2017/2018 Key Dates
#Oscars2018 Foreign-Language Film: Today, September 25, submission from Singapore.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

#Oscars2016 Foreign-Language Submissions - Female Directors


From the 81 countries that submitted a film to the foreign-language category thirteen (13) have a movie directed or co-directed by a female director, which roughly gives a 18.5% female representation and continues to under-represent women in cinema industry events.

The figure is slightly modified when we consider films directed by only one director and exclude the anthologies or omnibus films, as there are eight (8) films directed by one person and the person is a woman. Then there are three (3) films directed by two directors and one of them is a woman. Which leaves two films that are a collection of short films and have to admit my surprise when found that out the seven (7) director that directed a short in Lebanon's entry, three (3) are female; Singapore's entry has the more usual relationship when only one (1) out of seven (7) shorts was directed by a woman.

So, actually there are fifteen (15) female directors in this year's Oscars foreign-language submissions which I believe is kind of a record, but still is quite low when we see the percentage.  Out of the fifteen female directors, seven (7) are European (for this purpose I consider Turkey as Europe), five (5) come from Asian countries and three (3) from Latin American countries.

When AMPAS published the list with the 81 movies that were accepted, one country was missing:  Panama.  Was not able to find the reason why film was not in final list but suspect has something to do with too-much English; still, it is a shame as Caja 25 (Box 25) was directed by two female directors which definitively would have increase the number of women representation in this year's edition.

Enough with the always not-so-positive numbers and let's do something different with this info. Let's meet the fifteen female directors. We will keep the alphabetical order from original post and will include the name of the male director(s) when applicable.

These are the films directed or co-directed by women and if you wish to check the 81 submission you can always go to the original post here.

Albania: Bota by Iris Elezi and Thomas Logoreci

Iris Elezi
Albanian born Iris Elezi studied film theory and criticism, anthropology and women's studies before completing her film production studies at New York University in 2001. Her editing and directing skills on the award-winning six-part documentary series Under Construction (2007) resulted in the Amnesty International's Films That Matter selection for the episode Disposable Heroes.
Her feature debut, Bota (2014), premiered at the Karlovy Vary film festival and won the Fedeora critics award. Bota also triumphed in the Reykjavik IFF, winning both the Fipresci and the Audience Award. Iris Elezi lives and works in Albania's capital, Tirana. where she teaches film history and analysis.
Together with archivist Regina Longo and partner, Thomas Logoreci, they co-founded The Albanian Cinema Project, an initiative that aims at restoring and raising awareness about the endangered Albanian National Film Archive. She also conducted a 90 minute masterclass with Francis Ford Coppola during Durres International Summerfest 2011 and weekly masterclasses during Dokufest 2011 with Mohsen Makhmalbaf and James Longley among others.

Austria: Ich seh, ich seh (Goodnight Mommy) by Severin Fiala and Veronika Franz

Veronika Franz
Was born in Vienna in 1965. A screenwriter-director, she also writes about films. Former film journalist, former assistant director, former casting director, former philosophy student, former saleswoman.

She has been co-scriptwriter and artistic collaborator on all of Ulrich Seidl's films since "The Bosom Friend" (Der Busenfreund, 1997). Ulrich Seidl is her husband. Has done a couple of films with Severin Fiala, 2012 documentary Kern and 2013 short film Dreh & Trink.

Goodnight Mommy is her feature film directorial debut that was screened at 2014 Venice Orizzonti.

Bosnia and Herzegovina: Naša svakodnevna priča (Our Everyday Life) by Ines Tanović

Ines Tanović
Born in Sarajevo. Graduated from the Academy of Performing Arts in Sarajevo, department of dramaturgy. Member of the Association of film workers of B&H since 1988. Has written scripts and directed mainly short films; she has collected multiple honors during her career and here are some examples.
Was at 2006 Berlinale Talent Campus and her project Decision was selected in Berlin Today Award 2011. Directed the Bosnian part of the long feature omnibus Some Other Stories. The Film has been invited on more than 40 world festivals and won six international prizes. In 2004, she was given a Hubert Ball Fund award for the script Entanglement. For her project Our Everyday Life which was part of CineLink market at the Sarajevo Film Festival in 2010, she was awarded the International Relations Arte Prize.

