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'The Square' Wins Big at 2017 European Film Awards

'The Square' Wins Big at 2017 European Film Awards
Ruben Ostlund's The Square, a satire of the art world starring Claes Bang, Elisabeth Moss and Dominic West, was the big winner of this year's European Film Awards, taking home honors for best film, director, comedy, screenplay and actor for Bang on Saturday.

The Swedish director thanked the European Film Academy for acknowledging a feature that, while dealing with serious issues, still strives to be entertaining.

"We wanted to say something important, but we also wanted it to be entertaining and exciting — I think it's part of a European approach," said Ostlund, citing Maren Ade's Toni...
See full article at The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News »

Sight & Sound’s 2017 Critics’ Poll Includes “Mudbound,” “Zama,” and More Women-Directed Films

Mudbound

Sight & Sound asked 180 critics to pick their top five films of the year, and the results are in. The UK mag announced the 20 films to receive the most votes, and six are helmed by women. The highest-placing woman-directed pic on the list is Lucrecia Martel’s long-awaited epic “Zama.” An adaptation of Antonio Di Benedetto’s 1956 novel of the same name, the drama is set in the 18th century and centers on a Spanish officer stationed in a remote South American town awaiting a transfer to Buenos Aires. Argentina’s foreign-language Oscar pick earned the fourth-highest amount of votes in the poll.

Just behind “Zama” is Valeska Grisebach’s “Western,” which scored fifth place. Set in rural Bulgaria, the pic follows a group of German construction workers who are installing a hydroelectric plant. “I grew up with the Western genre, sitting in front of a TV set in 1970s West Berlin.
See full article at Women and Hollywood »

Debate Over Dieter Kosslick’s Leadership of the Berlinale Heats Up

Debate Over Dieter Kosslick’s Leadership of the Berlinale Heats Up
Debate over the future direction of the Berlin Film Festival has intensified in Germany, with a slew of high-profile industry players throwing their support behind longtime chief Dieter Kosslick in response to a call by dozens of German filmmakers for a new start when his contract expires in 2019.

Germany’s Association of Film Distributors, Studio Babelsberg and the German Federal Film Board have all expressed support for Kosslick and praised his leadership of the Berlinale and contributions to the industry in what has become an extraordinary public dispute barely two months before the 2019 edition of the festival.

In an open letter last week, 79 German filmmakers, includin Maren Ade and Fatih Akin, called for “a new start” at the festival and recommended a transparent process in selecting Kosslick’s successor and examining fundamental changes to the event. The letter’s demand for a new director who is “an outstanding curatorial personality” and “passionate about cinema” and its insinuation
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Filmmakers Call For Berlin Film Festival Overhaul When Dieter Kosslick Exits

Filmmakers Call For Berlin Film Festival Overhaul When Dieter Kosslick Exits
With Berlin Film Festival chief Dieter Kosslick's contract set to expire in 2019, a group of 79 prominent filmmakers has called for an overhaul of the Berlinale and is advocating a new procedure to find his replacement. In a letter signed by the likes of such fest circuit and foreign language luminaries as Fatih Akin, Maren Ade, Christian Petzold, Volker Schlondorff and Margarethe von Trotta, the filmmakers say the fest needs a "fresh start." With a reorganization of the…
See full article at Deadline »

Directors Call for Overhaul of Berlin Film Festival After Dieter Kosslick Departs

Directors Call for Overhaul of Berlin Film Festival After Dieter Kosslick Departs
A group of 79 German filmmakers including Maren Ade (“Tony Erdmann”), Fatih Akin (“In the Fade”) and Robert Schwentke (“The Captain”) has called for “a new start” for the Berlin Film Festival after longtime festival director Dieter Kosslick’s contract expires in 2019.

In an open letter published by Spiegel Online, the filmmakers recommend the formation of a gender-balanced international selection committee charged with finding Kosslick’s successor and weighing fundamental changes to the event.

“The goal must be to find an outstanding curatorial personality who is passionate about cinema, well-connected internationally and capable of leading the festival into the future on an equal footing with Cannes and Venice,” the letter read. “We want a transparent procedure and a new start.”

The letter, whose signatories also include Andreas Dresen, Sebastian Schipper, Volker Schlöndorff, Dominik Graf, Christian Petzold, Doris Dörrie, Maria Schrader, Hans-Christian Schmid and Rosa von Praunheim, is seen as a public rebuke of the Kosslick era, during which the
See full article at Variety - Film News »

German Filmmakers Call for "New Beginning" at Berlin Festival

German Filmmakers Call for
Several dozen of Germany's top directors, including Oscar-nominated Maren Ade (Toni Erdmann) and In the Fade filmmaker Fatih Akin, have signed an open letter calling for a “new beginning” at the Berlin International Film Festival.

The letter, first published exclusively on Spiegel Online, calls for a major overhaul at Germany's leading film fest once longtime director Dieter Kosslick steps down. Kosslick, who has run the Berlin Festival since 2001, is under contract through 2019.

In their letter, the directors — including such art house luminaries as Christian Petzold, Andreas Dresen, Volker Schlondorff and Margarethe von Trotta — say the...
See full article at The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News »

Foreign-Language Oscar Race is 27 Percent Women-Directed

Mattie Do’s “Dearest Sister” was submitted by Laos

We’ll have to wait until January 23 for Oscar nominations to be announced, but the Academy has released the titles of all of the films competing in the foreign-language Oscar race. According to Deadline, a record-setting number of countries have submitted films for consideration in the category. Of 92 films vying for a nomination, 25 are directed or co-directed by women by our count — an encouraging 27 percent. A nine-film shortlist will follow before final nominations are revealed.

