Movies by women, starring women, about women. Tribeca Film Festival has found some groundbreaking films being made by females this year. Last night, the concert doc Mary J Blige – The London Sessions bowed following the R&B artist recording her 13th studio album. Blige capped off the premiere at the Beacon theater with a live performance. Also premiering was Diane Bell’s sophomore directorial feature Bleeding Heart about a reserved yoga instructor, May (Jessica Biel) whose zen life with her boyfriend is thrown into disarray with the arrival of her free spirited, long-lost sister Shiva (Zosia Mamet). May finds herself having to protect Shiva, who is a sex worker, from her domineering pimp boyfriend Cody (Joe Anderson). When he tries to attack Shiva, May takes matters in her own hands.
Bell, who also wrote the film, told Deadline at our Tribeca Film Festival studio, “We’re still suffering from a dearth of good roles for women.” Quite often, foreign sales agents have an upbill battle when selling rights to female-driven dramas to foreign buyers. “I don’t believe as an artist you can trouble yourself with those (industry) labels,” said Bell who found solid financial partners on Bleeding Heart in Super Crispy Entertainment who’ve been behind such notable arthouse titles as Like Crazy and Smashed.
Rather than cold call talent agents, Bell credits landing her stellar headliners to her casting director Richard Hicks. “He typically works on bigger films, but he believed in the material so much and thought the script offered amazing roles for actors, he took us on.”
Zosia Mamet, who read for the part after seeing Bell’s first movie Obselidia said, “It was a super unique script about humans being humans. And when done well, that’s some of the most engaging entertainment ever. Something I really search for in my career –especially being on a show so widely known (HBO’s Girls) where I play a specific type of character– are characters I haven’t played before.”
As the daughter to award-winning playwright David Mamet, Zosia Mamet says that dad never gives her acting notes. “No, we keep it seperate,” says the actress. In regards to when she’ll get to work with dad, she told Deadline, “the opportunity hasn’t presented itself yet. But I love him.” She started working on the fifth season of Girls on Tuesday and will wrap in early August.
ICM is repping sales on Bleeding Heart and there’s screenings throughout the festival from April 17-April 25.