Leena Pendharkar - News Poster

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movies by or about women opening Us/Can from Fri Apr 13

wide

Truth or Dare [my review]

Lucy Hale, Violett Beane, and Sophia Taylor Ali costar in this horror movie about a college drinking game that goes wrong. Cowritten by Jillian Jacobs. (male director)

Rampage [my review]

Naomie Harris, Malin Akerman, and Marley Shelton costar in this sci-fi action movie about genetically engineered monsters. (male writers and director)

limited

Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami [IMDb]

Sophie Fiennes directs this documentary about the performance artist.

The Judge [IMDb]

Erika Cohn directs this documentary about a female adjudicator in the Middle East.

20 Weeks [IMDb]

Leena Pendharkar writes and directs this drama about a couple facing a difficult pregnancy. Costarring Anna Margaret Hollyman, Jocelin Donahue, and Michelle Krusiec.

The Rider [IMDb]

Chloé Zhao writes and directs this drama about a (male) rodeo rider recovering from a traumatic brain injury.

Zama [IMDb]

Lucrecia Martel writes and directs this historical drama about a (male) Spanish officer in 17th-century South America.

Nana [IMDb] pictured

Serena Dykman
See full article at FlickFilosopher »

Trailer Watch: An Expectant Couple Faces a Difficult Decision in Leena Pendharkar’s “20 Weeks”

20 Weeks

Most of the conversations surrounding abortion assume that women seek the medical procedure only when their pregnancies are unplanned. Leena Pendharkar’s new film, “20 Weeks,” focuses on another reproductive rights narrative: one that is too often ignored by the media and lawmakers alike.

20 Weeks” centers on Maya (Anna Margaret Hollyman) and Ronan (Amir Arison), a happy couple expecting their first baby. As the film’s trailer shows, they’re excited at Maya’s 20-week ultrasound. That is until their doctor notices something during the scan. “I’m sorry to have to tell you guys this,” the physician says. We don’t know what she tells Maya and Ronan, but it is clearly bad news.

Maya and Ronan realize that they will have to make a difficult decision. There’s an issue with the baby — something that will threaten its quality of life once it’s born.
See full article at Women and Hollywood »

Five Things You Didn’t Know about Leena Pendharkar

Leena Pendharkar is a rather impressive woman but you might not know who she is since she’s behind the scenes the majority of the time and exercising her genius in one story after another as she brings her ideas to the screen. That seems to be where she wants to be however as it’s where she gets to work her magic and create interesting and invigorating tales that manage to capture the attention of her target audiences quite easily. Some people have the gift when it comes to writing stories that make people believe in them, and she’s definitely one

Five Things You Didn’t Know about Leena Pendharkar
See full article at TVovermind.com »

Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Telling being adapted for the big screen

THR is reporting that writer-director Leena Pendharkar (20 Weeks, Raspberry Magic) is working on an adaptation of the late author Ursula K. Le Guin’s acclaimed sci-fi novel The Telling, which has Rekha Sharma (Battlestar Galactica, Star Trek: Discovery) set to star. Le Guin had been working with Pendharkar on the project before her passing this past January.

“I’m honored to bring the work of one of science fiction’s most esteemed writers to the screen especially in these times when strong female voices are needed,” said Pendharkar. “The Telling is a humanistic science fiction film about a woman trying to find her way in a culture overrun by technology.”

“I’ve been a fan of Ursula K. Le Guin’s science fiction and fantasy for many years,” added producer Rizwan Virk of Bayview Films. “Our team had been working on the script for The Telling with her over the past few years,
See full article at Flickeringmyth »

Film Adaptation of Ursula K. Le Guin’s “The Telling” On the Way, Leena Pendharkar to Write & Direct

Pendharkar: indianfilmfestival/YouTube

Ursula K. Le Guin fans are still mourning the loss of the iconic sci-fi writer, but just over month after her death comes word that an adaptation of “The Telling” is in the works. The Hollywood Reporter confirms that “20 Weeks” filmmaker Leena Pendharkar will write and direct the film.

