Opening June 17 – 23, 2024 – 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 AWFJ.org 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 June 17 – 23 that are of particular interest. Titles highlighted in red have links to full reviews: 

Tuesday, June 18

  • Animalia – Dark Star Pictures – France / Morocco / Qatar – Drama co-written and directed by Sofia Alaoui. As she nears the end of her pregnancy, Itto and her in-laws find their lives turned upside down by a supernatural event.
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  • Here to Climb – HBO (Max) – USA – Documentary co-directed by Ricki Stern and Anne Sundberg. Professional climber Sasha DiGiulian rises from child prodigy to a champion sport climber, as she ultimately makes her mark by taking her talents to the biggest walls on the planet with a series of bold, first female ascents.
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  • Power of the Dream – Amazon (Prime) – USA – Documentary directed by Dawn Porter. The WNBA’s journey from underestimation to activism, fighting for equal rights, fair compensation, and social justice, ultimately impacting U.S. politics.

Wednesday, June 19

  • Black Barbie – Netflix – USA – Documentary written and directed by Lagueria Davis. Tracing the origin of the first Black Barbie doll to the filmmaker’s aunt, who asked why Barbie couldn’t look like her, this documentary explores her quest for representation and diversity.

Friday, June 21

  • Bread and Roses – Apple TV+ – USA – Documentary directed by Sahra Mani. Capturing the experiences of Afghanistan women under the Taliban since they took control of Kabul.
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  • Chestnut – Utopia (Cinemas) – USA – Drama written and directed by Jac Cron. A recent graduate becomes entangled in a relationship with a man and a woman during her summer after college.
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  • Copa 71 – Greenwich Entertainment (Cinemas, VOD) – UK – Documentary co-directed by James Erskine and Rachel Ramsay. Told by the pioneering women who participated, this is the extraordinary story of the 1971 Women’s Soccer World Cup, a tournament witnessed by record crowds that has been written out of sporting history – until now.
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  • Fancy Dance – Apple TV+ (Cinemas) – USA – Drama co-written and directed by Erica Tremblay. Following her sister’s disappearance, a Native American hustler kidnaps her niece from the child’s white grandparents and sets out for the state powwow in hopes of keeping what is left of their family intact.
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  • Green Border – Kino Lorber (Cinemas) – international co-production – Drama co-written and directed by Agnieszka Holland. A family of refugees from Syria, an English teacher from Afghanistan and a border guard all meet on the Polish-Belarusian border during the most recent humanitarian crisis in Belarus.
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  • Humanist Vampire Seeking Consenting Suicidal Person – Drafthouse Films (Cinemas) – Canada – Dramedy co-written and directed by Ariane Louis-Seize. A young woman vampire is unable to kill to meet her need for blood, but may have found a solution in a young man with suicidal tendencies.
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  • Hummingbirds – Extra Terrestrial – USA – Documentary starring Silvia Del Carmen Castaños and Estefanía Contreras. Two filmmakers find healing in their everyday joyful antics on the streets of Laredo, Texas.
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  • Janet Planet – A24 (Cinemas) – USA – Drama written and directed by Annie Baker. In rural Western Massachusetts, 11-year-old Lacy spends the summer of 1991 at home, enthralled by her own imagination and the attention of her mother, Janet. As the months pass, three visitors enter their orbit, all captivated by Janet.
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  • She Rises Up – Abramorama (Cinemas) – USA – Documentary directed by Maureen Castle Tusty. Following the struggles of three resilient women determined to battle poverty by establishing and sustaining local businesses, thereby empowering their communities.
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  • Thelma – Magnolia Pictures (Cinemas) – Switzerland / USA – Comedy starring June Squibb. When 93-year-old Thelma Post gets duped by a phone scammer pretending to be her grandson, she sets out on a treacherous quest across the city to reclaim what was taken from her.
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  • Trigger Warning – Netflix – USA – Action film directed by Mouly Surya. A skilled Special Forces commando (Jessica Alba) takes ownership of her father’s bar after he suddenly dies, and soon finds herself at odds with a violent gang running rampant in her hometown.

Film descriptions are adapted from press releases. Stay tuned in for next week’s releases! Contact us if we’ve overlooked anything.

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