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  This past weekend, I attended Athena Film Fest, a weekend-long film festival at Barnard College in New York celebrating women in film. 88% of the movies featured were directed by women — which is remarakble because only 8% of the top 100 highest-grossing movies made in 2017 were directed by women. If you missed the festival or don't live locally, many of the films shown at the festival are available to watch on streaming services, and a few are still in theaters — so you...

  I finally saw Black Panther and honestly, as an African person, it made me very happy and proud to see Africa on the big screen like that. Although Wakanda is a fictional country in Africa, the movie still represented the motherland very beautifully. “Where the sunsets are the most beautiful” — this resonated so much with me because it’s true. There’s nothing better than the sun in Africa. Although technically we all have the same sun, the one in Africa is the most beautiful! And of course, the...
In her one-woman play-turned-HBO film Notes From The Field, Anna Deavere Smith takes on the role of Kevin Moore, the deli worker known for videotaping Freddie Gray’s beating. As Moore, she says, “We gotta record this. [The camera] is the only weapon we have.” “When you say that, what you’re saying is that [the camera] is a weapon that brings a mirror up to society,” Smith told BUST. “That’s what the camera is in the beating of Freddie Gray, and going back to Trayvon Martin and Michael...
After a 30-year career as an actress, Heather Graham is getting behind the camera. She’s the director, writer and star — along with Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s Stephanie Beatriz and the Office’s Angela Kinsey — of the new comedy Half Magic. Graham plays Honey, who we’re introduced to as a child in a flashback scene in which her father berates her for watching a premarital sex scene on TV, telling her, “You could go to hell for those urges.” In the present, Honey is still plagued with guilt...
As the February 23 release date for the sci-fi thriller Annihilation has drawn closer, film critics have speculated about its quality: is it being released in the “dump month” of February, right after the box office hit Black Panther, because it’s bad? Or because it’s a masterpiece that’s too intellectual to appeal to the masses? Well, Annihilation isn’t quite a masterpiece, but it’s definitely an ambitious, enjoyable movie — and a creative story that we haven’t seen before. Loosely based on the novel of the same title...
  Stephanie Beatriz is best known for playing Brooklyn Nine-Nine's Detective Rosa Diaz, a terse, guarded badass who’s rarely seen without a leather jacket. Fans will likely be surprised and delighted to watch her play a bubbly, unicorn-obsessed young woman named Candy in the new comedy Half Magic, directed by Heather Graham. In the Half Magic, Candy becomes fast friends with two other women (Graham and Angela Kinsey) after they attend a female empowerment seminar. Candy, who dabbles in magic, teaches the other women how to cast spells...
  If you’re in the New York area, don’t miss the Athena Film Festival, which marks its eighth year later this month. The Barnard College festival will be held from February 22-25, 2018, and it will be a long weekend filled with movies directed by or starring women. Women’s representation is sorely needed both in front of and behind the camera: the Celluloid Ceiling, which tracks women’s employment behind the camera, found that in 2017, only 11% of the top 250 films were directed by women. And...
Out on Netflix today, Irreplaceable You tackles some difficult questions: What would you do if you knew you were going to die? What would you do if you knew the love of your life was going to die? What would it look like if Christopher Walken and Kate McKinnon were crocheting together in a cancer support group? (The answer to that last one: incredible.) Irreplaceable You, brought to life by a starry cast including Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Black Mirror: San Junipero, A Wrinkle in Time) and Michiel...
  In the Georgian drama film My Happy Family, Manana (Ia Shughliashvili), a middle-aged schoolteacher, decides to move out of the apartment she shares with her parents, her husband, her children, and nearly everyone reacts with varying degrees of scorn and shock. Manana’s own reticence to explain her sudden change of heart certainly compounds her family’s confusion; as she stoically gathers her things together and loads them in bags, she’s followed by an increasingly hysterical cacophony of curses and pleas. Why did Manana suddenly decide that what...
Permission Directed by Brian Crano Out on February 9, 2018 Anna (Rebecca Hall) and Will (Dan Stevens) have been a couple since childhood. Just turned thirty and on the brink of starting their adult life together, they decide to put their commitment to the test, sleeping with other people for the first time in either of their lives. Simultaneously, Anna’s brother (David Joseph Craig) and his life-partner (Morgan Spector) struggle with the decision to become parents. Written, directed, and produced by Brian Crano, the film follows Anna...