Published in 2000, the novel follows Sutty Dass, “who travels from war-torn earth to the planet Aka, which has suppressed its rich culture in the march to technological advancement,” THR writes. “While traveling, Sutty discovers the remnants of a banned religion and a hidden culture. As she moves deeper into the countryside and the desolate mountains, she learns more about the Telling — the old faith of the Akans — and more about herself.”

Rekha Sharma (“The 100,” “Battlestar Galatica”) will play Sutty in the Bayview Films title. Production is scheduled to kick off later this year with a theatrical release
See full article at Women and Hollywood »

Paris When It Sizzles: Us in Progress

Paris When It Sizzles: Us in Progress
The heart of Paris beats for film industry in June. Industry Week is the professional part of the Champs-Elysées Film Festival.

The submissions for Us in Progress are now open till August 15th here.

This label includes the Us in Progress (USiP) and Les Arc Film Fesstival’s team presenting the Paris Coproduction Village and La Residence de la Cinefondation which welcomes a dozen young directors who come to Paris to work on their first or second fiction feature project for 4 and 1/2 months. All together, they offer 24 film projects at different stages, from development to post production. More than 200 professionals from the industry, producers, international sellers, distributors, etc. are welcomed.

This year Us in Progress broke out. It has become a top event for discovering American independent cinema not only for the Europeans invited to attend, but for Americans who find themselves in Paris for the event or who even
See full article at SydneysBuzz »

Laff 2017 Women Directors: Meet Leena Pendharkar — “20 Weeks”

“20 Weeks”

Leena Pendharkar is an award-winning writer and director working in film, television, and new media. Her first feature film, “Raspberry Magic,” about a young girl’s connection to nature, screened in 25 film festivals. She recently wrote and directed the short film “Dandekar Makes a Sandwich,” which won the Grand Jury Prize for short filmmaking at the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles.

“20 Weeks” will premiere at the 2017 La Film Festival on June 19.

W&H: Describe the film for us in your own words.

LP: “20 Weeks” is an intimate drama about a couple who goes in for a routine scan during their pregnancy, and learns that the baby has a possible serious health condition. The film takes us through the ups, downs, highs, and lows as they navigate how they are going to handle the outcomes of this difficult situation. They are madly in love at the start of their relationship, but this situation causes them to face some very challenging realities.

W&H: What drew you to this story?

LP: I wanted to tell this story because this happened to me and my husband. At our 20-week scan, our daughter was diagnosed with a serious health complication. We didn’t tell anyone, even our families, that we were going through this, because it was just so hard to talk about and it felt like no one could really understand.

I think pregnancy and child birth are so complicated for women and men in this modern age, and I wanted to tell a story that could reach people and even start a conversation. This seems to be even more relevant under the current administration where women’s rights are being trampled on everyday.

W&H: What do you want people to think about when they are leaving the theater?

LP: I want them to watch the film and tell me what they think!

W&H: What was the biggest challenge in making the film?

LP: Making a low-budget movie is challenging at every juncture. There is never enough resources or enough time to do everything you want to. We were very resourceful in finding what we needed, but it wasn’t easy. Filming around Los Angeles on a tiny budget is no joke, and no one really wants you there.

Someone called the cops on us in Echo Park even though we had a permit to be there. Managing all of these nutty things and still making the best movie you can is not very easy! But I worked with an amazing team and we were able to stay positive and focused.

W&H: How did you get your film funded? Share some insights into how you got the film made.

LP: We did a bit of everything. We had some private equity investors, plus we did a small crowdfunding campaign, and we got a few grants, including the Panavision camera grant, which was amazing because we were able to get a beautiful camera package complete with Primo lenses that gave us the look we wanted.

W&H: What does it mean for you to have your film play at the Laff?

LP: It’s a dream come true! When I first moved to La over ten years ago, I would go out to the La Film Festival and watch as many films as I could, and go hear as many directors speak as I could. I found it all so inspiring and always thought it would be amazing to play in this festival.

