OPENING October 3 to 9 – Margaret Barton-Fumo reports

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The Alliance of Women Film Journalists highlights movies made by and about women. With a vigilant eye toward current releases, we maintain an interactive record of films that are pertinent to our interests. Be they female-made or female-centric productions, they are films that represent a wide range of women’s stories and present complex female characters. As such, they are movies that will most likely be reviewed on and will qualify for consideration for our annual EDA Awards, celebrating exceptional women working in film behind and in front of the camera. Our members are feature writers, columnists and regular contributors to a variety of media outlets and many of us publish regularly on the festival circuit. Our critical voices are widespread and diverse. We invite you to join us in tracking weekly releases of particular interest. And we welcome information about new films that will help us to keep our records updated and our critics alert. Below is a concise list of new releases set for the week of October 3 to 9 that are of particular interest, Titles highlighted in red have links to full reviews:

Tuesday, October 4

  • Acid Test – Giant Pictures (VOD) – USA – Drama written and directed by Jennifer Waldo. A coming-of-age rebellion story fueled by Riot Grrrl music, a dysfunctional family, and LSD. Set in 1992 and based on true events that follow a Latina teen’s tumble through self-discovery into adulthood.

  • Sextortion: The Hidden Pandemic – 1091 Pictures (VOD) – USA – Documentary directed by Maria Demeshkina Peek. An insider look into one of the largest sextortion cases investigated by Homeland Security and DOJ on American soil, as various experts, parents and victims sound the alarm on the fastest growing cyber crime against children ever.

Wednesday, October 5

  • Jumping from High Places – Netflix – Italy – Dramedy written by Alice Urciuolo. To honor her best friend’s last wish, a young woman with severe anxiety confronts her greatest fears to try and reclaim her life — and perhaps find love.

Thursday, October 6

  • Deadstream – Shudder – USA – Horror-comedy co-written, directed and edited by Joseph and Vanessa Winter. A disgraced internet personality attempts to win back his followers by livestreaming one night alone in a haunted house. But when he accidentally pisses off a vengeful spirit, his big comeback event becomes a real-time fight for his life.

Friday, October 7

  • Battleground – Abramorama (Cinemas; VOD Release October 14) – USA – Documentary directed by Cynthia Lowen, co-written by Lowen and Nancy Novack. Three women lead the charge in their single-minded quest to overturn Roe v. Wade, as they face down forces equally determined to safeguard women’s access to safe and legal abortions.

  • Free Chol Soo Lee – Mubi – USA – Documentary directed by Julie Ha and Eugene Yi. In 1970s San Francisco, Korean immigrant Chol Soo Lee is wrongly convicted of a Chinatown gang murder. After spending years fighting to survive, journalist K.W. Lee takes an interest in his case, igniting an unprecedented social movement.

  • Last Flight Home – MTV Documentary Films (Cinemas) – USA – Documentary written, directed and edited by Ondi Timoner. In his final days, we discover Eli Timoner and an extraordinary life of wild achievements, tragic loss and most of all, enduring love. A stunning verité account of a courageous family confronting life and death.

  • Luckiest Girl Alive – Netflix – USA – Thriller based on the novel (and screenplay) by Jessica Knoll. A woman in New York, who seems to have things under control, is faced with a trauma that makes her life unravel. Starring Mila Kunis.

  • Piggy – Magnet (Cinemas; Wide Release + VOD October 14) – Spain – Horror film written and directed by Carlota Pereda. An overweight teen is bullied by a clique of cool girls poolside while holidaying in her village. The long walk home will change the rest of her life.

  • Pretty Problems – IFC Films (Cinemas, VOD) – USA – Dramedy directed by Kestrin Pantera. Jack and Lindsay are invited on a getaway trip with affluent strangers: down the rabbit hole, and into the most unhinged weekend of their lives. Can their relationship survive?

  • Stay the Night – Freestyle Digital Media (Cinemas) – Canada – Drama written and directed by Renuka Jeyapalan. A failed work opportunity prompts chronically single Grace to pursue a one night stand with a stranger. Turns out he’s an on-the-outs professional athlete in town with a problem of his own. Maybe they can help each other.

  • TÁR – Focus Features (Cinemas) – USA – Drama written and directed by Todd Field, starring Cate Blanchett. Set in the international world of classical music, the film centers on Lydia Tár, widely considered one of the greatest living composer / conductors and first-ever female chief conductor of a major German orchestra.

  • To Leslie – Momentum Pictures (Cinemas) – USA – Drama starring Andrea Riseborough. Inspired by true events. A West Texas single mother wins the lottery and squanders it just as fast, leaving behind a world of heartbreak. Years later, with her charm running out and nowhere to go, she fights to rebuild her life and find redemption.

Film descriptions are adapted from press releases. Stay tuned in for next week’s releases! Contact us if we’ve overlooked anything. Titles highlighted in red have links to full reviews:

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Margaret Barton-Fumo

Based in New York, Margaret Barton-Fumo has contributed to Film Comment since 2006. Her monthly online column, “Deep Cuts,” focused on the intersection of film and music. She has interviewed such directors, actors, and musicians as Brian De Palma, James Gray, Harry Dean Stanton, and Paul Williams, and has additionally contributed to Senses of Cinema and Stop Smiling. She is the editor of Paul Verhoeven: Interviews, published by the University Press of Mississippi.