Nineteen percent of last year’s crop of films submitted in this category were directed or co-directed by women. Just one of them ended up scoring a nod — Maren Ade’s daughter-father dramedy “Toni Erdmann.”

For comparison’s sake, consider the fact that none of this year’s or last year’s Best Picture nominees were helmed by women. The last time a woman-directed film received a Best Picture nomination was Ava DuVernay’s “Selma” back in 2015. So, women directors are better represented in the foreign-language category — featuring women directors from all over the world — than the largely American Best Picture race.

We’ve reported on some of the women-helmed features that have been submitted for the upcoming 90th Academy Awards, including Roya Sadat’s “A Letter to the President,” a drama about an official grappling with tribal laws, Angelina Jolie’s “First They Killed My Father,” an adaptation of human rights activist Loung Ung’s non-fiction book, and Annemarie Jacir’s “Wajib,” a dramedy about a father and his estranged son.

Other titles in the running include Mattie Do’s “Dearest Sister,” the story of a girl who can communicate with the dead, and Mijke de Jong’s “Layla M.” a drama about a teenage Muslim who becomes radicalized.

Check out all of the women-directed films submitted by their respective countries below. List adapted from Deadline.

Afghanistan, “A Letter to the President,” Roya Sadat, director;

Argentina, “Zama,” Lucrecia Martel, director;

Armenia, “Yeva,” Anahit Abad, director;

Australia, “The Space Between,” Ruth Borgobello, director;

Bulgaria, “Glory,” Petar Valchanov, Kristina Grozeva, directors;

Cambodia, “First They Killed My Father,” Angelina Jolie, director;

Croatia, “Quit Staring at My Plate,” Hana Jušić, director;;

Ecuador, “Alba,” Ana Cristina Barragán, director;

Georgia, “Scary Mother,” Ana Urushadze, director;

Haiti, “Ayiti Mon Amour,” Guetty Felin, director;

Hungary, “On Body and Soul,” Ildikó Enyedi, director;

Iran, “Breath,” Narges Abyar, director;

Lao People’s Democratic Republic, “Dearest Sister,” Mattie Do, director;

Luxembourg, “Barrage,” Laura Schroeder, director;

Mexico, “Tempestad,” Tatiana Huezo, director;

Netherlands, “Layla M.,” Mijke de Jong, director;

Palestine, “Wajib,” Annemarie Jacir, director;

Panama, “Beyond Brotherhood,” Arianne Benedetti, director;

Poland, “Spoor,” Agnieszka Holland, Kasia Adamik, directors;

Singapore, “Pop Aye,” Kirsten Tan, director;

Slovenia, “The Miner,” Hanna A. W. Slak, director;

Spain, “Summer 1993,” Carla Simón, director;

Switzerland, “The Divine Order,” Petra Volpe, director;

Taiwan, “Small Talk,” Hui-Chen Huang, director;

Thailand, “By the Time It Gets Dark,” Anocha Suwichakornpong, director;

Foreign-Language Oscar Race is 27 Percent Women-Directed was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
See full article at Women and Hollywood »

The 25 Best Female Movie Performances of the 21st Century

  • Indiewire
The 25 Best Female Movie Performances of the 21st Century
Much has been made about the dearth of strong female roles in contemporary cinema, and the problematic depictions of women in many recent movies, but the past two decades have provided plenty of counterexamples. While the onus is on writers and directors to craft strong female characters, the actresses themselves bring these figures to life, and they’re often the main reason we keep being drawn back to these works.

In no particular order, our favorite — and we’d like to think the best — female performances of the 21st century.

Isabelle Huppert, “Elle

Paul Verhoeven’s “Elle” begins with a laugh that catches in your throat: A wide-eyed cat looks off-screen to the screams of a man and woman in apparent orgiastic bliss. Then comes the cutaway, which reveals a far more nefarious incident: Middle-aged Michéle (Isabelle Huppert), in the process of getting raped by a masked assailant on the floor of her home.
See full article at Indiewire »

Julie Delpy to Receive Honorary Tribute at 30th European Film Awards

Julie Delpy to Receive Honorary Tribute at 30th European Film Awards
Julie Delpy, the Oscar-nominated French-American writer, filmmaker and actress, will receive the European Achievement in World Cinema award at the 30th European Film Awards in December. The honor recognizes Delpy’s rich and diverse career in front of and behind the camera.

The Paris-born Delpy is best known for her role opposite Ethan Hawke in Richard Linklater’s “Before Sunrise” (1995), “Before Sunset” (2004) and “Before Midnight” (2013), which she co-wrote. Delpy received an Oscar nomination in screenwriting for “Before Sunset” and “Before Midnight” (shared with Linklater and Hawke) as well as a Golden Globe nomination for her performance in the latter.

A graduate of Nyu’s Tisch School of the Arts, Delpy has directed, written or acted in more than 30 films. She’s been nominated at the European Film Awards twice, first as an actress in Volker Schlöndorff’s “Homo Faber,” in 1991, and as a director in 2007 with “2 Days in Paris,” which also earned a Cesar nomination. Her
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Harry Gittes, Producer and Longtime Friend of Jack Nicholson, Dies at 81

Harry Gittes, Producer and Longtime Friend of Jack Nicholson, Dies at 81
Harry Gittes, who produced multiple movies starring Jack Nicholson, died of natural causes on Sept. 2. He was 81.

