Here at Women in Film and Television (UK) we love a good documentary! Especially because it’s a genre of filmmaking in which women excel. So, when DocGeeks asked us to choose 5 female documentary filmmakers who, over the last year, have inspired us and whose future work we are looking forward to seeing in years to come, we jumped at the opportunity! Here’s what we came up with…
1. Lauren Greenfield – Queen of Versailles
What started out as a project to document the building of the most ostentatious home in America qrapidly became an intimate study of a family in personal crisis in the midst of the international financial crisis. Greenfield’s film is both entertaining and sobering.
2. Alma Har’el – Bombay Beach
Video artist Har’el’s debut feature is a stunning study of a remote community in California’s Salton Sea. The film blurs the boundaries between documentary and dramatisation and includes some quirky choreographed dance pieces that punctuate the narrative in surprising ways. This hybrid documentary is beautiful to look at as well as emotionally rich.
3. Carol Morley – Dreams of a Life
Carol Morley’s Dreams of a Life (technically released in Dec 2011 but still on our screens in 2012!) tells the haunting tale of Joyce Vincent, whose lifeless body remained undiscovered in her London flat for 3 years. Morley undertook a quest of epic proportions (including ads on black cabs around London) to try to uncover her story and bring it to our screens. Also a ‘hybrid’ doc, Morley presents her findings through interviews but, more interestingly, also uses dramatic reenactments with Fresh Meat’s rising star, Zawe Ashton, as Joyce.
4. Katherine Fairfax Wright & Malika Zouhali-Worrall – Call Me Kuchu
This documentary follows the work of David Kato – Uganda’s first openly gay man – and his fellow activists to oppose a new bill that threatens to make homosexuality punishable by death in the African country. As events tragically unfold, Fairfax Wright and Zouhali-Worrall expose the shocking treatment of homosexuals in Uganda and force audiences to face up to the escalating scale and seriousness of homophobic actions and legislation in such countries.
5. Eva Weber – Reindeer Wrangling (short)
We must declare an interest with this last filmmaker because she just happens to be one of our current mentees and, unlike the others, has not yet made a feature. However, Eva has been a star of the festival circuit in recent years, and it was her multi-award winning short film The Solitary Life of Cranes which really made her mark. Her latest documentary, Reindeer, has screened at 11 festivals including Silverdocs, Telluride and AFI Fest, and will screen at Sundance in January. She has received funding from the BFI to make her next short and will participate in the distinguished Sundance Institute Screenwriters Lab. We’re sure she’s a talent for the future so don’t forget the name! You can watch Reindeer online here:
For more information on Reindeer Wrangling or Eva Weber, check out the website here.
This article was written by Rebecca Brand, head of communications and operations at Women in Film and Television (WFTV)