10 Female Directed Films at TIFF 2019

TIFF 2019 Must-Watch Films Directed by Women

The 2019 Toronto International Film Festival runs from Thursday, September 5th – Sunday, September 15th. Of the top 250 films from 2018, only 20% of the films employed women directors, writers, producers, editors, and cinematographers. Only 1% of the films employed 10 or more women, while 74% of films employed 10 or more men. To combat the situation, TIFF has implemented “Share Her Journey”, a campaign that is now in its 4th year. It is part of a 5-year commitment to increase participation, skill, and to create more opportunities for women both behind and in front of the camera.

With so many films premiering at TIFF 2019, here is a list of 10 female directed films that are definitely worth watching.

Clemency, Director: Chinonye Chukwu

This film features a death row prison warden who struggles with the emotional and psychological repercussions of her job following years of executions. Starring Academy Award nominee Alfre Woodard, the drama has already won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival when she was the first Black woman to win the festival’s biggest prize. Learn more about the film here.

Abominable, Director: Jill Culton

This adorable family-friendly film comes from Hollywood’s DreamWorks Animations and China’s Pearl Studio. Yi, a teenage girl living in Shanghai, finds a young Yeti lost on an apartment rooftop. She names his Everest and is set to reunite him with his family at Mount Everest. This heartwarming film mixes together American confidence and Chinese family values. Watch the trailer here.

Hustlers, Director: Lorene Scafaria

You might have already heard of this one – it’s completely star studded and its trailer has been playing just about everywhere. Scafaria has directed previous well known indie films such as “Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist” and  “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World”. This film stars Jennifer Lopez who plays ringleader to a group of former strip club employees to turn the tables on their wealthy Wall Street clients. If you haven’t already, watch the trailer here.

A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood, Director: Marielle Heller

This biographical drama film is an intimate look inside jaded journalist Tom Junod’s life-changing friendship with the iconic television personality, Mister Rogers. Playing Mister Rogers is none other than Tom Hanks who aims to inspire and teach empathy, kindness, and decency. “It only takes one person to inspire a world of kindness”. Click here to watch the trailer.

There’s Something In The Water, Director: Ellen Page

This impactful documentary shines a light on environmental racism – a form of racial discrimination in the development and implementation of environmental policy. The film is adaptation on the novel by Ingrid Waldron and is directed by Canadian actress Ellen Page. It focuses specifically in Indigenous and Black communities and features nine women across Nova Scotia. Learn more about the film here.

Radioactive, Director: Marjane Satrapi

This film is a biopic of two-time Nobel Prize winner Marie Curie, based on the award winning graphic novel, “Radioactive: Marie and Pierre Currie: A Tale of Love and Fallout”, by Lauren Redniss. With Oscar and BAFTA nominations already under her belt, Marjane Satrapi aims to not only highlight exceptional women, but to also tackle the humanist approach of the Curie couple. Learn more about the film here.

Harriet, Director: Kasi Lemmons

 This biopic stars Cynthia Erivo, a Tony Award-winning Broadway actress, and musician Janelle Monáe. The film follows abolitionist Harriet Tubman as she escapes slavery while also leading hundreds of other enslaved Black people through the Underground Railroad to freedom. A powerful history lesson, this is a definite must-watch before awards season. Click here to watch the trailer.

 The Elder One, Director: Geetu Mohandas

Indian writer-director Geetu Mohandes showcases Mumbai through the story of two siblings on a mission to find a missing relative. The young siblings both escape to the big city with themes of pondering gender, sexuality, violence, and tolerance. This film aims to prove that with enough love and courage, any place can be home. Learn more about the film here.

The Sky Is Pink, Director: Shonali Bose

A deceased teenage daughter tells the 25-year love story of her parents (played by none other than Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Farhan Akhtar). Aisha, the daughter, was born with a serious immune deficiency that takes a toll on her parents when the medical procedures fail. This family tragedy is based on a true story and highlights South Asian culture and family values. Learn more here.

Honey Boy, Director: Alma Har’el

Actor and screenwriter Shia LaBeouf pens a story about a childhood trauma. Loosely based on his life in this sensitive and confessional collaboration, the film follows an actor’s struggle to reconcile with his abusive father. LaBeouf will play the father as Har’el delicately shares the story of adult self-renewal and grace. Watch the trailer here.