Gittes attended the University of Massachusetts at Amherst before starting his career as an advertising copywriter and photographer in New York. In the ’60s, he began shooting album covers for the likes of Woody Allen and Cass Elliot at the Bitter End, New York’s oldest rock club. Gittes also photographed then-up-and-comers including Nicholson, Elliott Gould, and Liza Minnelli.

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He became friends with producer Roy Silver, who eventually sparked Gittes’ future as a film producer. Together, they produced the 1969 pilot of the animated special “Hey, Hey, Hey, It’s Fat Albert.”

Gittes also cultivated a friendship with Nicholson, and produced several projects with the actor-director, including “Goin’ South,” “Drive, He Said,” and “About Schmidt.” Nicholson’s character in 1974 classic “Chinatown,” private investigator J.J. Gittes, was named after the producer.

Gittes
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Tiff 2017 Women Directors: Meet Ingrid Veninger — “Porcupine Lake”

Porcupine Lake

Ingrid Veninger is a writer, producer, and director whose work has premiered at numerous festivals around the world. Previous feature films include “He Hated Pigeons,” “I am a Good Person/I am a Bad Person,” and “Only.” In 2014, Ingrid initiated the pUNK Films Femmes Lab to foster feature films written and directed by Canadian women. The lab is sponsored by Academy Award winner Melissa Leo.

Porcupine Lake” will premiere at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival on September 10.

W&H: Describe the film for us in your own words.

IV: “Porcupine Lake” is about a hot and hazy summertime when you’re 13 and, more than anything else, you want a friend who makes you feel less alone in the world.

W&H: What drew you to this story?

IV: I wanted to tell a story about the complicated dynamics between young girls that reflected my experience. A story about the kind of friendship that changes the course of your life.

W&H: What do you want people to think about when they are leaving the theater?

IV: I’d like people not only to remember being 13, but actually have some kind of physical chemical reaction and feel 13 again — complete with hot flashes of uncertainty, confusion, and great beauty.

Ultimately, I’d like people to have a heart-trip.

W&H: What was the biggest challenge in making the film?

IV: Casting was a big challenge. I wanted real 13-year-olds in the leads, not 16-year-olds playing younger.

I had a teen actor cancel two weeks before production, which had a domino effect because I was building an on-screen family; losing one actor actually meant re-casting five roles. The roles of the parents and the extensive supporting cast were comprised of veteran actors and first timers.

For me, the beauty and the challenge of directing fiction is to make the gazillion efforts seem effortless.

W&H: How did you get your film funded? Share some insights into how you got the film made.

IV: First, I successfully applied to the Canadian Feature Film Fund at Telefilm Canada. Second, I secured a Canadian distributor, Films We Like, who paid a minimum guarantee. Next, I submitted tax credit applications — both provincial and federal — which is a lengthy process. Lastly, I successfully applied for equity investment to Bell Media’s Harold Greenberg Fund.

I like the producing side of making movies — not as much as directing, but I can really appreciate a solid budget and a well-crafted agreement. For the first time, I worked with an executive producer, Randi Kirshenbaum, and financial advisor, Craig Merritt, who have shared the load with me.

W&H: What does it mean for you to have your film play at Tiff?

IV: A world premiere at Tiff means a sold-out theater and a fantastic launch pad for a wider international release.

Today, we printed stickers and received our confirmed Tiff schedule, so I’m prepping the postcards, planning our Tiff party, sending hundreds of emails each day, living on social media, and eating lots of ice cream.

All friends of Women and Hollywood are invited to our Tiff party. Just join our Facebook page for party details.

W&H: What’s the best and worst advice you’ve received?

IV: Best advice: Always be true to your word. Appreciate the hard work of others. Take nothing for granted.

Worst advice: So much bad advice. Where do I start? How about the worst advice from this month: Cut your dreadlocks if you want to get ahead in this industry. Stop making “small movies” because no one will believe you can make something bigger (Oh, I can, try me). Your demo reel needs a car crash and more sex.

W&H: What advice do you have for other female directors?

IV: My advice is not for other female directors. It’s for everybody else: #HireHer.

W&H: Name your favorite woman-directed film and why.

IV: It’s impossible for me to name just one, so here are five:

Céline Sciamma’s “Girlhood,” Maren Ade’s “Toni Erdmann,” Pia Marais’ “At Ellen’s Age,” Anne Émond’s “Nelly,” and Ava DuVernay’s “13th.”

Their work is potent, fierce, personal, inspiring, and urgent.

W&H: There have been significant conversations over the last couple of years about increasing the amount of opportunities for women directors yet the numbers have not increased. Are you optimistic about the possibilities for change? Share any thoughts you might have on this topic.

IV: More opportunities for women directors continue to be a challenge. Canada is moving in the right direction with Tiff’s recent “Share Her Journey” initiative and Telefilm Canada’s measures to achieve a balanced production portfolio — at all budget levels — by 2020. This will reflect gender parity amongst directors, writers, and producers.

Porcupine Lake” was born out of the support of an incredible circle of women. I’m optimistic that as long as we support and champion each other from the inside, the rest of the world will eventually catch up. Why? Because our passion and perseverance are undeniable.

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Tiff 2017 Women Directors: Meet Ingrid Veninger — “Porcupine Lake” was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
See full article at Women and Hollywood »

Tiff 2017 Women Directors: Meet Kathleen Hepburn — “Never Steady, Never Still”

“Never Steady, Never Still”

Kathleen Hepburn is a Vancouver born writer and director. “Never Steady, Never Still” is an expansion on a short with the same name, which was selected as one of Tiff’s Canada’s Top Ten. She has been awarded Leo’s for Best Dramatic Short and Best Direction in 2016, and Most Promising Canadian Director at the 2015 Vancouver International Film Festival.

