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Cultivate Cinema screens film debuts from female directors

The first films from some of the most insightful directors in cinema — including Sofia Coppola, Kelly Reichardt and Julie Dash — are the focus of a new monthly series from Cultivate Cinema Circle called  “Women Direct: First Films by Modern Visionary Filmmakers.” The series starts Jan. 11 and will feature introductions from local film scholars..

CCC Director Jordan Smith said the goal of the series is to highlight female writer-directors who have had a major impact on cinema culture over the last three decades. The series also provides an opportunity to experience films from rising stars in cinema.

“We’re celebrating new voices that hold the potential to continue to explore uncharted cinematic territory from that criminally underrepresented vantage point — a women’s perspective,” Smith said. “By selecting only debut films, we feel it highlights how genuinely original and immensely important these filmmakers have been from the very beginning of their careers.”

While the series includes efforts from well-known directors like Coppola, whose films include “Lost in Translation” and “The Beguiled,” CCC Artistic Director Jared Mobarak said the series’ less-heralded newcomers are just as deserving of inclusion.

Two of these acclaimed young filmmakers are Desiree Akhavan (“Appropriate Behavior”) and Dee Rees (“Pariah”). Both are making news in the world of cinema.

“Akhavan’s sophomore effort, ‘The Miseducation of Cameron Post,’ bows at this year's Sundance Film Festival,” Mobarak said. “And Rees’s ‘Mudbound’ has a real shot at Oscar nominations.”

Here's the lineup:

“River of Grass,” Jan. 11. Kelly Reichardt’s 1995 story of a disaffected housewife in suburban Florida will be introduced by Beyond Boundaries Film & Discussion Series curator Meg Knowles.

“Pariah,” Feb. 8. A 17-year-old African-American woman embraces her identity as a lesbian in this 2011 feature from Dee Rees. Introduced by Beyond Boundaries Film & Discussion Series curator Ruth Goldman.

“The Fits,” April 12. In Anna Rose Holmer’s 2016 debut, an 11-year-old budding boxer undergoes a journey of discovery. The film will be introduced by Buffalo International Film Festival director Tilke Hill.

“La Ciénaga,” May 10. Argentine filmmaker Lucrecia Martel’s 2001 story of a bourgeois extended family. Introduced by Riverrun Global Film Series curator Tanya Shilina-Conte.

“The Virgin Suicides,” July 12. Sofia Coppola’s 1999 adaptation of the Jeffrey Eugenides novel is a tragic study of five sisters in 1970s Michigan. Introduced by Andrea Mancuso, the curator of Nichols High School’s Classic Movie Night.

“Appropriate Behavior,” Sept. 20. In Desiree Akhavan’s 2015 semi-autobiographical feature, an Iranian bisexual living in Brooklyn attempts to get over a breakup. Introduced by Peach Mag visual arts curator Caitlin Coder.

“Daughters of the Dust,” Nov. 8. Julie Dash’s 1991 debut about a multi-generation family off the coast of South Carolina is one of the most acclaimed and important independent films of the early 1990s. Introduced by artist and poet Annette Daniels Taylor.


“Women Direct: First Films by Modern Visionary Filmmakers"

Movies start at 7 p.m. at Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, 341 Delaware Ave. Tickets are $8 general, $6 for students and seniors, and $5 for Hallwalls members; tickets are available at the door only. Visit

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