I did two fellowship programs through the organization that sponsors the festival, Film Independent. I participated in their diversity program and their screenwriting lab, so it feels like I am coming full circle and feel really honored to be a part of it.

W&H: What’s the best and worst advice you’ve received?

LP: The best advice I received was to just go out and find a way to make films. Don’t wait for the right budget, or the right person to green light you — just find a way to do it, even if it’s on a shoestring budget or no budget.

The worst advice I received was that stories with women as the protagonist in the lead don’t sell, so write material for a male lead. This always seemed strange to me, since women watch movies.

W&H: What advice do you have for other female directors?

LP: Go out and make films! Find a way. Even if it’s making short pieces for no money, make a lot of those and get really good at your craft.

Find and collaborate with producers, actors, and other crew that you vibe with, and build a team that you love and just be prolific. In the end, making work is what will move your life and career forward.

W&H: Name your favorite woman-directed film and why.

LP: My favorite woman directed movie — and there are many — is “Fish Tank” by Andrea Arnold. There are so many reasons to love this movie. Her use of the subjective Pov in really bringing us into this girl’s world is incredible. The visual palette is raw and moody yet visceral and character-driven at the same time.

We see many stories of male angst that are complicated, but with female stories, they often revert to stories about sex and sexuality to fulfill the male gaze. But in “Fish Tank,” she shows an angry young woman who is sexually innocent and confused, still a child even though she doesn’t seem it. It’s a very complex and earnest portrayal of a teen girl, which I love.

W&H: There have been significant conversations over the last couple of years about increasing the amount of opportunities for women directors yet the numbers have not increased. Are you optimistic about the possibilities for change? Share any thoughts you might have on this topic.

LP: I’m optimistic, yes! The world of media is changing everyday with ground-breaking television and digital series.

More opportunities are happening for diverse voices. If the old guard of Hollywood doesn’t keep up, the film business as we know it will [be deemed] irrelevant. There is a demand and desire for more diverse voices, and I think the business has to keep up and fulfill that.

Laff 2017 Women Directors: Meet Leena Pendharkar — “20 Weeks” was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
See full article at Women and Hollywood »

’20 Weeks’ Exclusive Clip: Laff Romantic Drama Explores a Pregnancy in Crisis

’20 Weeks’ Exclusive Clip: Laff Romantic Drama Explores a Pregnancy in Crisis
Los Angeles Film Festival official selection “20 Weeks” is a romantic drama about a couple who finds out their baby may have a serious health issues at their 20-week scan. Written and directed by Leena Pendharkar, the film is inspired by a true story, as in the summer of 2014, Pendharkar and her husband went through a similar situation.

Read More: ‘Uncertain’ Exclusive Clip: Wild Tribeca Documentary Winner Has a Raccoon In Its House — Watch

Here’s the official synopsis for the film, which stars Anna Margaret Hollyman, Amir Arison and Richard Riehle.

Maya and Ronan, a couple of 30-somethings, are in love and expecting a baby when a health condition that could impact their unborn child is discovered during a routine scan. As their outlook on parenthood shifts and evolves, the couple is forced to re-examine whether they will be able to tackle the challenges they face and the future of their family.
See full article at Indiewire »

La Film Fest Competition Lineup Announced: 46 Percent Women-Directed

Moko Jumbie

The La Film Festival (Laff) has announced its 2017 competition lineups. “Our competitions reflect who Film Independent is as an organization,” emphasized Laff Director Jennifer Cochis. “Within each section you’ll find discovery, diversity, and promising talent both in front of and behind the camera.” Thankfully, these aren’t just empty words. The numbers back Cochis up. Of 28 films screening in competition, 13 are directed or co-directed by women, amounting to 46 percent of the lineup. The Documentary Competition — where female filmmakers are usually represented more than the Fiction Competitions — features seven out of 10 titles directed or co-directed by women. Last year, 43 percent of films screening in the competition programs were helmed or co-helmed by women.