In 2012, along with Tyler Hagan, she co-founded Experimental Forest Films, an independent production company based in Vancouver, BC.

“Never Steady, Never Still” will premiere at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival on September 9.

W&H: Describe the film for us in your own words.

Kh: “Never Steady, Never Still” is a film that explores the gap between what we need from each other and what we’re able to give. It tells the the story of a woman struggling through the advanced stages of Parkinson’s disease, and her teenage son, a reluctant oil field worker who is faced with the daunting task of having to fill the shoes of his father, the caregiver, at the tender age of eighteen.

As they try to navigate their separate lives, both are hampered by the debilitating fear of not being enough for one another.

W&H: What drew you to this story?

Kh: I couldn’t escape this story because it is one that has permeated my life. My mother was diagnosed with Parkinson’s about 24 years ago, when I was only nine, so the disease has been an ever-present reality in my world for almost as long as I can remember.

I think I was first drawn to tell it because I wanted to know what my mother felt. I wanted to feel it myself, and I thought that I could, by writing about it, get a better sense of that. But in the end I think the film became much more selfish — it became more about the son’s struggle between needing a mother to hold him up, and not being a good enough caregiver for her.

So the emotional struggle of the son was very personal to me, but the literal character of the son was inspired by a poet I admire named Mathew Henderson, who worked in the oil and gas industry at a young age and wrote a wonderful book about his time there entitled “The Lease.”

W&H: What do you want people to think about when they are leaving the theater?

Kh: I want people to think about their own families and their mothers and their children and what they wish they could say to them. It’s such a beautiful and heartbreaking relationship — I think the most heartbreak we’ll ever experience is with our own children.

But I want them to recognize the strength in the mothers in this film and to appreciate that there is so much love and tenderness in the world, despite all the hardship.

W&H: What was the biggest challenge in making the film?

Kh: The biggest challenge in making the film was writing the script to begin with, and facing the rejection when trying to get it made. It’s a very personal film, so the writing of it was a slow and arduous process. It took about five years from first draft to securing our funding, and it’s my first feature, so I hadn’t built up the armor yet for all that.

After that, the logistics of shooting were extremely challenging. We shot over two seasons in the very remote northern towns of Fort St. James and Fort St. John, BC, where we had, for the most part, no running water or cell phone reception in the dead of winter. So, as you can imagine, the winter shoot was incredibly taxing. The spring shoot was practically a vacation.

W&H: How did you get your film funded? Share some insights into how you got the film made.

Kh: The very first funder to come on the film, and the one that really championed the film throughout, was the Women in the Director’s Chair (Widc) award, which is an in-kind award sponsorship worth about $120,000 (Cad). We also were lucky enough to be able to find funding through our arts council to produce a short film of the same name, which went on to premiere at Tiff and play in the Canada’s Top Ten circuit, so that garnered us some momentum.

After that we brought the project to our government funding body Telefilm, and an equity investment fund, The Harold Greenberg Fund, and once we had Shirley Henderson on board, managed to secure our Canadian and UK distributor, Thunderbird Releasing (formally Soda Pictures). So we went a very traditional Canadian route with this film.

W&H: What does it mean for you to have your film play at the Toronto International Film Festival?

Kh: It’s huge for us to have the film premiere at Tiff. As a festival, Tiff is so incredibly supportive of its talent and really does a tremendous job of helping us to build a presence, particularly in the Canadian film community, which is vital to getting the next film made and the one after that.

It’s such a terrifying experience to make a film, put it out into the world, and not know how people are going to react to it, but having the support of Tiff is an incredible relief because you know people are going to be there — they’re going to watch it and give you the benefit of the doubt — which is a relief since the biggest fear is having the film disappear into the ether with no one to watch it.

W&H: What’s the best and worst advice you’ve received?

Kh: When Shirley Henderson said yes to starring in this film, I was stunned. She’s worked with many of my biggest heroes: Mike Leigh, Ken Loach, Kelly Reichardt, and here I’ve done nothing and I’m asking her to fly 17 hours out to the middle of nowhere to work for a paltry wage.

I never expected her to actually go for it, so when she got there and we sat down for the first time I asked her, “Why on earth did you say yes?” And she said to me, in her charming Scottish accent, “Well, I quite liked the script and I liked you, and I thought the worst that could happen is that it’s rubbish.” And that just took about a hundred pounds of pressure off of me, because what she was saying was, I’ve done this a million times before and I’m here now to work with you, and we’ll try our best and see what happens.

You can’t be afraid to take risks, because if you aren’t striving for something beyond your comfort zone, then what’s the point, but you also have to relax and realize the process is the reward, and then you have to be Ok if you fail. That’s probably the hardest reality to face — that failure is not the end of the world.

W&H: What advice do you have for other female directors?

Kh: Take yourself seriously, but not too seriously. But take your work very seriously and commit to it, because if you don’t, no one else is going to. Treat it like a job that you love because if it’s not, why are you torturing yourself?

And don’t compromise your creative intent. I don’t mean be delusional about what you can achieve with the resources you have, but I think as women, compromise is ingrained in us, we feel we need to be peacemakers, but when it comes to your film, you know in your gut what’s right for it and you need to stand by that.

W&H: Name your favorite woman-directed film and why.

Kh: At the moment, “Toni Erdmann” by Maren Ade is my absolute favorite recent film directed by a woman. She has an incredible ability to observe and create the most honest and intimate forms of human behavior. Her writing in this film is unstoppable — it’s phenomenal.

