Thursday, April 11, 2013


Every week I do this post I usually put at least one documentary in the mix, but it's always so hard to pick just one because women directors are responsible for making SO many great docs.  For those who don't know, it is the one area of film where the number of women directors is encouraging, instead of depressing.  As pointed out in the executive summary of the 2012 Sundance Institute and Women In Film-commissioned study Exploring the Barriers and Opportunities for Independent Women Filmmakers

Documentary filmmaking is an arena where women directors thrive. From 2002 to 2012, 41.1% of Documentary Competition directors were female. Six years of the 11-year sample demonstrated that females comprised 40-50% or more of Competition directors. Even the lowest percentage of female Competition directors (25%) is still higher than the Festival norm for narrative competition films (22.2%).

Although the study only looks at Sundace films, it is still a significant gauge of what is happening in the larger marketplace.  So, in celebration of all the talented women directors making docs, I have decided that this week's post will be an all-doc extravaganza!  

Even though I've seen all five of these films, and think they're great, I have refrained from commenting after each one because I'm pretty sure those comments would quickly become redundant in the best possible way- as all these stories are fascinating, heartbreaking, brave, and at least 3 out of five made me cry. 

Girl Model (dir Ashley Sabin & David Redmon, 2011)  Netflix says: "An unflinching look at the modeling industry, focusing on a conflicted American scout -- herself a former model -- who recruits poverty-stricken adolescent girls from Russia to work in Japan." 

Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey (dir Constance Marks, 2011)  Netflix says: "Beloved by millions of children, Elmo is an international icon. But few people know the soft-spoken man behind the furry red monster: Kevin Clash. Narrated by Whoopi Goldberg, this documentary follows Clash's remarkable career as a puppeteer."

Waste Land (dir Lucy Walker, 2010)  Netflix says: "Renowned artist Vik Muniz embarks on one of the most inspired collaborations of his career, joining creative forces with Brazilian garbage pickers who mine treasure from the trash heaps of Rio de Janeiro's Jardim Gramacho landfill."

Connected: An Autobiography About Love, Death & Technology (dir Tiffany Shlain, 2011) Netflix says: "In this funny, eye-opening, and inspiring film, director and Webby Awards Founder Tiffany Shlain takes audiences on an exhilarating rollercoaster ride to discover what it means to be connected in the 21st century."

Roman Polanski: Wanted & Desired (dir Marina Zenovich, 2008)  Netflix says: "This penetrating documentary explores the tumultuous events of director Roman Polanski's personal life, including the murder of his pregnant wife, Sharon Tate, and the controversial sex scandal that prompted him to flee the United States for France." 

These docs are very thought-provoking!  If you'd like to share the thoughts that they provoke in the comments below, I'd love to hear from you.

QUEUE THIS! is a weekly post by Destri Martino that appears on the Broad Humor Blog every Thursday morning.  The goal of the post is to get more women-directed films in Netflix queues in order to make a sizable impact on Netflix analytics and buying patterns; thus, getting more films by women directors distributed and seen, and generally heightening awareness about this often overlooked pool of talent.  View the past two QUEUE THIS! posts here and here.

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