Women-directed features in the U.S. Fiction Competition include Leena Pendharkar’s “20 Weeks,” a romantic drama about a couple who has to decide whether or not to carry a baby to term after it’s diagnosed with a serious health issue, and Camille Thoman’s “Never Here,” a thriller that centers on a photographer who senses she’s being watched.

Among the films screening in the World Fiction Competition are “Dark Blue Girl,” the story of a former couple — and their seven-year-old daughter — who return to their vacation home two years after parting ways, and Vashti Anderson’s “Moko Jumbie,” a portrait of a displaced girl living in Trinidad who forms a bond with a young fisherman.

The Documentary Competition lineup includes Valerie Red-Horse Mohl’s “Mankiller,” a celebration of the first woman elected Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation, and Ema Ryan Yamazaki’s look into the lives of Margret and Hans Rey, the authors behind the “Curious George” book series.

Produced by Film Independent, the nonprofit arts organization that also produces the Film Independent Spirit Awards, Laff runs from June 14–22.

Check out more information about the women-directed projects screening at Laff below. List adapted from the fest.

U.S. Fiction Competition (4/10 women directed or co-directed)

Original voices with distinct visions from emerging and established American independent filmmakers.

20 Weeks, dir. Leena Pendharkar, USA, World Premiere

Becks, dir. Elizabeth Rohrbaugh, Daniel Powell, USA, World Premiere

Everything Beautiful is Far Away, dir. Andrea Sisson, Pete Ohs, USA, World Premiere

Never Here, dir. Camille Thoman, USA, World Premiere

Documentary Competition (7/10 women-directed or co-directed)

Compelling, character-driven non-fiction films from the U.S. and around the world.

Dalya’s Other Country, dir. Julia Meltzer, USA, World Premiere

Liyana, dir. Aaron Kopp, Amanda Kopp, Swaziland / USA / Qatar, World Premiere

Mankiller, dir. Valerie Red-Horse Mohl, USA, World Premiere

Monkey Business, dir. Ema Ryan Yamazaki, USA, World Premiere

Out of State, dir. Ciara Lacy, USA, World Premiere

Thank You For Coming, dir. Sara Lamm, USA, World Premiere

Two Four Six, dir. Leyla Nedorosleva, Russia / USA / Haiti, World Premiere

World Fiction Competition (2/8 women-directed or co-directed)

Unique fiction films from around the world by emerging and established filmmakers, especially curated for La audiences.

Dark Blue Girl, dir. Mascha Schilinski, Germany / Greece, International Premiere

Moko Jumbie, dir. Vashti Anderson, Trinidad and Tobago / USA, World Premiere

La Muse (6/12 women-directed or co-directed)

Fiction and documentary films that capture the spirit of Los Angeles.

And Then There Was Eve, dir. Savannah Bloch, USA, World Premiere

Built to Fail, dir. Bobby Kim, Alexis Spraic, Scott Weintrob, USA, World Premiere

Fat Camp, dir. Jennifer Arnold, USA, World Premiere

Mighty Ground, dir. Delila Vallot, USA, World Premiere

Roller Dreams, dir. Kate Hickey, USA, International Premiere

The Year of Spectacular Men, dir. Lea Thompson, USA, World Premiere

Nightfall (1/8 women-directed or co-directed)

From the bizarre to the horrifying, these are films to watch after dark.

Serpent, dir. Amanda Evans, South Africa, World Premiere

Short Films (51): From over 2,700 submissions, the short films selected represent 13 countries, 47% are directed by women and 51% are directed by people of color. Short films are shown before features and as part of six short film programs. Shorts will compete for juried prizes for fiction and documentary shorts, as well as an Audience Award for Best Short Film.

Future Filmmakers Showcase: High School Shorts (15):

Made by incredibly accomplished high school filmmakers from across the country and globe, 60% of the short films in this diverse slate are directed by young women and 20% are directed by people of color. Program sponsored by Time Warner Foundation, Lisa Argyros/Argyros Family Foundation and Employees Community Fund of Boeing California.