Every scene hits you with these little gifts of surprise one after another. I think that’s what’s most exciting about it, the surprise and the joy coupled with heartbreaking sadness. She’s an absolute master.

W&H: There have been significant conversations over the last couple of years about increasing the amount of opportunities for women directors yet the numbers have not increased. Are you optimistic about the possibilities for change? Share any thoughts you might have on this topic.

Kh: I am optimistic, particularly in Canada, because we can mandate change here maybe in a way that’s not possible in the U.S., because our major funding bodies are government bodies. You see countries like Sweden taking the lead and I think there will continue to be movement here, though it’s much slower than we’d like to see.

Our National Film Board just instituted some very positive changes with gender parity in creative roles and an increase in focus on Indigenous creators. I do feel like for women and Poc having stability in their careers is still a massive obstacle, because we often don’t get second chances from decision-makers, but I think we have to remain optimistic about change because the only other option is defeat.

I just hope we can achieve significant change before the focus shifts, as I feel women and Poc are being given a platform right now because it’s a hot topic, but I worry that the trend may pass soon.

Tiff 2017 Women Directors: Meet Kathleen Hepburn — “Never Steady, Never Still” was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
See full article at Women and Hollywood »

Tiff 2017 Women Directors: Meet Molly McGlynn — “Mary Goes Round”

Mary Goes Round

Molly McGlynn is a Canadian writer and director. Her previous short films include “I Am Not a Weird Person,” “Shoes,” and “3-Way (Not Calling).” “Mary Goes Round” is her first feature film. In 2015, she was selected as a Talent Lab Resident at the Reykjavik International Film Festival and as a Samsung Tiff Emerging Director.

Mary Goes Round” will premiere at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival on September 9.

W&H: Describe the film for us in your own words.

Mm: “Mary Goes Round” is largely about overcoming alienation, both personal and familial, and the relief that comes with the acceptance. The film centers around a substance abuse counselor who returns to her childhood home after a DUI to meet her half-sister but learns that her estranged father is dying of cancer.

It’s about a woman who is forced to take care of a parent who she thinks let her down while simultaneously dealing with her personal demons for the sake of a teenage girl.

In the end, it’s about acts of love and taking care — not in the inane, vague email sign-off way but in a way that involves kindness and self-awareness. I wanted to unravel the sometimes circuitous way of viewing ourselves and assumptions about family relationships.

It sounds super heavy, but there’s a lot of humor and levity as well. Probably has something to do with Irish Catholic roots, but I find the darkest moments in are lives can also be the most morbidly funny as well.

W&H: What drew you to this story?

Mm: It was one I needed to tell. I think there’s an old saying about making the film you need to before the one you should? It’s not autobiographical, but in many ways, I drew upon my experiences with self-identity and my relationship to my family. In making this film, I was able to create an alternate reality where I could creatively explore my deepest fears, regrets, and hopes that may or may not play out in real life.

Probably the most powerful moment on set for me was seeing a scene that was quite difficult for me to write emotionally and watching Aya Cash, who plays Mary, bring something that was totally hers to the performance. It is an amazing thing to see an actor take your words and transform them to something that belongs to them. There is comfort in how unoriginal the narratives of lives really are.

W&H: What do you want people to think about when they are leaving the theater?

Mm: I want people to be moved and hopefully have laughed a bit, but maybe they will think about the parts of themselves or their history that they’ve avoided and what it would look like to confront those dark corners.

It ends on a beginning of sorts so I’d like the audience to think about beginnings. There is always time for a new one, I think.

W&H: What was the biggest challenge in making the film?

Mm: I’d never made a feature before, so naturally it was overwhelming from a logistical and mental standpoint. The film had a very, very small budget — around a quarter of a million dollars — and the script called for about thirty locations and thirty speaking roles. With a team of absolute heroes behind me, we got it done.

Second to the logistical stuff, it can be overwhelming as a first-time director. I just kind of told myself I can do it and put one foot in front of the other until it was done. Fear is a powerful motivator but can really inhibit you once you’re in it.

W&H: How did you get your film funded? Share some insights into how you got the film made.

Mm: Telefilm Canada has a Microbudget Programme supported by the Talent Fund that awards emerging filmmakers from certain accredited institutions — in my case, the Canadian Film Centre — with a grant to make their first feature. Additionally, we were supported by the Harold Greenberg Fund both in development and production. I also had additional investment from Wildling Pictures, the production company that produced the film. Yay, Canada!

W&H: What does it mean for you to have your film play at the Toronto International Film Festival?

Mm: It was my absolute goal and dream to premiere here. About ten years ago, I started out as an intern before leaving to pursue my own work in a roundabout way, and there is no way I thought I’d be on this side of things. And here we are. Coincidentally, in my backyard.

W&H: What’s the best and worst advice you’ve received?

Mm: Best advice: I went to a Film Fatales talk with Catherine Hardwicke last year and she said that whenever she does a big group scene, she writes out seating cards beforehand to save time. It’s a little thing that I think people can appreciate and keeps everyone moving. You easily alleviate cast and crew asking you multiple times where people are.

Worst advice: “It’s probably fine.” Whenever anyone says that, including myself, I have to take a second look. The devil is in the details.

W&H: What advice do you have for other female directors?

Mm: I’m still learning, so I give the following advice to myself as well. Be a director in a way that makes sense to you. Drop the need to “perform” director. Everyone has shown up and is waiting for you to tell them what to do so find a way to make them want to do their best. For me, that means treating people with respect and apologizing when you’re wrong.

