NYFF18: Just 4 Out of 30 Main Slate Films are Female-Directed – Jennifer Merin reports

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Sometimes after a step forward, there’s a step back. In 2017, New York Film Festival (NYFF) announced that its main slate lineup featured the most female-directed films in 10 years. This year, it’s back to being below average with just four female-directed films in the lineup of 30.

Even more striking, the festival’s record number of female directed films was only eight in a main slate of 25. That’s only 32% and that’s the highest percentage in 10 years.

Furthermore, NYFF has o date made no mention of an equality pledge, nor has it commented on the inclusion rider circulating in Hollywood. And, it shows.

On a brighter note, each of this year’s roster of female directors were also the writers of their films.

All four female-directed have already been picked up for distribution. Netflix will release Private Life and Happy as Lazzaro (North American Premiere at NYFF), while High Life (U.S. Premiere at NYFF) was recently picked up by A24 and Storyboard Media plans on releasing Too Late to Die Young (U.S. Premiere at NYFF) in Chile.

Read descriptions of the films on THE FEMALE GAZE.

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Jennifer Merin

Jennifer Merin is the Film Critic for Womens eNews and contributes the CINEMA CITIZEN blog for and is managing editor for Women on Film, the online magazine of the Alliance of Women Film Journalists, of which she is President. She has served as a regular critic and film-related interviewer for The New York Press and About.com. She has written about entertainment for USA Today, The L.A. Times, US Magazine, Ms. Magazine, Endless Vacation Magazine, Daily News, New York Post, SoHo News and other publications. After receiving her MFA from Tisch School of the Arts (Grad Acting), Jennifer performed at the O'Neill Theater Center's Playwrights Conference, Long Wharf Theater, American Place Theatre and LaMamma, where she worked with renown Japanese director, Shuji Terayama. She subsequently joined Terayama's theater company in Tokyo, where she also acted in films. Her journalism career began when she was asked to write about Terayama for The Drama Review. She became a regular contributor to the Christian Science Monitor after writing an article about Marketta Kimbrell's Theater For The Forgotten, with which she was performing at the time. She was an O'Neill Theater Center National Critics' Institute Fellow, and then became the institute's Coordinator. While teaching at the Universities of Wisconsin and Rhode Island, she wrote "A Directory of Festivals of Theater, Dance and Folklore Around the World," published by the International Theater Institute. Denmark's Odin Teatret's director, Eugenio Barba, wrote his manifesto in the form of a letter to "Dear Jennifer Merin," which has been published around the world, in languages as diverse as Farsi and Romanian. Jennifer's culturally-oriented travel column began in the LA Times in 1984, then moved to The Associated Press, LA Times Syndicate, Tribune Media, Creators Syndicate and (currently) Arcamax Publishing. She's been news writer/editor for ABC Radio Networks, on-air reporter for NBC, CBS Radio and, currently, for Westwood One's America In the Morning. She is a member of the Critics Choice Association in the Film, Documentary and TV branches and a voting member of the Black Reel Awards. For her AWFJ archive, type "Jennifer Merin" in the Search Box (upper right corner of screen).