Updated: Mar 9
International Women's Day resonates strongly with Exit 6, not just because we have some fantastic women working on the team, but as a reminder of how important it is to champion female filmmakers and the incredible work that they do.
Today represents not only a sign of the progress that has been made, but as a timely reminder that a lot of work remains ahead to balance the playing field. Whilst Exit 6 submissions will always be judged on merit, that doesn't change the fact that we will strive for as much female representation as possible, whether it be in the film selection, the team itself or indeed our judging panel.
In an effort to highlight and showcase some female talent, our team have chosen some their favourite female film directors...
Chloe Zhao. Chosen by Paul Anderson, Festival Director.
"Chloe Zhao is one of the most talented directors working today. A master of understatement, delivering emotional stories coupled with stunning naturally lit visuals (and yes, I'm one of the few people out that really like Eternals!)"
Nora Ephron. Chosen by Stacy Hart, Festival Showrunner.
"I grew up with her in a time where there were even fewer female directors than there are now and she was a f**king trailblazer with an epic body of all kinds of film work, as well as directing."
Samira Makhmalbaf. Chosen by Pete Wall, Submissions Director.
"I'd love a mention for Samira Makhmalbaf and her extraordinary film The Apple (1998). Samira began work on the film as a seventeen-year-old (!). It tells the story of two sisters who are strictly prohibited from leaving their backyard and have no experience of the world beyond its high walls. One day they venture out, and the result is a study into childhood curiosity, freedom and wonder. It blew me away the first time I saw it and at that point I had no idea that the director was so young."
Lynn Shelton (1965 - 2020). Chosen by Kristen Brookman, Marketing & Social Media.
"Lynn Shelton has been an idol of mine since watching Laggies when I was young. She encapsulates an element of life and humanity that is so difficult to portray on film. Most noteably, she directed in a way where you can see she created an environment that allows the actors to roam free and explore, creating some of the most human performances I've ever seen - across all of her work. I will forever look up to her as a director for the way she worked on set, her tenacity and drive for indie filmmaking and its makers, and her beautiful, human films."
Greta Gerwig. Chosen by Kate Chedciala, Content Producer.
"I thought Little Women was a great adaptation of the book and felt very relevant and fresh."
Satisfaction (1988) & Thirteen (2003)
Chosen by Serena Lee, Event Coordinator
"Years ago I used to watch a little known film called Satisfaction about a girl band who go to the beach for the summer to play resident at a club. I recently discovered that is was directed by Joan Freeman, a now retired actor. The lead is Justine Bateman, who was well known for TV at the time, and of the 5 main supporting cast, 3 are women (including Julia Roberts “playing” bass). It is a ridiculous film that received terrible reviews but I loved it for some reason. The cast are absolute caricatures of type and there is a lot of unnecessary romance (I mean it’s 1988), but I saw it as a silly fun film with female friendship at its heart. Added bonus? Debbie Harry has a small but very Debbie Harry role."
Note: Check out our very own interview with Justine Bateman!
"I also keep coming back to Thirteen, written by Catherine Hardwicke and Nikki Reed, loosely based on the latters' life and I think she was about 15 at the time. It has a majority female (and talented) cast, difficult and provocative subject matter, and passes the Bechdel test."
"Each of these have stayed with me (in very different ways) since I first saw them."
Lynne Ramsay. Chosen by Charlie Pergusey, Social Media.
On Ratcatcher (1999)
"A film for the senses, you can almost smell the stench of rubbish bags piling up on the streets. I love how Ramsay captures the beauty and gloom in the mundaneness of growing up, especially in a poverty stricken area. It clearly comes from a very personal place, inspired by Ramsay's time growing up in Glasgow, everything feels genuine and lacks any kind of clean filter. As it's told from a kids perspective, she is able to seamlessly blend a child's fantastical view of the world with social realism. The slow push in shot of young James diving from the kitchen window of an empty house into a wheat field has become one of my all time favourites. A beautiful debut film that resonated with me a lot and made me a fan of Lynne Ramsay"