Brazil: Que Horas Ela Volta? (The Second Mother) by Anna Muylaert

Anna Muylaert
Born in Sao Paulo on April 21, 1964. She is a screenwriter plus television and film director. Studied filmmaking at the School of Communications and Arts at University of São Paulo (USP) from 1980 to 1984. She became a film critic for IstoÉ and O Estado de S. Paulo and in 1988 she joined the staff of Rede Gazeta's program TV Mix. In 1999, she worked as an editor and reporter on TV Cultura's Matéria-Prima. She also wrote scripts on another Cultura programs, Mundo da Lua (1991–92) and Castelo Rá-Tim-Bum (1994–97).
Muylaert directed several short films— the most notable being A Origem dos Bebês Segundo Kiki Cavalcanti (1995) which won awards at Rio Cine e Cine Ceará. Her first feature film, Durval Discos (2002)  won seven awards out of fourteen nominations at Festival de Gramado, including Best Director and Best Film. Seven years later she released her second film, É Proibido Fumar, which won eight awards at Festival de Brasília, including Best Screenplay and Best Film.  Afterwards she directed some TV episodes and one movie; but her fourth film, The Second Mother, gave her international recognition when was at 2015 Sundance and Berlinale Panorama  in which the film got the Audience Award.
Worth mentioning is that in the 30 years that Brazil has send a movie to the Oscars, this is the very first time that sends a movie by a female director.

Cambodia: ដុំហ្វីលចុងក្រោយ The Last Reel, Kulikar Sotho

Kulikar Sotho
Born in 1973, Kulikar grew up during the Khmer Rouge regime, and the subsequent turmoil and civil war. She is a Producer on the award-winning ‘Ruin’, which won the special Orizzonti prize at the Bienniale Venice Film Festival.

Also is one of the most experienced Line Producers in Cambodia and worked on feature films ‘Tomb Raider’ and ‘Wish You Were Here’. Worked on countless television documentaries for BBC, Discovery and other leading channels, plus several globally important commercials..

The Last Reel is her feature film directorial debut .

Dominican Republic: Dólares de Arena (Sand Dollars), Israel Cárdenas and Laura Amelia Guzmán

Laura Amelia Guzmán
Scriptwriter, producer and director Laura Amelia Guzmán was born on May 7th, 1980 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Graduated from Altos de Chavón School of Design where she studied fien arts and photography. After several photography shows she attended the International Film School in Cuba, specializing in cinematography. She lives and works between Mexico and Dominican Republic. Together with her husband Israel Cárdenas she directs the film production company Aurora Dominicana.

They share script, photography, production and direction credits on their first and second feature films Cochochi and Jean Gentil, both of which premiered at Venice Film Festival and have won multiple awards. Their other works are Carmita (2013) and Sand Dollars (2014).

France: Mustang, Deniz Gamze Ergüven

Deniz Gamze Ergüven
Can't help but to start by saying that I was hoping this film to be Turkey's entry and yes, was a big pleasant surprise when film became France's submission. Great.

Born in Ankara, Turkey in 1978. The daughter of a Turkish diplomat grows between Paris and Ankara; now lives in Istambul. She studied Filmmaking at La Fémis in Paris, and Literature and African History in Johannesburg.

Her graduation film, 'Bir Damla Su’, was selected for numerous festivals, including the Festival de Cannes Cinéfondation, and won an award at Locarno. She has developed two feature films: ‘Mustang’, co-written with Alice Winocour, and Kings, winner of Emergence in 2011, and which participated in the Cinéfondation Workshop in 2011 and the Sundance Screenwriter's Lab in 2012. Her acting credits include the role of Denise in great Augustine by Alice Winocour.

