Currently Browsing: June 2018

Ursula Ellis, writer, director and fearless channeler of everyone’s inner punk teen

I think back on the first film I ever worked on. It was directed by a woman, Ursula Ellis. At the time she was in the midst of her MFA at Columbia, and she already had some impressive projects under her belt in her production company name, Little Bear Pictures.

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Clio Barnard explores the mind in ‘Dark River’

In Clio Barnard’s third feature film, following The Arbor and The Selfish Giant, she continues her study on the impact of poverty in the U.K. with her new film Dark River. Like her previous film The Selfish Giant, the focus is squarely on the aspects of life the public tries to overlook.

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Modern Prospero and Miranda in Debra Granik’s ‘Leave No Trace’

Eight years after her award-winning Winter’s Bone emerged as a sleeper hit, Debra Granik (Academy Award-nominee for Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay) once again is poised to hit it big on the indie circuit with her new film, Leave No Trace.

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‘Leave No Trace’ tests the human spirit

Academy Award nominee for Best Adapted Screenplay for her 2010 film Winter’s Bone, Debra Granik takes us through a journey of raw human emotions in Leave No Trace. An adaptation of Peter Rock’s novel “My Abandonment,” the film tells the story of a young girl living in the woods with her father. Their simple live style is disrupted when they are discovered by a forest ranger, forced to leave behind their home and relocate in society.

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Madelyn Deutch keeps ‘The Year of Spectacular Men’ all in the family

What makes The Year of Spectacular Men so special is the fact that the film stars a real-life Hollywood family, Madelyn “Maddie” Deutch, Zoey Deutch and their mother Lea Thompson, all of whom took major roles behind the camera for the first time.

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New Class of AMPAS Members is 49 % Female!

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences invited 928 new members June 25, 49 percent of which are women.

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Women continue to fight for equality in communications field, film criticism

A new study by the Lillian Lodge Kopenhaver Center for the Advancement of Women in Communication at Florida International University found that men continue to dominate top management positions while women remain in the middle, likely to have less longevity in the field. Interruption in their full-time work, too, is increased for women as they experience “men only” culture in their companies.

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‘Boundaries’ director Shana Feste talks father-daughter road trip film

Known for the 2010 drama Country Strong, Feste wrote and directed this semi-autobiographical film filled with humor, heart and an honest portrayal of the complex relationships. In an in-depth interview with FF2 Media, she explains why she made the film, the message behind it and her perception of how things are changing for women in the filmmaking industry. (Warning: Spoilers)

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‘Never Steady, Never Still’ beautifully depicts mother-son journey

Kathleen Hepburn has had to consider this challenge since being faced with her mother’s diagnosis of Parkinson’s’ disease. And this reality inspired her feature film debut Never Steady, Never Still.

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Sonja O’Hara talks filmmaking, breaking stereotypes and not waiting for permission

Writer, director and actress Sonja O’Hara is a filmmaker to watch – at least according to Independent Magazine. Born in Nova Scotia, Canada and pursuing an acting career by age 17, she has created work that is bold, original, provocative and meant to change the way Hollywood and audiences see films.

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‘Set It Up’ team talks dream collaboration, chemistry and reviving the romantic comedy

The screwball rom-com tells the story of two overworked assistants (Zoey Deutch and Glen Powell) who try to set up their bosses (Lucy Liu and Taye Diggs) and hope their romantic satisfaction trickles down into a happier work environment for all.

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Underneath the Surface: An interview with ‘Spiral’ director Laura Fairrie

Spiral, directed by Laura Fairrie, is a powerful documentary, focusing on the underlying tensions that have led to the recent rise in anti-Semitism across Europe.

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‘This is Home’ refugee doc sets timely debut on EPIX channel

Documentary filmmaker Alexandra Shiva’s latest film This Is Home: A Refugee Story, which premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, couldn’t be more timely. Addressing the process of refugees attempting to integrate and assimilate into life here in the United States,  Shiva captures the day-to-day struggles of four Syrian families. This candid and poignant story allows you to almost walk in their shoes, understanding the heartbreaking resilience of these people attempting to not just survive, but thrive. I had the opportunity to discuss Shiva’s background and the inspiration behind telling this important story.

