L.A. Women’s Fest opens with ‘Dance’

Eight women-directed pics from around the globe highlight event

The Los Angeles Intl. Women’s Festival kicks off tonight with the premiere of Sony’s “Dance With Me,” a romantic yarn with a Latin beat set in the world of competition dancing. The film, set to open late June, is directed by Randa Haines and stars Vanessa Williams and Chayanne.

A co-venture of the UCLA Film and Television Archive, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Directors Guild, presents eight movies from around the world directed by women.

Opening night is at the Directors Guild, with the remainder of the screenings unspooling at the James Bridges Theatre at UCLA and a Thursday evening symposium at the Academy. The festival concludes Sunday.

Among the titles to be shown are the Sundance competition documentary “Some Nudity Required.” Odette Springer’s first-person examination of the erotic film scene in L.A. earned praise as incisive and cathartic.

The best-known filmmaker repped is Hong Kong’s Ann Hui, who’s present with “Eighteen Springs,” set in Shanghai in the 1930s and ’40s. The unusual family drama is ultimately about a woman taking hold of an intolerable situation as war wages in the background.

Similarly, “Gesche’s Gift” from Germany chronicles the true life saga of a 19th century woman who murders 15 people in the often-misguided defense of herself and loved ones.

Another lauded entry is “Under the Skin,” focusing on sisters confronted with the approaching death of their mother, played by Rita Tushingham.

Other films in the program include “The Well” from Australia, the French “Clubbed to Death” and the Tunisian-set “Honey and Ashes.”

Further information on the event is available by calling the UCLA Archive at: (310)-206-FILM.