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WFTV’s top 5 women in documentary filmmaking to look out for in 2013

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)


Written by

Alexandra Zeevalkink is a Dutch-born journalist living in London who founded DocGeeks in August 2011 in order to have a legitimate excuse to watch every documentary under the sun. She freelances for various publications and writes mainly about documentaries and the film production industry. When she is not blogging or watching films, she enjoys theater, photography and reading loads of books. She is always on the look out for potential partnerships with other creative minds.

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One Response to "WFTV’s top 5 women in documentary filmmaking to look out for in 2013"

  1. Sophie O says:

    I’m very excited for Call Me Kuchu. I’ve been interested/appalled by what’s going on in Uganda and really wanted to travel there and get some footage. Speaking of which…how exactly does one become one of y’all’s “mentees”? I’m still on college but dream of becoming a documentary maker and would love to hook up with a crew. Any advice?

    Thanks for the article.