Mustang was screened at 2015 Cannes Director's Fortnight where won the Europa Cinemas Label as best European Film in the parallel section; during his voyage into the festival circuit already has collected the Heart of Sarajevo given to the Best Film in the 2015 Sarajevo fest. Also film is one of the three finalists for prestigious Lux Award and don't doubt that will get honors at 2016 César Awards.

Lebanon: وينن Waynon (Void), Tarek Korkomaz, Zeina Makki, Jad Beyrouthy, Christelle Ighniades, Salim Habr, Maria Abdel Karim, and Naji Bechara.

Zeina Makki
Zeina Makki is a Lebanese filmmaker and actress born and raised in Kuwait. In 2008, she moved to Lebanon and pursued a bachelor degree in Mass Communication Arts/Radio and Television at Notre Dame University specializing in directing and script writing. In May 2012, her short documentary "Bent not Broken" won the Best Short Documentary Award in the Monaco film festival.

After participating in numerous student films as an actress, Zeina went on to concentrate on her acting career. Her breakthrough role came in September of 2013 where she played the titular role in Lebanese feature film "Habbet Loulou" and then shortly after followed up with "Neswen" in February 2014.

Christelle Ighniades
Born 1990 in Lebanon. Received her bachelor’s degree from the Notre Dame University–Louaize in communication arts with a specialization in radio, TV and film. In 2011, her documentary film “و غنية لعبة ” (A game and a Song) was screened at the NDU film festival, where it was awarded for its humane essence. She has also volunteered in several graduating short films as an Art Director. This helped her getting into the professional field, thus, granting her the opportunity to be the Art Director/Lead Scenic Artist in a high-budget animated teaser trailer for a European Feature Film. In 2012, she presented her first graduating narrative short film called “Tu Sens Ce Vent” which would represent NDU in festivals to come, till now it has participated in the NDUFF, FICMEC (5eme Festival du court métrage des écoles du cinema “IESAV”), MCFF (Monaco Charity film festival) and had the chance to participate in the Grand Cinemas and won a certificate of distinction at the 6th NDU film festival. Her current goal is to pursue a Master's degree in Art Direction.

Maria Abdel Karim
Born on February 23, 1990 in the South of Lebanon. Got her school degree from Notre Dame De Louaize, and her University degree BA In Communication Arts Radio/TV in 2012 from Notre Dame University-Louaize. Graduated with High Distinction. Finished working on her first short film of a musical genre A Tempo: The 3rd Act in July 2012. She choose her first film to be a musical because it is very risky and hard to produce and direct, and a big part of her love taking risks, because it’s the only way to learn and progress and develop experience. Her short film got accepted and selected in many international film festivals; Dubai International film festival, The European Independent film festival , won an award “The Ahmad Khoder Award of Excellency in Arab Filmmaking”, and finally the MashRome Film Festival In Rome. It got screened in various film festivals in Lebanon.  Now a freelance filmmaker in Lebanon working on other short films and independent projects in the market, and writing as well her first feature film, which will also be produced in the future coming years.

Lithuania: Sangailės vasara (The Summer of Sangaile), Alantė Kavaitė

Alantė Kavaitė
Born on April 9, 1973 in Vilnius, Lithuania. She first worked as an actor and played the leading role in 1992 Jazz by Raimundas Banionis. She subsequently emigrated to France and studied at the École Supérieure d’Arts in Avignon and later, specializing in photography and video, the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris.

She made her directing debut in 2006 with Ecoute le Temps (Fissures), for which she also wrote the screenplay. She currently lives and works in France.

The Summer of Sangaile was premiered at 2015 Sundance Film Festival where won the Best Director Award.  In February 2015 the film was screened at Berlinale Panorama and went to collect more honors in the festival circuit.

