Sundance Film Festival

Sundance welcomes women directors

Responding to the last-minute addition of three films to the Sundance Film Festival lineup this week, New York Times’ Carpetbagger blogger Melena Ryzik noticed something that, I confess, I overlooked: All three of the newly added films — Gurinder Chadha’s IT’S A WONDERFUL AFTERLIFE, Lisa Cholodenko’s THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT and Galt Niederhoffer’s THE ROMANTICS — are from young female directors. In fact, there are several other women directors who will be presenting films in the festival’s Premieres category: Sam Taylor Wood, Nicole Holofcener, Floria Sigismondi and Shari Springer Berman among them.

Given the dearth of women behind the camera today — an unfortunate reality that was chronicled in the Times by critic Manohla Dargis not long ago — and the Sundance Film Festival’s reputation for leading the way in independent cinema, I can’t help but hope the inclusion of these women helmers is a harbinger of things to come.

In the age of Apatow and Sandler and Batman and Spider-Man, Hollywood has become something of a “boy’s club,” noted Dargis, writing, “Even the so-called independent sector, with its ostensibly different players and values, hasn’t been much better, as we know from all the female directors who have made a splash at the Sundance Film Festival only to disappear.” Here’s hoping those splashes make waves this time, and that a new sea of female talent washes into America’s multiplexes. It’s time.