52 Films Directed By Women To Watch In 2023 - Page 3 of 5

King Coal
After racking up an Oscar nomination and Emmy win for her short doc “Heroin(e),” Elaine McMillion Sheldon will debut her third feature at Sundance. “King Coal” explores the “past, present, and future of Appalachia,” where Sheldon lives. At once observational and experimental — the crew includes a choreographer and breath artist — this film tackles the myths and realities of one of America’s most misunderstood regions. With frequent David Lowery collaborator Bobak Lotfipour composing the score and lush visuals in every sneak peek, this could really be a haunting hidden gem.
Release Date: Premieres in January at Sundance, then TBD.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” cinematographer Ellen Kuras will make her narrative feature debut with “Lee,” a Kate Winslet-led biography of the war journalist Lee Miller. A former fashion model, Miller became the official war photographer for Vogue during World War II, where she notably captured the events of the London Blitz and documented the Buchenwald and Dachau concentration camps. Focus Features has already scooped up this amazing project and shooting finished in early December, so if it doesn’t hit any of the festivals, it will surely come out during the end-of-year awards rush. And this thing has “Oscar bait” written all over it, with cinematography by Paweł Edelman (“The Pianist”), a score by Alexandre Desplat, and a stacked cast. Winslet is joined by Andrea Riseborough, Alexander Skarsgård, Marion Cotillard, Josh O’Connor, Noémie Merlant, and even Andy Samberg.
Release Date TBD via Focus Features.

Little Richard: I Am Everything
Lisa Cortés has enjoyed an illustrious career. She produced “Precious” and the Emmy-winning doc “The Apollo,” and co-directed “All In: The Fight for Democracy” with Liz Garbus. Now she’s about to premiere “Little Richard: I Am Everything,” which she directed and produced, at Sundance. Though Little Richard passed away in 2020, his legacy still has a lot to teach us. Using archival footage gems and interviews with members of the rock star’s inner circle, the film seeks to highlight the invaluable influences of Black and gay culture on rock and roll music.
Release Date:: Premieres in January at Sundance, then TBD via CNN Films. It will also be available on HBO Max.

Love Lies Bleeding
Surely we don’t need to say more than “lesbian bodybuilder film by Rose Glass starring Kristen Stewart,” but here we go anyway. First of all: lesbian bodybuilder film by Rose Glass starring Kristen Stewart. The plot is mostly under wraps, but it apparently chronicles “a romance fueled by ego, desire and the American Dream” set in the world of competitive bodybuilding. Stewart plays a female bodybuilder’s lover. Second of all: backed by Film4 and A24 (which also collaborated on Glass’s knockout first feature, “Saint Maud”). Third of all: co-starring Jena Malone, Dave Franco, Ed Harris, Anna Baryshnikov, and stuntwoman and actor Katy M. O’Brian (who, based on her creds and look, might play the bodybuilder in question). Fourth of all: with “Saint Maud” cinematographer Ben Fordesman.
Release Date: TBD, but it’s in post-production, so Cannes or TIFF seem like good bets.

Mafia Mamma
If you don’t think Catherine Hardwicke is a master of camp, you obviously haven’t watched “Twilight.” It looks like she’ll be flexing her comedy chops once again with “Mafia Mamma,” written by J. Michael Feldman and Debbie Jhoon (“Kevin from Work,” “A.P. Bio”). The film follows Kristen (Toni friggin’ Collette), an everyday American woman who unwittingly inherits her grandfather’s mafia empire. In the red band teaser, Collette vamps as her character admits to masturbating to Italian cooking shows, offers trained killers a briefcase full of muffins, and seeks advice from Monica Bellucci. What more could we possibly ask for?
Release Date: April 14, via Bleecker Street films.

The Marvels
Little Woods” director Nia DaCosta has been on a meteoric rise since her first feature debuted in 2019. She led the “Candyman” reboot, which was co-written and backed by Jordan Peele, and now she’s taking a whack at a Marvel movie. “The Marvels,” to be exact. Conceived as a sequel to “Captain Marvel,” “The Marvels” will see Brie Larson’s Carol Danvers team up with Ms. Marvel, AKA Kamala Khan, and the second Captain Marvel, Monica Rambeau. Iman Vellani will reprise her role as Kamala from Disney+’s “Ms. Marvel,” with “Candyman” and “If Beale Street Could Talk” star Teyonah Parris playing Monica Rambeau again after “WandaVision.” Per usual, Samuel L. Jackson will also be there. Since it’s slated to release in the dead of summer, it looks like Disney is pretty excited about this one, too.
Release Date: July 28 via Disney/Marvel.

The Mother
It looks like “Whale Rider” director Niki Caro’s next feature, led by Jennifer Lopez, will finally hit Netflix this year after COVID stalled production. The film follows an ex-assassin (Lopez) who gets back in the game to save her estranged daughter. With a story by “Lovecraft Country” showrunner Misha Green, who also co-wrote the script, and Joseph Fiennes, Omari Hardwick, and Gael García Bernal rounding out the cast, this has all the trappings of a solid action romp. It’s part of Netflix’s multi-year production deal with Lopez’s Nuyorican Productions. And truly, who isn’t on board with the J.Lo renaissance
Release Date: May 2023 via Netflix.

My Animal”
Paramount has been pretty solid on horror releases as of late. “Smile” was surprisingly original and terrifying, and “Orphan: First Kill” was just plain delightful. Now the distributor has snapped up a lesbian werewolf Sundance debut, Jacqueline Castel’s “My Animal.” Castel’s first feature, from a screenplay by fellow newcomer Jae Williams, focuses on Heather (Bobbi Salvör Menuez), a teenager who must be locked up every full moon. Kept down by a crappy home life and rejected from the hockey team she longs to join, Heather is languishing in her small northern town until she meets the beguiling Jonny (rising star Amandla Stenberg). It’s supernatural horror, it’s Sapphic, it’s a “steamy” hockey player/figure skater romance, and it’s got two exciting actors at its center. We can’t wait to sink our teeth into this one.
Release Date: Premieres in January at Sundance, then TBD via Paramount. – Rodrigo Perez

Speaking of women with uncontrollable canine attributes, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” director Marielle Heller has an upcoming adaptation of Rachel Yoder’s novel “Nightbitch” on deck. The film is about a stay-at-home mother who begins to believe she is turning into a dog. (Hmm, sounds familiar, but we’ll bite.) Amy Adams stars in the lead role of Mother, with Scoot McNairy presumably playing her absentee husband. With Adams also producing, it’s no wonder this is already slated for a Hulu release. After all, ever since her fabulously unhinged turn in “Sharp Objects,” we’ve been dying to see Amy get rabid.  
Release Date: TBD via Hulu.

One Fine Morning
Here at The Playlist, you will never catch us sleeping on Mia Hansen-Løve — and you will apparently never catch her sleeping in general. Fresh off of “Bergman Island,” the French director had her second Cannes contender in two years with “One Fine Morning.” The film follows Sandra (Léa Seydoux), a young mother trying to find care for her father (Pascal Greggory) as he mentally deteriorates. Our own Carlos Aguilar called it “bittersweetly breezy,” “a film about the impermanence of what we love, but also of what burdens us.” Hansen-Løve’s latest has finally completed a long festival circuit, so it’s getting a limited release in New York and LA in January. Keep an eye on your local arthouse or streamers like MUBI for an eventual wider release.
Release Date: January 27, via Sony Pictures Classics.