfried, Mank
  • Best Screenplay: Emerald Fennell, Promising Young Woman
    • Runner-up: Eliza Hittman, Never Rarely Sometimes Always
  • Best Documentary/Nonfiction Film: Time, producer: Lauren Domino
    • Runner-up: Collective, producers: Bianca Oana, Hanka Kastelicová; writer: Antoaneta Opris
  • Best Animation: Wolfwalkers, producer: Nora Twomey
    • Runner-up: Soul, producer: Dana Leigh Murray
  • New Generation Award: Radha Blank, The 40-Year-Old Version

January 9, 2021: 55th National Society of Film Critics Awards

  • Best Picture: Nomadland: Chloé Zhao, director, Frances McDormand, Mollye Asher, Chloé Zhao, producers
    • Runner-up: First Cow, Kelly Reichardt, director
    • Runner-up: Never Rarely Sometimes Always, Eliza Hittman, director; Adele Romanski, Sara Murphy, producers
  • Best Director: Chloé Zhao, Nomadland
    • Runner-up: Kelly Reichardt, First Cow
  • Best Actress: Frances McDormand, Nomadland
    • Runner-up: Viola Davis, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
    • Runner-up: Sidney Flanigan, Never Rarely Sometimes Always
  • Best Supporting Actress: Maria Bakalova, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
    • Runner-up: Amanda Seyfried, Mank
    • Runner-up: Youn Yuh-jung, Minari
  • Best Screenplay: Eliza Hittman, Never Rarely Sometimes Always
    • Runner-up: Kelly Reichardt, First Cow
  • Best Foreign-Language Film: Collective, Hanka Kastelicová, Biana Oana, producers
    • Runner-up: Bacurau, Emilie Lesclaux, producer
    • Runner-up: Beanpole, Natalia Gorina, Ellen Rodnianski, producers
  • Best Non-Fiction Film: Time, Lauren Domino, Kellen Quinn, producers
    • Runner-up: City Hall, Karen Konicek, producer
    • Runner-up: Collective, Hanka Kastelicová, Biana Oana, producers

January 10, 2021: Inaugural Critics Choice Super Awards

  • Best Action Movie: Da 5 Bloods, Beatriz Levin, producer
  • Best Actress in an Action Movie: Betty Gilpin, The Hunt
  • Best Animated Movie: Soul, Dana Murray, producer
  • Best Voice Actress in an Animated Movie: Tina Fey, Soul
  • Best Superhero Movie: The Old Guard, Gina Prince-Bythewood, director; Dana Goldberg, Beth Kono, Charlize Theron, producers
  • Best Actress in a Superhero Movie: Margot Robbie, Birds of Prey
  • Best Horror Movie: The Invisible Man, Kylie Du Fresne, producer
  • Best Actress in a Horror Movie: Elisabeth Moss, The Invisible Man
  • Best Science Fiction/Fantasy Movie: Palm Springs, Becky Sloviter, producer
  • Best Actress in a Science Fiction/Fantasy Movie: Cristin Milioti, Palm Springs

[Full list of winners, including for television categories, available here.]

January 11, 2021: 30th IFP Gotham Awards

  • Best Feature: Nomadland, Chloé Zhao, director; Frances McDormand, Mollye Asher, Chloé Zhao, producers
  • Best Documentary (TIE):
    • A Thousand Cuts: Ramona S. Diaz, director; Ramona S. Diaz, Leah Marino, Julie Goldman, Carolyn Hepburn, producers
    • Time: Lauren Domino, Kellen Quinn, producers
  • Best International Feature: Identifying Features, Fernanda Valadez, director; Astrid Rondero, producer
  • Best Screenplay (TIED): The Forty-Year-Old Version, Radha Blank
  • Best Actress: Nicole Beharie, Miss Juneteenth
  • Actress Tribute: Viola Davis
  • Ensemble Tribute: The cast of The Trial of the Chicago 7, including Caitlin Fitzgerald and Alice Kremelberg
  • Gotham Audience Award: Nomadland, Chloé Zhao, director; Frances McDormand, Mollye Asher, Chloé Zhao, producers

[Full list of winners, including for television categories, available here.]

January 16, 2021: 36th IDA Documentary Awards

  • Best Feature: Crip Camp, Nicole Newnham, director/producer; Sara Bolder, producer
  • Best Music Documentary: Universe, Esther Dere, Leah Natasha Thomas, producers
  • Best Writing: Kirsten Johnson, Dick Johnson is Dead
  • Pare Lorentz Award: My Octopus Teacher, Pippa Ehrlich, director
    • Honorable Mention: Crip Camp, Nicole Newnham, director/producer; Sara Bolder, producer
  • ABC News VideoSource Award: Crip Camp, Nicole Newnham, director/producer; Sara Bolder, producer
  • Honorary Awards:
    • Amicus Award: Regina S. Scully
    • Courage Under Fire Award, Olga Baranova and the filmmakers and activists from Welcome to Chechnya
    • Truth to Power Award: Maria Ressa

[Full list of winners, including for television categories, available here.]

