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From Sundance to the multiplex: Women directors are taking the spotlight

Long before she directed the summer comedy The To Do List, Maggie Carey was a Division I soccer player at the University of Montana. That was back in the 1990s, when for the first time in her life, she had a female coach.

“It was really refreshing to see a woman in a leadership role and that kind of clicked with me – maybe there was something missing that I wasn’t aware of. And I think seven of the girls [I played with] went on to coach,” Carey says.

Now, as a film director, Carey finds herself at the helm in a profession also historically dominated by men. But like the sea change she witnessed playing soccer earlier in her life, Carey sees things opening up for women who want to get behind the camera.

“The next generation of [soccer] players,” she says, “they’re not going to even think twice about having a female coach. With access and filmmaking, girls who are in high school now aren’t going to think twice about [becoming directors] because they’re going to see women in those positions. It won’t be a barrier because they won’t know there was a barrier.”

Maggie Carey is one of a small group of up and coming female filmmakers in Hollywood who are starting to gain recognition for their work. But it is still a very small group.
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'In a World...': Lake Bell on creating her comedy dream team -- POSTER EXCLUSIVE

It’s impossible to read the title of Lake Bell’s feature directorial debut In a World… without mimicking the iconic voice of Don LaFontaine, the godfather of movie trailers. While trailers have moved from in-theater events to online exclusives, Bell says in our short-attention span culture they serve as a way to get people excited and engaged.

“A good trailer is a good trailer, there’s no arguing that, whether you’ve seen it online, whether you’ve seen it in the theater,” Bell told EW from the set of the upcoming comedy Million Dollar Arm. “We culturally are very in tune to trailers and turned on by them because they are like mini movies and they satisfy even the shortest attention span.”

The film follows the story of Carol Solomon (played by Bell), a struggling vocal coach who happens into a string of voiceover successes — something the voiceover experts, including her father, Sam Sotto (Fred Melamed, A Serious Man), the presumed king of the voiceover after the passing of LaFontaine, deem impossible for a woman. The father-daughter competition is surrounded by a host of supporting cast, including Carol’s sister Dani (SNL regular Michaela Watkins) and brother-in-law (Rob Corddry).

Check out the poster for the upcoming film exclusively below:
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'In A World ...' with Lake Bell gets new trailer

Lake Bell (Black Rock, What Happens in Vegas) just wants to be a voiceover actor, and In A World … where she wrote, directed and starred in her own film there is a good chance her dreams might come true.

Bell’s character in the film, Carol, wants to follow in her father’s (Fred Melamed) footsteps, and become a the voice of a generation of movie trailers. Although he is encouraging of her voice work, he thinks movie trailers are the big leagues where only the boys can play. He even appears to be coaching her nemesis, who is played by Ken Marino with sexist bravado. The film also stars Rob Corddry, Nick Offerman, and Demetri Martin.

To quote Bell’s father in the film. “I love that. It’s just so random.”

Winner of the Waldo Salt Screenwriting award, the film was lauded at the Sundance Film Festival for its loud humor and social commentary. It was also nominated for the Grand Jury Prize.

Watch the trailer below: READ FULL STORY

Lake Bell's Sundance film 'In a World…' sells to Roadside Attractions and Sony

The Sundance Film Festival wrapped up nearly a month ago, but films that debuted at the prestigious film fest are still scoring distribution deals. Lake Bell’s directorial debut, (cue deep, dramatic voice) In a World…, has finalized deals with Roadside Attractions and Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions, EW confirmed.

Roadside will distribute the film in the U.S., while the Sony subsidiary acquired international rights. A summer 2013 release is planned for U.S. theaters. READ FULL STORY

Sundance Film Festival's 13 must-see movies

Awkward.

If there’s one word that unites many of the movies making their debuts at the Sundance Film Festival this year, that’s probably the best: Hilariously, beautifully, tragically awkward.

Imagine you’re a teenage kid in the merciless grip of puberty and your “new dad” turns to you one day and — by way of trying to help you manage your expectations with girls — informed you that, sorry … you’re kind of ugly.

Awkward.

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Sundance 2013: Female directors poised to make their mark at indie festival

Cannes, take note.

Call it feminist, call it a full shift in the zeitgeist, call it the seeds of a movie industry revolution, but the Sundance Film Festival has shoved Hollywood into the 21st century when it comes to the inclusion of women filmmakers.

Last May, the Cannes Film Festival’s competitive Palme D’Or line-up sparked controversy over its dearth of female directors. This year’s annual Sundance fest in Park City, Utah, which runs from Jan. 17-27, for the very first time features an equal number of male and female directors in its 16-film U.S. Dramatic Competition category, ranging from Lynn Shelton’s Touchy Feely, starring Rosemarie DeWitt (pictured in the exclusive photo above), to Liz Garcia’s The Lifeguard, featuring Kristen Bell, Francesca Gregorini’s Emanuel and the Truth About Fishes, starring Jessica Biel, Jerusha Hess’s Austenland with Keri Russell, Lake Bell’s In a World, also starring the actress-director, and Stacie Passon’s Concussion.

EW connected with Shelton, Garcia, Gregorini, Hess, Passon, and Bell, as well as actresses Casey Wilson and June Diane Raphael, who co-wrote the saucy Sundance Midnight screening selection Ass Backwards, and Richard E. Robbins, who directed the CNN Films documentary Girl Rising, which will have scenes shown at Sundance. Absolute joy and excitement resonated through phone and email conversations with the filmmakers, who touted the bright future for women directors — Kathryn Bigelow’s name may be the biggest out there these days, but many more are on the horizon.
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