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Melanie Mayron premieres ‘Snapshots’ at Soho International Film Festival

To many audiences Melanie Mayron’s been a familiar face on screens since the 70s. From her breakthrough performance in Claudia Weill’s Girlfriends to her Emmy winning role as Melissa on Thirtysomething, she’s had a long and impressive career playing complex and idiosyncratic women. But since 1990 she’s been cultivating her second career in Hollywood as a director including work on more than 50 series.

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The Divine Secrets of Equality: Female Film Critics

Sixteen years ago, on June 2, 2002, The New York Times Editor Dana Kennedy published an article titled, “An Impatient Sisterhood.” Addressing Hollywood’s systemic exclusion of female film directors, the article highlighted the work of director Callie Khouri, an Academy Award winner for Thelma and Louise who was turned down repeatedly for 10 years before directing the soon-to-be-released The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood.

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Women filmmakers dominate Human Rights Watch Film Festival

This year’s Human Rights Watch Film Festival will feature 15 films – 12 directed by women. Co-presented by the Film Society of Lincoln Center and IFC Center, the festival runs from June 14-21 at New York’s Francesca Beale Theater at the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center.

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A hidden side of the suicide crisis in ‘The Valley’

In recent years, we’ve seen startling statistics on the rising mental health crisis in America, especially among young people. It seems to have become epidemic, yet we struggle to face these issues directly as a country. But for first time writer-director Saila Kariat, the epidemic facing the country is only complicated by the cultural stigma placed on mental health within the Asian American community.

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High schoolers journey from China to U.S. in ‘Maineland’ doc

Chinese born Miao Wang, director of Beijing Taxi, followed this phenomenon in her new film Maineland. For more than three years, she followed the educational and personal growth of affluent high schoolers who choose to come from China to attend American, private boarding schools, including one in blue-collar Maine. Focusing on students Stella and Harry, the American high school experience is given a new perspective.

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Pixar releases 20th male-directed feature film

Out this Friday, Incredibles 2 is the 20th feature film released in the 23-year history of Pixar. The animation studio has made headlines in recent months with the exit of co-founder John Lasseter and the team behind Toy Story 4 stepping down due to perceived mistreatment of women and people of color.

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HBO APA 2018 Short Film Competition Finalist: From Short to Feature

In the spirit of celebrating women directed shorts with potential, we have interviewed Feng-I Fiona Roan, director of short film Jiejie, about her recent win at HBO’s Asian Pacific American Visionaries 2018 short film competition. HBO has provided a platform that is now fueling her current and future works. This includes a series pilot, Lady Luck, as well as a feature film with the working title American Girl.

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Women brushed aside when bigger budgets are at play

This year, Sundance had some great news for all the supporters of female filmmakers out there. Around 52% of their 2018 shorts lineup were directed by women—an increase from previous years. However, of all the films released in 2018 by major studios, women direct only 3%.

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‘We are a mighty tribe’: Female directors make up ‘Half the Picture’

Amy Adrion’s Half the Picture is an informative, eye-opening documentary about the startling gender imbalance that exists among film and television directors.

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Amy Adrion gives voice to women behind the camera in ‘Half the Picture’

Amy Adrion graduated from UCLA’s MFA directing program and received awards from the Directors Guild of America as a student filmmaker. Yet, she and many other women were struggling for opportunities to land directing jobs. So she turned her camera on female directors who had come before her to tell their stories of success and struggle in Half the Picture.

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To the pants: ‘Sisterhood’ celebrates 13th anniversary

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants was released June 1, 2005, but its message of friendship still means something to the generation who grew up with it. Based on Ann Brashares’ series of novels and co-written by Delia Ephron and Elizabeth Chandler, the film follows four best friends spending their first summer apart and exchanging […]

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Theresa Bennett’s ‘Social Animals’ hides love letter to James L. Brooks

The rom-com stands up as one of the most beloved film genres we have, yet we’ve been experiencing a severe drought in recent years. More importantly, the need for rom-coms with a modern touch can be hard to find. Enter writer-director Theresa Bennett with her new film Social Animals. The Austin-set comedy focuses on about-to-be […]

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