W&H: Name your favorite woman-directed film and why.

Mm: Gah! So many. Most recently, Maren Ade’s “Toni Erdmann.” It was so singularly bold, original, and no one could have done it but her. I don’t know if I would ever make a film like that, but I have so much respect for Ade and was moved deeply by it. Deepa Mehta’s “Water” and Jane Campion’s “The Piano” are two of the most beautifully directed movies I’ve ever seen. Last Tiff, I watched Houda Benyamina’s “Divines” and I thought it was so tender and impactful.

W&H: There have been significant conversations over the last couple of years about increasing the amount of opportunities for women directors yet the numbers have not increased. Are you optimistic about the possibilities for change? Share any thoughts you might have on this topic.

Mm: Personally, I have been given a huge amount of opportunity lately — largely from projects helmed by women — so I feel very optimistic. So much has been eloquently said on this matter, but I feel like the best thing I can do is just be the best director I can be so that other people don’t see hiring a woman as a risk. A good example is Ava DuVernay hiring all these women on her series “Queen Sugar” with the philosophy that she cannot be the sole change. It’s her job to help bring other women up with her. I think that is the most powerful and useful way to make real, meaningful change.

https://medium.com/media/f36d0b524b1112bd7abc0e8ca9fa0322/href

Tiff 2017 Women Directors: Meet Molly McGlynn — “Mary Goes Round” was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
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Tiff 2017 Women Directors: Meet Aoife McArdle — “Kissing Candice”

Kissing Candice

Aoife McArdle was born in Northern Ireland. Her work as a music video director has earned her a nomination for Best Director at the 2014 UK Music Video Awards. “Kissing Candice” is her feature film debut.

Kissing Candice” will premiere at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival on September 8.

W&H: Describe the film for us in your own words.

Am: It’s about the vivid world of a teenage girl growing up on the Irish border. We experience the world through her eyes — the power of her dreams, her desires, and her fears. The film tackles the needs we all have in those years to escape and challenge the world in whatever way we can.

W&H: What drew you to this story?

Am: I’d always wanted to write a film inspired by the vibrant young people, beautiful locations, and dark stories I’d grown up around in Ireland.

W&H: What do you want people to think about when they are leaving the theater?

Am: I want people to feel a bit energized, like they’ve experienced a slightly different or unexpected side to Ireland. Ideally they love the characters and feel moved or excited by their story, but perhaps the most important thing for me is that the audience leaves the cinema feeling like they’ve been truly immersed in the world of the film.

W&H: What was the biggest challenge in making the film?

Am: The low budget. It forces you to draw on all your creative resources, invention, and energy levels.

W&H: How did you get your film funded? Share some insights into how you got the film made.

Am: I wrote a script that the Irish Film Board luckily decided to back. It’s an independent, low budget film so I had to draw on a lot of favors, the passion and support of the crew, and the people who represent me in order to get it finished.

W&H: What does it mean for you to have your film play at the Toronto International Film Festival?

Am: It means a great deal to be premiering it at such an esteemed festival. It makes all the hard work worth it.

W&H: What’s the best and worst advice you’ve received?

Am: The best advice is to stand by your vision and enjoy your work, and the worst was probably that I should become a lawyer.

W&H: What advice do you have for other female directors?

Am: Believe in yourself and become as technical as possible so that no one can intimidate you.

W&H: Name your favorite woman-directed film and why.

Am: There are so many to be honest. “Boys Don’t Cry” by Kimberly Peirce, “Ratcatcher” by Lynne Ramsay, “American Psycho” by Mary Harron. This past year “Toni Erdmann” by Maren Ade blew me away. I think what I love about those films is that they each have such a distinctive voice or vision.

W&H: There have been significant conversations over the last couple of years about increasing the amount of opportunities for women directors yet the numbers have not increased. Are you optimistic about the possibilities for change? Share any thoughts you might have on this topic.

Am: In my experience, women do have to work twice as hard to prove themselves in order to gain the limited opportunities available, but I’m optimistic about the future. I think that the more talented female directors like Kathryn Bigelow succeed within the male-dominated film genres, the more the industry will be forced to change.

Tiff 2017 Women Directors: Meet Aoife McArdle — “Kissing Candice” was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
See full article at Women and Hollywood »

Ana Urushadze’s “Scary Mother” Chosen as Georgia’s Foreign-Language Oscar Pick

Scary Mother”: Studio Artizm

Ana Urushadze’s award-winning directorial debut may be headed to the Academy Awards. “Scary Mother” has been chosen to represent Georgia in the best foreign-language film category at the 2018 Oscars, The Hollywood Reporter confirms. The female-led psychological thriller took home honors at the Sarajevo Film Festival and the Locarno Film Festival.

“With years of domestic duty weighing heavily on her shoulders in a drab Tbilisi apartment block, Manana (Nato Murvanidze) is quietly going crazy,” THR says of “Scary Mother’s” plot. “Her only escape is to work on a darkly erotic thriller, the contents of which she keeps from her somewhat contemptuous husband, Anri (Dimitri Tatishvili). When Manana lets Anri read an excerpt from her book, his latent fears that his wife is slipping from the comfort zone in which he keeps her explode.”

Urushadze, who also penned the script for “Scary Mother,” is the second woman director to have her work submitted in this category by Georgia. The country previously selected two films directed by Nana Jorjadze, “A Chef in Love” and “27 Missing Kisses,” and one she co-directed, “In Bloom.”

Other women-helmed features that have been submitted for consideration in the upcoming foreign-language race include Petra Volpe’s women’s rights drama “The Divine Order” and Annemarie Jacir’s “Wajib,” a dramedy about a father and his estranged son.

