In the Company of Women

Institute History

  • 2004 Sundance Film Festival


For most women, enjoying American movies means learning to enter the male psyche and identify with the struggle of male protagonists. Within the territory of the American independent film movement, however, women have begun to grab the reins and tell their own stories. A documentary whose time has come, In the Company of Women chronicles and celebrates the contributions of women to independent film over the last two decades.

With the help of plentiful clips, critics and artists describe a cinematic phenomenon fueled by the rising influence of feminism. Beginning in the 1980s, Lizzie Borden, Susan Seidelman, and Nancy Savoca hit a chord with audiences when they planted female characters and concerns front and center in films like Desperately Seeking Susan and True Love. The 1990s saw a veritable flowering of femme films.

Directors like Jodie Foster, Allison Anders, and Lisa Cholodenko, along with actresses Tilda Swinton, Lili Taylor, and Rosie Perez and opinion makers B. Ruby Rich, Amy Taubin, and Sundance's own Shari Frilot, weigh in with observations on a body of work that provocatively explored themes never before seen on screen. From movies about alternative families to beauty and the body, transgressive sexualities, ambition and anger, female artists stretched the cinematic playing field and, by extension, American society.

— Caroline Libresco

Screening Details


As you use our Online Archives, please understand that the information presented from Festivals, Labs, and other activities is taken directly from official publications from each year. While this information is limited and doesn't necessarily represent the full list of participants (e.g. actors and crew), it is the list given to us by the main film/play/project contact at the time, based on the space restrictions of our publications. Each entry in the Online Archives is meant as a historical record of a particular film, play, or project at the time of its involvement with Sundance Institute. For this reason, we can only amend an entry if a name is misspelled, or if the entry does not correctly reflect the original publication. If you have questions or comments, please email [email protected]