SPOTLIGHT January 2019: Karyn Kusama, Feminist Filmmaker, DESTROYER

A vocal advocate for women filmmakers, Kusama has consistently spoken passionately about the importance of diversity in the film industry. The success of Destroyer will no doubt continue to raise the visibility of the platform from which Kusama speaks, not only as an artist, but as a woman whose voice has been stifled so many times by a male-dominated industry who in the past have been so shamefully dismissive of the important things she has to tell us and of her extraordinarily skillful and creative way of telling them.

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Aislinn Clarke on Found Footage, Belfast and THE DEVIL’S DOORWAY – Alexandra Heller-Nicholas interviews (Exclusive)

Released in the United States through IFC Films in mid-2018, Aislinn Clarke’s feature film debut The Devil’s Doorway is an extraordinary accomplishment for a number of reasons. The first feature-length horror movie directed by a woman in Northern Ireland, it is also one of the very rare feature-length found footage horror films directed by a woman.

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BETWEEN WORLDS – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

With critics and audiences barely able to catch their breath after Mandy – the intoxicating delight that was Panos Cosmatos’s spectacular exercise in woman-centred world-building – Maria Pulera’s Between Worlds has shown that when it comes to the oft-cited Nicolas Cage renaissance, the actor has only just begun.

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LEVEL 16 – Review by Alexander Heller-Nicholas

Level 16 is a YA film that never patronizes its audience, whatever their age. Its teen characters are complex and convincingly written and performed, and at its heart lies a friendship that has solidified in a context deliberately designed to forbid such relationships forming. Level 16 is an engaging, earnest and thrilling feminist fairy tale that both consciously riffs on earlier films and yet maintains an original vision without becoming clichéd or predictable.

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SPOTLIGHT November 2018: Catherine Hardwicke, Blockbuster Indie Filmmaker and Activist

This year marks a number of significant anniversaries for filmmaker Catherine Hardwicke, one of the most well-known and hardworking women directors in the business. 2018 marks both the 15th anniversary of the release of her debut film Thirteen and – in November – the 10th anniversary of one of the hugely successful supernatural romance blockbuster Twilight, granting a perfect reason to focus on Hardwicke’s career more broadly as this month’s Spotlight.

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Sarah Jacobson: American Genre Film Archive Retrospective at Austin’s Fantastic Fest – Alexandra Heller-Nicholas reports

Declaring herself as nothing less than “the queen of underground film” and having learnt the craft through revered underground filmmaker George Kuchar, Jacobson’s well-earned legacy as one of the most vital and original filmmakers of the late 20th century had until recently been hidden from view, This retrospective illuminates her work for cinephiles hungry genuine punk- feminist cinema.

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TIFF18 Review: DIAMANTINO – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

With its North American premiere at the Midnight Madness program of this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, there is little that can prepare you for the unique, twisted majesty of queer Portuguese film Diamantino. Co-directed by Gabriel Abrantes and Daniel Schmidt, this is an unapologetic carnival of bad taste all but destined for cult film longevity.

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TIFF16 Review: RETROSPEKT — Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

With its world premiere at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival, Dutch filmmaker Esther Rots’ sophomore feature Retrospekt is an extraordinary accomplishment and one of the standouts of this year’s Contemporary World Cinema programe. The film begins humbly enough and – based on the plot synopsis alone – indicates at first what might be a relatively pedestrian drama about a domestic violence counsellor

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