Last year Maren Ade’s “Toni Erdmann” was the sole film directed by a woman to score a nomination in the foreign-language category.

Ana Urushadze’s “Scary Mother” Chosen as Georgia’s Foreign-Language Oscar Pick was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
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Palestine Selects Annemarie Jacir’s “Wajib” for Foreign-Language Oscar Pick

Wajib”: Tiff

Annemarie Jacir has been chosen to represent Palestine for the third time at the Academy Awards. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Jacir’s latest film, “Wajib,” is now a contender in the foreign-language category of the 2017 Oscars. The country previously submitted Jacir’s “Salt of the Sea” and “When I Saw You.”

Wajib” will make its North American premiere next month at the Toronto International Film Festival. The dramedy follows a father (Mohammad Bakr, “The Night Of”) who reunites with his estranged son (Saleh Bakri, “The Band’s Visit”) in the lead up to his daughter’s (Maria Zriek, “Villa Touma”) wedding. Jacir penned the script.

“I like to be rooted in real people and real situations,” Jacir has said of her films. “Yet at the same time indulge in the freedom of what cinema is about: our dreams, [and] our ability to change or escape.”

Switzerland has selected Petra Volpe’s women’s rights drama “The Divine Order” to represent the country in the foreign language category. Last Oscar season, just one woman-directed film earned a nod in the best foreign-language film category: Maren Ade’s Cannes sensation “Toni Erdmann.”

Palestine Selects Annemarie Jacir’s “Wajib” for Foreign-Language Oscar Pick was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
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Venice Film Fest 2017 Women Directors: Meet Alena Lodkina — “Strange Colours”

“Strange Colours”

Alena Lodkina is a Russian-born filmmaker based in Melbourne, Australia. She has made fiction and documentary short films that have played at festivals around the world, including Melbourne International Film Festival, Message to Man, Antenna Documentary Festival, and Belo Horizonte International Short Film Festival. Lodkina also works as a film editor and is a member of the Fountain Vista Collective. “Strange Colours” is her first feature project.

“Strange Colours” will premiere at the 2017 Venice Film Festival on August 31.

W&H: Describe the film for us in your own words.

Al: The film is set in an outback opal mining community, where a young woman travels to spend time with her estranged father. It’s a meditation on being lost, on escape, and on fractured relationships. I worked with a mostly non-professional cast, and the film has documentary roots — so it’s also a study of place and a way of life in this isolated community.

W&H: What drew you to this story?

Al: I spent a lot of time on location over the years — a town in New South Wales called Lightning Ridge. The men I got to know there have incredible stories, and a way of looking at life that’s so unique. I pieced together the stories I heard, my favorite characters, places, and moments, and then my co-writer and co-producer, Isaac Wall, and I worked on channeling all that into a story. We always talked about being true to the spirit of the place — so that’s a big inspiration. Opal mining is a sort of final frontier in Australia, and it’s this romantic promise of escape and freedom that fascinated me — I think it’s beautifully bittersweet.

W&H: What do you want people to think about when they are leaving the theater?

Al: That’s hard for me to say. I hope the minds will wander into unexpected territories. I guess I’d like it if people were moved to think of freedom, whether such a thing exists and is within our reach. I hope people walk away enchanted.

W&H: What was the biggest challenge in making the film?

Al: Time. It was extremely challenging making a film in nine months, but also pushed me to trust my instincts and probably let go of my ego a bit.

W&H: How did you get your film funded? Share some insights into how you got the film made.

Al: Isaac, producer Kate Laurie, and I won funding through the Venice Biennale College Cinema late last year. It’s a unique program. We worked on a micro-budget, which is of course very challenging. But we had full creative freedom, and support from tutors who were experts in script writing, producing, editing, etc. — an inspiring, fascinating crew! I think it’s a very important initiative, as it is so difficult to raise that kind of money. And I think the most inspiring films often get made on these little budgets. It forces one to think of what’s really important and to make graceful decisions — I hope!

W&H: What does it mean for you to have your film play at the Venice Film Festival?

Al: It’s amazing! A great honor. We are traveling to Venice next week and to be honest it feels so large that I can’t quite comprehend it. It’s like standing in front of some incredible historical monument and not really having the capacity to grasp it.

W&H: What’s the best and worst advice you’ve received?

Al: Hmmm. Once when I was freaking out about pitching the film and public speaking and stuff, a friend told me to remember no one really knows what you’re talking about as well as you. I thought that was pretty good advice! Mum often tells me to chill in hectic situations and to have courage and that — also excellent to be reminded.

Bad advice, though, I don’t know!

W&H: What advice do you have for other female directors?

Al: That’s a hard one! In the end of “Stromboli,” Ingrid Bergman’s character falls and weeps on top of a volcano, lifts her face towards the skies, and asks God for courage, strength, and understanding. I guess those are all good things to wish for in this challenging industry we’re in.

W&H: Name your favorite woman-directed film and why.

Al: I couldn’t settle on just one. Last year we had the gifts of Maren Ade’s “Toni Erdmann,” Kelly Reichardt’s “Certain Women,” Mia Hansen-Løve’s “Things to Come” and just last week I was completely blown away by Valeska Grisebach’s Maren Ade-produced “Western.” It was a film of intense dignity and humanity, and exquisite filmmaking.

Amongst older gems — Larisa Shepitko’s “Wings” and Kira Muratova’s “Brief Encounters,” and everything by Chantal Akerman.

I am so excited to see Lucrecia Martel’s new film, “Zama,” in Venice.

