April 19, 2018 / 5:23 PM / 5 months ago

Women take lead at London's Sundance Film Festival after #MeToo

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Women directors will take the lead at this summer’s Sundance Film Festival in London, which will look at the future of the industry following the #MeToo campaign against sexual harassment and abuse.

Seven of the 12 films in the line-up, announced on Thursday, are directed by women in a selection which organizers say will champion female voices.

The four-day event, which opens May 31, is a spin-off of the annual U.S. festival set up by actor Robert Redford in Utah as a showcase for independent filmmakers.

“This is a fantastic opportunity to present films by women which are real game-changers,” said festival programmer Clare Binns, joint managing director of Picturehouse Cinemas.

“The festival is a big chance to discuss how we get women’s voices out there - because they have a lot to say,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Hollywood was rocked last year by allegations of sexual misconduct against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein in a scandal which has since implicated other leading industry figures.

The festival opens with “The Tale”, directed by Jennifer Fox, an exploration of sexual abuse and consent based on her own experience of a teenage relationship with an older man.

Starring Laura Dern and Ellen Burstyn, the film is billed as “an investigation into one woman’s memory as she is forced to re-examine her first sexual relationship and the stories we tell ourselves in order to survive”.

The Weinstein scandal has prompted women across the world to share their experiences of sexual harassment and abuse in an online campaign using the hashtag #MeToo. Hollywood celebrities launched their own #TimesUp movement this year. [L8N1OX1GJ]

Amy Adrion, whose documentary “Half the Picture” looks at the dearth of female directors in Hollywood, will join major British film funders to discuss how to create a more inclusive industry.

Other directors who will discuss their work include this year’s winner of the Sundance U.S. Grand Jury Prize, Desiree Akhavan, whose film “The Miseducation of Cameron Post” tells the story of a girl forced into gay conversion therapy.

Actress Toni Collette will also take part in a Q and A about her horror film “Hereditary”.

Editing by Claire Cozens, Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, which covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, corruption and climate change. Visit news.trust.org to see more stories.

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