Montenegro: Ti mene nosiš (You Carry Me), Ivona Juka

Ivona Juka
Born in 1976. She earned a degree in film directing at the Academy of Dramatic Art in Zagreb and is a Croatian creator of the acclaimed short movies Garbage (Smeće, 2003) and Editing (2006 – selected for the official competitions of several US festivals). She was one of the five European students chosen to make a short film to be presented at the EFA awards ceremony in Berlin; she also took part in the “Cinema Tomorrow” conference in Warsaw organized by the EFA. Her short film View from a Well (Pogled iz bunara, 2010) took Best Film and Best Director at the American International Film Festival. The feature-length, writer-director documentary Facing the Day (Što sa sobom preko dana, 2006) became Croatia’s most awarded documentary; it received awards at the goEast festival in Wiesbaden, at Sarajevo, and at many other fests. Beyond its festival successes, it proved a winner in domestic distribution as well.

You Carry Me is Juka's debut feature film which premiered at 2015 Karlovy Vary and collected many honors while traveling the festival circuit.

Paraguay: El Tiempo Nublado (Cloudy Times), Arami Ullón

Arami Ullón
Born in Asunción, Paraguay, in 1978, during the long and harsh dictatorship of Alfredo Stroessner. As a director she has done two independent short films: Ausencia de un nombre propio (Paraguay, 1998), and Beckon (Paraguay, 2000). She also directed theatre A bizarre matter of love (Paraguay, 2000). As an author, Arami published About abuse and other relatives, a book containing short stories which main theme is gender abuse.
She was awarded a scholarship to the Boston Film and Video Foundation, where she studied hands-on filmmaking (US, 2000/2001). Her experience in production includes: music videos, TV programs and commercials for Latin American and European production companies. She was part of the production team for international feature films such as El toque del Oboe (Paraguay – Brazil, 1997), Miami Vice (US, 2006). Ullón is the producer of 18 cigarrillos y medio (Paraguay – Mexico – Spain, 2011).
After producing for Palma Pictures (Spain) she just finished her directing debut feature documentary, El Tiempo Nublado (Switzerland – Paraguay).  Currently lives and works between Basel, Switzerland and Asucion, Paraguay.

Is the first time ever that Paraguay sends a movie to the Oscars and most remarkable is that is a documentary and a film directed by a woman filmmaker.

Singapore: 7 Letters, Royston Tan, Kelvin Tong, Eric Khoo, Jack Neo, Tan Pin Pin, Boo Junfeng, and K. Rajagopal

Tan Pin Pin
Born in 1969 in Singapore. Educated at Raffles Girls' Secondary School and Victoria Junior College, Tan was a Loke Cheng Kim scholar. She received her first degree in law from Oxford University, graduating with an M.A. in England, UK. In her first year at Oxford, she came across photography books, including Robert Frank’s The Americans (1958) and August Sander’s Citizens of the Twentieth Century (1986), and started taking photographs. After graduation in 1991, she traveled to China with her camera.
Started working as an assistant director in TV dramas and sitcoms before she won an S. Rajaratnam scholarship to study film production at Northwestern University where she got a MFA . While at Northwestern she won the Kodak Eastman Scholarship for Cinematography. Pin Pin is a co-founding member of filmcommunitysg, a community of independent filmmakers.  Her filmography includes 12 credits as a director of mainly short films and documentaries, most notable is 2013 documentary To Singapore, with Love that was banned in Singapore.

Her short film Pineapple Town is one of the seven shorts in the 7 Letters anthology.

Slovenia: Drevo (The Tree), Sonja Prosenc

Sonja Prosenc
She has a diploma in Journalism and Cultural Science at University in Ljubljana with a thesis “Dionysian Postmodern Culture” and a film as a case study. She continued her Master’s studies in Communications at the same university. As a student she worked as editor of a student magazine and published culture articles in major Slovenian newspapers and magazines.

After a music video that she directed was selected as the best video at a national television program and her short film was screened at international festivals, she attended the Berlinale and Sarajevo Talent Campuses, co-founded the Monoo production house and was selected to participate in the prestigious 9-month Torino Film Lab.

After a short film Morning and a documentary Man with a Raven she has made her directorial debut with full feature film The Tree that premiered in East of the West section of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.

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