W&H: There have been significant conversations over the last couple of years about increasing the amount of opportunities for women directors yet the numbers have not increased. Are you optimistic about the possibilities for change? Share any thoughts you might have on this topic.

Al: Profound change can be a slow thing, but I do feel like things are looking up for us women. This year in Melbourne, [Melbourne International Film Festival] art director Michelle Carey ran an excellent program looking at Australian female pioneer directors — it was inspiring to be reminded that women have been making great films for decades in our country. And though the ethics can be tricky and uncomfortable, I do support state funding/quotas for women filmmakers.

Venice Film Fest 2017 Women Directors: Meet Alena Lodkina — “Strange Colours” was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
See full article at Women and Hollywood »

20 Female Directors Who Will Rule This Fall Festival Season, Including Agnes Varda, Greta Gerwig, Dee Rees, and More

20 Female Directors Who Will Rule This Fall Festival Season, Including Agnes Varda, Greta Gerwig, Dee Rees, and More
Girl Talk is a weekly look at women in film — past, present, and future.

The fall festival season has long been a harbinger of things to come, from the contenders that will consume months of awards season jockeying to bright new talents just making their first big splashes, and this year brings with it another glimpse of the future: one that’s filled with new films from a wide variety of female filmmakers.

From Venice to Toronto, New York to Telluride, this year’s fall festival circuit is filled with new offerings from from female filmmakers of every stripe, including 20 that we’ve hand-picked as the ones to keep an eye on during the coming weeks.

First-time feature filmmakers like Maggie Betts, Brie Larson, and the Mulleavey sisters are out in full force, along with the return of mainstays like Angelina Jolie, Lynn Shelton, and Susanna White. There are plenty
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Just 4 Women-Directed Films Included in BBC’s 100 Greatest Comedies List

Amy Heckerling’s “Clueless” is one of the four women-directed films on the list

BBC Culture recently asked 253 film critics (118 women and 135 men) to identify their top 10 favorite comedies. “We urged the experts to go with their heart and pick personal favorites,” the source emphasized. “Films that are part of their lives.” After crunching the numbers and identifying the most popular selections, BBC Culture published a list called The 100 Greatest Comedies of All Time — and only four female-directed films made the cut.

Elaine May’s “A New Leaf” came in at number 90. The 1971 film follows a newly poor playboy (Walter Matthau) who decides to marry and murder a rich woman (May) to regain his wealth. At number 89 is Vera Chytilová’s 1966 film “Daisies,” about two teen pranksters (Jitka Cerhová and Ivana Karbanová).

Maren Ade’s award-winning “Toni Erdmann” placed at number 59. Last year’s hit traces the strained but loving relationship between an ambitious career woman (Sandra Hüller) and her practical joker father (Peter Simonischek). Finally, Amy Heckerling’s “Clueless” came in at number 34. The 1995 Beverly Hills-set film stars Alicia Silverstone as a rich queen bee trying to use her “popularity for a good cause.”

None of those films cracked the top 30 and only “Toni Erdmann” was released in the past 20 years. The severe lack of women is even more frustrating since many of the male directors — like Billy Wilder, Howard Hawks, Rob Reiner, and Wes Anderson — hold multiple spots on the list.

While BBC Culture didn’t provide specific criteria for what constitutes a comedy — they left that up to the critics to determine — it would have been nice to see a classic like Penny Marshall’s “Big” be included. The 1988 body swap comedy not only stars Tom Hanks in an Oscar-nominated performance, it serves as inspiration for everything from “13 Going on 30” to episodes of shows like “The Mindy Project.”

It also would have been great to see comedies that present oft-ignored stories be recognized. Nancy Meyers’ “Something’s Gotta Give” is a sexually frank rom-com about people over 50. Rachel Tunnard’s “Adult Life Skills” is about a young woman who isn’t really interested in anything but making movies that star her thumbs. Gillian Robespierre’s “Obvious Child” presents abortion as just one small part of a struggling comedian’s life. And Gurinder Chadha’s “Bend It Like Beckham” sees its heroine stuck in a culture clash between her Sikh family and her love of sports.

The inclusion of only four women in The 100 Greatest Comedies points to the (historic and present) lack of opportunity for female directors. An Mdsc Initiative study from earlier this year evaluated the 1,114 directors on the last decade’s top-grossing films and found that only four percent were female (Four really seems to be the not-so-magic number). The report concluded that there had been “no meaningful change in the prevalence of female directors” on top films. The 100 Greatest Comedies of All Time list makes that lack of progress very clear.

Just 4 Women-Directed Films Included in BBC’s 100 Greatest Comedies List was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
See full article at Women and Hollywood »

The 100 Greatest Comedies of All-Time, According to BBC’s Critics Poll

After polling critics from around the world for the greatest American films of all-time, BBC has now forged ahead in the attempt to get a consensus on the best comedies of all-time. After polling 253 film critics, including 118 women and 135 men, from 52 countries and six continents a simple, the list of the 100 greatest is now here.

Featuring canonical classics such as Some Like It Hot, Dr. Strangelove, Annie Hall, Duck Soup, Playtime, and more in the top 10, there’s some interesting observations looking at the rest of the list. Toni Erdmann is the most recent inclusion, while the highest Wes Anderson pick is The Royal Tenenbaums. There’s also a healthy dose of Chaplin and Lubitsch with four films each, and the recently departed Jerry Lewis has a pair of inclusions.

Check out the list below (and my ballot) and see more on their official site.

100. (tie) The King of Comedy (Martin Scorsese,
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