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The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

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October 4, 2022

Six women-led films premiering at SXSW

Emma George

South By Southwest has always been a paragon of film festivals for independent filmmakers everywhere, giving them the opportunity to share their films with vast audiences and renowned creatives, producers and critics. Last year, films directed or co-directed by women dominated the film competition lineups at 70% overall. 

In honor of Women’s History Month, The Daily Texan has compiled a list of women-led films premiering at the 2021 SXSW film festival next week. 

“Women is Losers”

From the narrative feature competition section of the festival comes a film brought to life by Lissette Feliciano, the director, screenwriter and producer of “Women is Losers.” According to SXSW Online, Feliciano is a recipient of the Tribeca Film Institute’s AT&T Untold Stories grant and was named one of Shoot Magazine’s new directors to watch. Her film follows a Catholic school girl in 1960s San Francisco facing the brutal and constraining forces of poverty and trying to make a future for herself, setting a new example for the time. “Women is Losers” premieres on Tuesday, March 16. 

“Introducing, Selma Blair”

From the documentary feature competition, this film will illustrate actress Selma Blair’s attempt to regain control over her health after she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2018. Blair is forced to find new ways to move through life and even pursues a risky medical procedure on her quest for autonomy from the disease. Director Rachel Fleit is a recipient of the first annual Women’s Fund Grant from Made in NY/Mayor’s Office for Film & Television for her short documentary film “Ava & Bianca,” according to SXSW Online. Premiering on Tuesday, March 16, “Introducing, Selma Blair” will be Fleit’s first documentary feature film. 

“Subjects of Desire”

Another selection from the documentary feature film lineup, “Subjects of Desire” investigates the shift in beauty culture toward accepting and embracing Black aesthetics and physical features. The film will dissect the intersection of race and the power behind beauty. Director Jennifer Holness has been a documentary filmmaker for almost 20 years, co-producing “Stateless,” which premiered at Hot Docs in 2020, where it won the festival’s Special Jury Prize, according to SXSW Online. “Subjects of Desire” premieres on Wednesday, March 17. 


Co-directed by Paola Calvo, “Luchadoras” tells the story of the brave female wrestlers of Ciudad Juárez, a city known for its staggering murder rate and violence toward women, according to SXSW Online. These women fight to reinvent what it means to be a woman in Mexico inside and outside of the ring. In addition to directing, Calvo, born in Caracas, Venezuela, was a cinematographer for the films “Violently Happy” and “Tell Me When….” “Luchadoras” premieres on Wednesday, March 17.

“Here Before”

Another pick from the narrative feature competition, “Here Before” was written and directed by Stacey Gregg, a UK-based theater and television writer, and produced by Sophie Vickers and Julia Godzinskaya. The psychological thriller follows a grieving mother who begins to question her reality after new neighbors move in next door, according to SXSW Online. “Here Before” premieres on Wednesday, March 17.


Justine Bateman is the writer, director and co-producer of this 2020 Spotlight film, which follows a film executive who realizes the “guiding voice” inside her head has been lying to her, according to SXSW Online. Bateman has worked on renowned projects such as “Family Ties” and “Arrested Development,” and she has been nominated for a Golden Globe and two Emmy awards. “Violet” is her directorial feature film debut, premiering on Thursday, March 18.

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About the Contributor
Emma George, Comics Editor
Emma is currently a Spring 2023 Comics Editor. She is a junior civil engineering major whoe loves to draw, read, and visiting art museums. She has previously been a Comics sStaffer and Comics Senior Illustrator.
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Six women-led films premiering at SXSW