Winning ‘Signature Move’ Explores Life, Lucha, Lady Love


Opening today in NYC on spooky Friday, October 13, Signature Move, directed by Jennifer Reeder, seems to have the best of luck and buzz surrounding it. The feature premiered at SXSW in 2017, and made the rounds of some prestigious festivals, garnering Grand Jury Award for “Outstanding American Narrative Feature” at L.A. Outfest. Redder won “Best Director Award” at FilmOut San Diego.

The log line verbiage for Signature Move is smart: “multi-cultural romance about life, love and lady Lucha-style wrestling.” Zaynab (Fawzia Mirza, the film’s writer along with Lisa Donato) is a Pakistani, Muslim lesbian who lives with and cares for her mother Parveen (Indian film legend Shabana Azmi) who is on the lookout for a husband for her daughter. She meets Alma (Sari Sanchez) in a bar, sexy love unfolds, and Zaynab grapples with her identity and Lucha-style wrestling.

Before this feature debut, Reeder had been heralded for the short films Blood Below the Skin (2015) and A Million Miles Away (2014). In a refreshing revelation (in contrast to Harvey Weinstein dry heaves), the crew members for Signature Move were mostly women, in front of and behind the camera. Reeder told New York Women in Film & TV, “It wasn’t just me as a director. The first assistant director was a woman, there were two female producers, the art department was all women, the makeup department was all women, the camera department was women.”

When asked about the distinctions she brings to the screen as a woman, Reeder said, “I am fascinated by how particular and precise our coping mechanisms are as humans. There are so many films that get it wrong, especially when it comes to how women respond to trauma. We’re so used to seeing a woman who turns into a raging bitch or is just crying all the time. In real life we do the most beautifully strange things, and trauma can be quite a small thing for some people or a catastrophe for others.”

Beautifully strange things—exactly what the Signature Move trailer promises.

Signature Move (Newcity) is directed by Jennifer Reeder, co written by Fawzia Mirza and Lisa Donato and stars Fawzia Mirza and Sari Sanchez. The film opens in New York City at the Village East beginning Friday, October 13th.

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