Female Filmmaker Friday: Sara Colangelo, Winner of Sundance's Directing Award

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Sara Colangelo is a New York-based writer/director who graduated from New York University. Her short film Little Accidents, the story of a female factory worker who gets her disabled ex-boyfriend to steal a pregnancy test, put her on the map as a filmmaker to watch. In 2014, she made her feature debut with Little Accidents, loosely based on her short film, starring Elizabeth Banks and Boyd Holbrook.

In 2018, Colangelo’s short film The Kindergarten Teacher, starring Maggie Gyllenhaal, made its debut at Sundance Film Festival. It is a remake of the Israeli film by director Nadav Lapid. The story of a young student (Parker Sevak) who shows tremendous abilities in poetry and his teacher (Gyllenhaal) who struggles with her own poetic ambitions. The film leads with this anti-hero, female protagonist who audiences may struggle to like, but that is her appeal. Many men, especially recently, have been playing the anti-hero to rave reviews and support. However, women characters of the same nature have received less acclaim. Colangelo admits she usually has to write her own female characters in order to make them complex. “I’m sick of women having to be so likable all the time. We’re nuanced creatures, like men. Men get to be antiheroes in cinema, and we should too.”

The Kindergarten Teacher won Sara Colangelo Sundance’s Directing Award in the U.S. Dramatic category. The film is still looking for a US distributor. Learn more about The Kindergarten Teacher in this interview with Sara Colanelo.