While there are major strides that still need to be made for female filmmakers, 2016 was a great year for both Houda Benyamina and Lucile Hadzihalilovic. The former had a terrific reception for “Divines,” which landed big awards from the Cannes Film Festival and AFI Film Fest, and was nominated for an armload of Césars. The latter returned with “Evolution,” her first feature in over a decade, and one that picked up no shortage of acclaim from critics. Now they’re both brewing up new projects.
First, Benyamina is putting together “Pour Assia,” which will tell the story of the titular resistance fighter in 1950s Algeria, who is sentenced to death, but is rescued and turned into an international icon by her lawyer, with whom she also becomes romantically involved. However, when she returns to Algeria five years later, not everyone is glad to see her.
Meanwhile, Hadzihalilovic is turning her attention to “The Snow Queen.” The story follows Rose and Lucas, two childhood best friends who were fascinated by the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale, and years later find their interest renewed when it gets turned into a movie. But when Lucas disappears, Rose goes in search of him, convinced he’s run off with the lead actress of the film, Cristina.
Both of these projects are in script stage, but being selected for this year’s Groupe Ouest residency writing program, will certainly put them on them on the map, and hopefully in front of cameras soon. [Cineuropa]