January 26, 2021: National Board of Review Awards

February 28, 2021: Golden Globe Awards

March 7, 2021: Critics Choice Awards

March 14, 2021: Screen Actors Guild Awards

March 21, 2021: Writers Guild of America Awards

March 24, 2021: Producers Guild of America Awards

April 6, 2021: Visual Effects Society Awards

April 10, 2021: Art Directors Guild Awards

April 10, 2021: Directors Guild of America Awards

April 11, 2021: British Academy of Film and Television Arts Awards

April 16, 2021: Annie Awards

April 24, 2021: Film Independent Spirit Awards

April 25, 2021: Academy Awards

Reflecting on a Year Like No Other

December 16, 2020

It’s hard to believe that we are coming to the end of 2020. We have lived through so much over these difficult months, yet time and time again we have been given cause for gratitude. It’s in this spirit that we want to look back on what 2020 has shown us as an organization working to change culture.

In times of isolation, we have been able to connect, through summer Happy Hour Hangs and mission-critical programs like the Black Member Forum, Black Member Support Space, and a Covid-19 support group. In times of unpredictability, many have been able to receive guidance through the Help Line which continues to offer support for those experiencing harassment, discrimination, and misconduct, and offers programming and resources to support overall wellness for our community during trying times. When our industry faced unproven changes, our programs adapted so that fellows could continue to workshop, receive mentorship, and form vital bonds.

Thank you for joining us for screenings, panels, and interviews. You kept the conversation going, and you can still watch online if you missed our chats with Gina Prince-Bythewood, Julie Taymor, Cheryl Dunye, Elle Fanning, and so many more. Thank you for celebrating our annual fundraiser with us as we never had, watching the Make It Work! special on The CW as our message of equality in the workplace was shared with the world by women like Hillary Clinton, Jane Fonda, Alfre Woodard, and Rita Moreno (to name a few).

Thank you for your commitment to the WIF community, as we launched our new membership model and code of conduct last month, and are so excited to see how the WIF family is growing. We encourage all members at Storyteller level and above to invite someone into the fold by purchasing a reduced-price gift membership for a rising talent in your life.

Thank you for prioritizing yourself by taking part in our career programs and grants. We have been delighted by the response to the NEW Emerging Producers Program, and for those who need some financial support to get through the next few months, please apply to the Hire Her Back Fund. If your stability has been impacted by the pandemic, the Fund is for you.

Despite all we’ve accomplished together, WIF (like so many nonprofits) faces unprecedented challenges. We could not do this critical work without the support of the organizations and individuals like you that value our mission. If you would like to see this community grow and continue to thrive in an unpredictable 2021, donate now to the WIF Annual Fund. Any donations that you can make before the end of the year will make a huge difference for us and the women that benefit from our work. Thank you for your generosity.

Our Values, and Our Valued Members

November 12, 2020

In 2020, we heard from you that WIF programming and membership have been lifelines in these uncertain times, allowing you to learn from and connect with one another, even from home. For 2021, WIF is revamping our membership model for the first time in years. We’re doing so in order to better meet your needs and provide more programming and networking opportunities to keep you connected to a community of women and an industry turned upside down. We have pivoted all of our programs to digital and have almost tripled the amount of programming available virtually until we are able to meet in person again. We want to offer WIF members more opportunities than ever to learn, network, and advance their careers.

By being a part of WIF, you are part of a movement. If WIF is meaningful to you, renew or join as a member, and stand with us in creating a more equitable industry as we build it back.

WHAT’S NEW:

  • Part of our mission is to break down barriers that keep underrepresented stories from being told. Accordingly, starting in 2021 WIF will no longer require a letter of recommendation and amount of years working in the industry as part of the application process. By eliminating our own gatekeeping, we aim to invite more people into the WIF family and to cultivate a member base that is reflective of the boundless and diverse creative community.
  • We have developed a new Code of Conduct to which we are asking all members to commit. With this in place, we can create safe and respectful spaces where we can all grow and succeed.
  • Our levels have new names! Upon renewal, ASSOCIATE will become CREATIVE and CAREER will become STORYTELLER. Automatically, EXECUTIVE will become CHAMPION and ADVOCATE will become PATRON.
  • You’ll see a slight price increase for the Associate (now CREATIVE) and Career (now STORYTELLER) levels starting in 2021. Executive (now CHAMPION) and Advocate (now PATRON) dues will remain the same. These price increases correlate with investments we are making to develop more programming and benefits, including specific programming for members at these levels. We are a member-supported organization, so by renewing, you are helping us to weather the storm of the pandemic.
  • Select career program applications, such as the Production Program, WIF | The Black List Writing Labs, and WIF | Sundance Institute Financing Intensive (among others) will be open to non-members for a standalone application fee. As a member at the CREATIVE level and above, you will receive waivers to apply to career programs for free.
  • We’re debuting a new ALLY level of membership, for any and all advocates for parity to be a part of the WIF movement—everyone working in the screen industries or invested in the stories told on-screen, should have an opportunity to be a part of the change our culture needs.