Episodes: Indie Series from the Web (4/10 women-directed or co-directed)

This showcase of independently crafted web series, 70% of which are directed by people of color and 40% are directed by women, celebrates rising creators whose work and subjects are innovative and unfiltered.

Bkpi, dir. Hye Yun Park, USA

My America, dir. Anna Jones, Asaad Kelada, USA

People Of…, dir. lamia Alami, Switzerland

The F Word, dir. Nicole Opper, USA

La Film Fest Competition Lineup Announced: 46 Percent Women-Directed was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
See full article at Women and Hollywood »

Laff 2017 Announces Full Slate, Including Competition and Episodic Offerings

Laff 2017 Announces Full Slate, Including Competition and Episodic Offerings
This year’s Los Angeles Film Festival, better known as Laff if you’re fun, has unveiled its full slate of 2017 offerings, including new offerings from Vincent Grashaw, Leena Pendharkar, Hong Sangsoo, Lea Thompson and many more. The slate includes 48 feature films, 51 short films, 15 high school short films and 10 short episodic works representing 32 countries. The festival’s five competitions feature 37 World Premieres, 2 International Premieres and 9 North American Premieres. Across the competition categories, 42% of the films are directed by women and 40% are directed by people of color.

“Our competitions reflect who Film Independent is as an organization,” said La Film Festival Director Jennifer Cochis. “Within each section you’ll find discovery, diversity, and promising talent both in front of and behind the camera.” Programming Director Roya Rastegar added, “The films curated for the 2017 competition reflect the changing political climate’s impact on emerging independent filmmakers, who are compelled to tell stories about the power of conviction,
See full article at Indiewire »

'Village People', 'Moko Jumbie' among La Film Festival roster

'Village People', 'Moko Jumbie' among La Film Festival roster
Slate includes 48 films. The Book Of Henry to open festival as previously announced.

The 2017 La Film Festival has unveiled the official Us Fiction, Documentary, World Fiction, La Muse and Nightfall sections.

The festival’s slate consists of 48 feature films, 51 short films, 15 high school shorts and 10 short episodic works representing 32 countries. The festival is set to run from June 14-22 in Los Angeles.

Leena Pendharkar’s 20 Weeks (Us), Paul Briganti’s Village People (Us), and Camille Thoman’s Never Here (Us) are among the Us Fiction Competition entries, with each having their world premiere.

The World Competition includes the world premieres of Vashti Anderson’s Moko Jumbie (pictured, Trinidad & Tobago) by Vashti Anderson and Catching Feelings (South Africa) from director Kagiso Lediga, while Arshad Khan’s Abu (Canada) plays in the Documentary Competition.

Mark HayesSkid Row Marathon (Us) and Brandon Buczek’s Your Own Road (Us) will play in the La Muse section, while [link=nm
See full article at ScreenDaily »

La Film Festival 2017 Lineup Includes It Stains The Sands Red, Midnighters, Serpent

The days are getting longer and the nights are getting warmer, which means that we're edging ever closer to this year's La Film Festival. Taking place June 14th–22nd, the La Film Festival's 2017 competition lineup has been unveiled, and of particular interest for genre fans is the Nightfall section, which includes Colin Minihan's It Stains the Sands Red, Julius Ramsay's Midnighters, and Amanda Evans' Serpent.

Press Release: Los Angeles (May 9, 2017)— Today the La Film Festival, produced by Film Independent, the nonprofit arts organization that also produces the Film Independent Spirit Awards, unveiled the official U.S. Fiction, Documentary, World Fiction, La Muse and Nightfall sections. The 2017 La Film Festival will screen a diverse slate of feature films, shorts and episodic series, along with programs such as Coffee Talks and Future Filmmakers Showcase. The La Film Festival takes place June 14 – June 22, 2017 headquartered at ArcLight Cinemas Culver City, with additional screenings at ArcLight Hollywood,
See full article at DailyDead »

LA Film Festival Unveils Competition Lineups With 42% Directed by Women

LA Film Festival Unveils Competition Lineups With 42% Directed by Women
The LA Film Festival has unveiled its lineups for the competition sections with 42% of the films directed by women and 40% by people of color.

