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12 Women Directors and 12 Movies Based on Books to watch in 2016 #book2movies

Ava DuVernay, the female director who helmed Selma but was snubbed at the Oscars, is on board to direct A Wrinkle in Time based on the beloved book by Madeleine L’Engle. She’s also in preproduction on Intelligent Life, a sci-fi film set to star Lupita Nyongo. Great, right? One woman’s success in the face of hundreds of male-directed movies is a victory to celebrate. I don’t have anything against the guys—my son wants to be one of those hundreds, thousands of male TV & movie directors—but it’s clear women are sadly under-represented as directors. 

If we want to see more women directing movies, we need to support female-directed films. I don’t mean blindly, slavishly love everything every woman puts out—if you told me Kim Kardashian had directed her first feature, my inclination would be to pass—but be mindful that there are talented female directors out there, doing great work. Some to great acclaim, some a bit more under the radar. Seek them out, consider their films, and if you like what you see, say so. 

Below are just a dozen movies coming out this year, all directed by women. We’ve got love stories, tales of espionage, historical dramas, movies that celebrate determination and inspiration, films for young adults and films for the young adult in us. Because my thing is ‘movies based on books’ my list is limited but yours doesn’t have to be. Be your own feminist heat-seeking missile, go out on the google machine and find a few of your own female-directed movies to love. 

March 11: Certain Women
Kristen Stewart, Michelle Williams and Laura Dern star in this Kelly Riechardt directed film based on three stories by Maile Meloy. Stewart’s story is based on Travis, B. Listen to William Hurt read the story here

April15 US/ April 22 UK : The Adderall Diaries 
James Franco, Ed Harris, Amber Heard, Chritian Slater & Cynthia Nixon star in this adaptation of Stephen Elliott’s disturbing memoir of murder and self-centered obsession. The controversial film was scripted and directed by Pamela Romanowsky. My post includes a review from IndieWire. Follow the link to read it & watch the trailer.

April 19: The Night Manager 
Tom Hiddleston & Hugh Laurie headline this six part television adaptation of John leCarre’s 1993 best seller. While the world has changed, our fascination with the inner workings of the criminal underworld have not. The series also stars Elizabeth Debicki, Tom Hollander and Olivia Coleman who many of my fellow Americans know from Broadchurch where she costars with David Tennant. A veteran in the UK, she’s a fresh face here. Watch the trailer here.

April 22: Despite the Falling Snow  (UK)
Based on her own novel, Shamim Sarif wrote and directed the Cold War thriller set in Moscow and Boston. Rebecca Ferguson plays Katya, a woman, a spy, who steals secrets from a politician and falls in love with him. The cast includes Sam Reid (Belle, The Railway Man); German Ante Traue (Woman in Gold); and fast-rising Brit actor Oliver Jackson-Cohen, who US fans might know from NBC’s Dracula. I’m excited to see a film written and directed by, and starring a woman. I read and LOVED this book: my take. Sarif is already at work on her next project The Artemis Protocol, a female action film. Check her kickstarted page.

May 13: Our Kind of Traitor  (UK)
Directed by Susanna White  Our Kind of Traitor is based on the John Le Carré spy novel. His sons, Simon & Stephen, produce. A couple who find themselves lured into a Russian oligarch's plans to defect are soon positioned between the Russian Mafia and the British Secret Service, neither of whom they can trust. Ewan McGregor and Naomi Harris star in a cast that includes Damian Lewis, Saskia Reeves and Stellan Saarsgård. It’s currentlymy Featured Trailer Waiting for a US release date.

June 3: Me Before You
Emilia Clarke is Loisa, caretaker to Sam Claflin as Will, former master of the universe, major mover & shaker, now suicidal wheelchair-confined invalid who hates his life.
Directed by Thea Sharrock from a screenplay adaptation by Michael H. Weber & Scott Neustadter the writers who brought you (500)Days of Summer, Fault in Our Stars,The Spectacular Now and the upcoming Where’d You Go, Bernadette.Read my take on the book here

September 16: Bridget Jones Baby 
At this point the Bridget Jones saga is a bit of a guilty pleasure. The 3rd in the series, this isnt really based on a book but it does feature Helen Fieldings characters. With Colin Firth back I wont complain. Bridget is having a baby but whose is it? Firths or hunky new addition to the cast, Patrick Dempsey. 

And coming sometime in 2016

First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers 
Youve got to hand it to Angelina Jolie, she is not one to stay down. By the Sea didnt fare too well but shes back in her directors chair, once again tackling a meaty project. Based on the best-selling memoir by human rights activist Loung Ung, about the horrors she saw and was subjected to under the Kmer Rouge, the film is listed as currently filming. 
Check loungung.com for more info.

Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke takes the lead on the adaptation of Jerry Spinelli’s YA story about a homeschooled teen ‘who enrolls in an Arizona high school, altering the ecosystem of the student body with her nonconformity.’ Joey King (Crazy, Stupid Love) stars as Susan AKA Stargirl with Charlie Plummer (Boardwalk Empire) as her friend Leo. The film is in preproduction right now but has a 2016 release date in mind. 


2016: The Zookeeper’s Wife
Jessica Chastain and Daniel Bruhl star in the story of the keepers of the Warsaw Zoo, Jan and Antonina Zabinski, who helped save hundreds of people and animals during the Nazi invasion. Based on the book by Diane Ackerman, from a script by Angela Workman—who also adapted Snow Flower and the Secret Fan—the film is from Niki Caro who directed the highly acclaimed Whale Rider. One of the year’s most exciting projects imo.

2016: Queen of Katwe
Lupita Nyongo and David Oyelowo star in this film about a young girl in Uganda training to become a world chess champion. Based on the nonfiction book by Tim Crothers  The Queen of Katwe: A Story of Life, Chess, and One Extraordinary Girl's Dream of Becoming a Grandmaster about the real life Phiona Mutesi, born in the slums of Uganda, where finding food is more important than getting an education, the young girl discovers chess, and her way out of a life of abject poverty. Mira Nair is a highly regarded international filmmaker seen above with Nyongo.

2016: Black Dog, Red Dog ****
Black Dog Red Dog is a feature-length project that follows the life of poet Stephen Dobyns as he deals with his relationships with women and with mortality, from his childhood to his time as a young journalist and then his transition to poetry. Dobyns is played by Logan Marshall-Green (Prometheus) with a cast that includes Olivia Wilde, James Franco, Chloe Sevigny, Whoopi Goldberg and 
Tim Blake-Edwards. An NYU student project orchestrated by  James Franco, four of the directors are females - the future Catherine Hardwicks of the world? Watch for Adriana Cepeda EspinosaAnastasia FrankLeonora Lonsdale and Isabella Wing-Davey.