As part of our membership drive, running through December, current members can sign up for these new levels at last year’s renewal prices. Members have received detailed emails with specific details about what these changes mean for specific membership levels. (If you have not received your email, please contact Development and Communications Coordinator Toni-Marie Gallardo.) Renew today to lock in this reduced annual fee.

Thank you for your continued support of the WIF mission. There has been a lot to adapt to—in our industry and in our world—throughout 2020. We are encouraged by the way our community has come together in recent months, and invigorated to head into the new year with continued programming and support for equality in Hollywood and beyond.

Best,


Kirsten Schaffer,
WIF Executive Director

History in the Making

November 11, 2020

Last week’s U.S. general election saw the political wins of several women and people of marginalized genders making history. In our industry we know as well as anyone the importance of representation, making especially resonant the words of Vice President elect Kamala Harris in her address on Saturday, November 7: “While I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last, because every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities.”

Screenshot of an Instagram post from The Root, with a picture of a Black toddler wearing a t-shirt that reads, "My VP looks like me."
Screenshot of a tweet by Mindy Kaling reading, "Crying and holding my daughter, 'look baby, she looks like us.'"

Harris will be the first woman to hold the office of Vice President, as well as being the first Black person and the first Asian-American person, born to a father who immigrated from Jamaica and a mother who immigrated from India.

This election also marks significant landmarks for women in races around the country, such as Jessica Benham, the first bisexual woman elected to the Pennsylvania legislature, who is also among the nation’s few lawmakers with autism; Cori Bush, the first Black woman to represent Missouri in Congress; Stephanie Byers, the first openly trans Native American ever elected to office in the United States, who was elected to the Kansas House of Representatives; New Mexico’s Yvette Herrell and Teresa Leger Fernandez, among the first Native American women elected to Congress; Kim Jackson, the first LGBTQ Georgia State Senator and one of the few Black LGBTQ women state senators in the nation; Cynthia Lummis, Wyoming’s first woman senator; Delaware’s Sarah McBride, the nation’s first trans state senator; Michele Rayner-Goolsby, the first openly queer Black woman elected to the Florida legislature; Taylor Small, the first out trans member of Vermont’s House of Representatives; and Mauree Turner, who is both the first publicly non-binary U.S. state lawmaker and the first Muslim member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives.

As Theresa Vargas writes for The Washington Post, “election ‘firsts’ are reason for celebration. They are societal victories that take us closer to making sure the people who speak for us more closely represent us.”

Vargas continues that the word “first” can also be troubling in this context: “Those election firsts should bring us joy. But they should also bother us and push us to not let the conversation end with those exclamation points.”


Now Streaming: Jingle Jangle

Join WIF as we discuss the “sugar rush of steampunk joy” that is JINGLE JANGLE: A CHRISTMAS JOURNEY, with producer Lyn Sission-Talbert, moderated by actor/producer Ingrid Rogers. This Laptop Cinema Club interview is available to watch any time on Facebook or YouTube, and JINGLE JANGLE is now streaming on Netflix.

Emerging Producers Program Details

Program Specifics

Eight participants will be chosen for the Emerging Producers Program. These participants will each receive four quarterly advising meetings with their core advisor(s). As a cohort, the participants will also partake in a 12-part class series taught by guest speakers that covers the production of a feature film from start to finish. Participants will also receive additional support and resources toward creating an LLC (if appropriate) for themselves or their project.

Requirements

The ideal candidate for the Emerging Producers Program will have produced two to three shorts or music videos, have a career objective to become a producer, and is looking to produce their first feature.

Dates

Applications open: Monday, December 7, 2020
Applications close: Monday, February 8, 2021
Applicants notified: Friday, April 16, 2021

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What kind of producers is this program for?
    This program is for producers who have completed a short film (from development through post), have produced notable music videos (independent, with a high amount of views, or for a well-known artist), or have produced in the advertising or marketing space.
  • I’ve already produced a feature; is this program for me?
    Typically, no. However, if your feature was a low budget film that did not receive a top-tier festival run or distribution, we would consider you a viable candidate.
  • What is an Artist Statement?
    This is your opportunity to tell us the things you can’t learn from a résumé. Who you are, what your journey has been, what your goals are, what type of help you need, and what type of advising would be helpful for you. The format and exact information included varies from person to person, but should definitely tell us everything you feel we need to know to select you for the program.
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