The festival, now in its 23rd year, announced that the U.S. fiction, documentary, world fiction, L.A. muse, and nightfall sections contain 48 feature films from 32 countries with 37 world premieres. Produced by Film Independent, the festival will open June 14 with the previously announced “The Book of Henry,” starring Jacob Tremblay and Naomi Watts. The festival is headquartered at the Arclight Culver City.

“Our competitions reflect who Film Independent is as an organization,” said Jennifer Cochis, festival director. “Within each section you’ll find discovery, diversity, and promising talent both in front of and behind the camera.”

Programming director Roya Rastegar said, “The films curated for the 2017 competition reflect the changing political climate’s impact on emerging independent filmmakers, who are compelled to tell stories about the power of conviction,
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Film Independent Selects 12 Fellows For 2010 Screenwriters Lab

Los Angeles (August 18, 2010) . Film Independent, the non-profit arts organization that produces the Spirit Awards and Los Angeles Film Festival, has announced the 12 screenwriters and film projects selected for its 11th annual Screenwriters Lab, sponsored by the Writers Guild of America, West. Taking place in Los Angeles from August 12 until September 16, the Screenwriters Lab is an intensive six-week program designed to help writers improve their craft, and take their current scripts to the next level in a nurturing, yet challenging creative environment. Screenwriter and producer Meg LeFauve resumes duties as this year.s Lab Instructor, and Lab Mentors and Guest Speakers include Nicole Holofcener (Please Give), Erin Cressida Wilson (Chloe), José Rivera (The Motorcycle Diaries), Josh Olson (A History of Violence), and Kay Schaber-Wolf (WGAw).

.Our Labs have always attracted a high level of talent from different backgrounds and disciplines, and this year is no exception,. said Director of Talent Development Josh Welsh.
See full article at WeAreMovieGeeks.com »

Iffla 2010 Announces Line up

Iffla 2010 Announces Line up
The Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (Iffla) has announced the 2010 line-up of films for its 8th annual festival, which runs April 20-April 25 at ArcLight Hollywood. The six-day festival will showcase 33 films from 5 countries, including 4 world premieres and 7 Us premieres.

“This is a true celebration of the art and business of Indian film and culture as well as an opportunity to connect with the game changers and emerging filmmakers of Indian themed content,’ said Christina Marouda, Iffla’s Executive Director. “As filmmakers of Indian descent forge new relationships in Hollywood, we invite moviegoers and industry professionals to experience our unique and wide ranging program which includes thought-provoking dramas, engaging documentaries, along with a touch of light hearted fare and a taste of Bollywood.”

Kicking off the festival is the Los Angeles premiere and directorial debut of Dilip Mehta‘s Cooking With Stella, starring Seema Biswas, Lisa Ray, and Don McKellar.
See full article at DearCinema.com »

2010 Portland Oregon Women’s Film Festival (Pow!): Official Lineup

The 3rd annual Portland Oregon Women’s Film Festival (Pow!) has announced their full festival lineup, which includes 44 films from all over the world. The fest will run March 18-21 at the Hollywood Theatre.

Maybe this year, the Pow! fest will have something extra to celebrate if Kathryn Bigelow wins the Best Directing Academy Award on March 7th. Bigelow is the odds on favorite to take home the Oscar statuette this year for directing The Hurt Locker and, if she does, she’d be the first woman ever to do so. Actually, only four women have ever even been nominated: Bigelow, Lina Wertmuller, Jane Campion and Sofia Coppola.

The lineup below proves that women are a powerful force sitting in the director’s chair and Pow! has assembled an impressive lineup of animated films, shorts, features, documentaries, experimental films and more:

March 18

7:00 p.m.: “Local Shorts”

Nous Deux Encore,
See full article at Underground Film Journal »

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