Toni Erdmann (2016) - News Poster

(2016)

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'Toni Erdmann' producers to adapt Bataclan memoir 'You Will Not Have My Hate' (exclusive)

'Toni Erdmann' producers to adapt Bataclan memoir 'You Will Not Have My Hate' (exclusive)
Published in 2016, Antoine Leiris’s bestseller charts how he and his baby son endured the weeks after his wife was killed in the Bataclan terror attack.

German production outfit Komplizen Film, whose credits include Toni Erdmann, has acquired the film rights to French journalist Antoine Leiris’s international bestseller You Will Not Have My Hate.

Published in 2016, Leiris’s book charts how he and his baby son endured the days and weeks after his wife, Hélène Muyal-Leiris was killed by terrorists while attending a rock concert at the Bataclan Theatre in Paris in November 2015.

Komplizen Film will co-produce with France
See full article at ScreenDaily »

Review: Lines of Flight—Christian Petzold's "Transit"

  • MUBI
Christian Petzold’s latest film Transit—his third consecutive period piece, second successive literary adaptation, and first theatrical feature to not star Nina Hoss in quite some time—continues what might be described as the German director’s ongoing European project. It is telling that the title of his 2000 feature The State I Am In, after which last year’s New York retrospective of his work was named, suggests a filmmaker concerned with taking the pulse of a nation. Adapted from Anna Seghers’s 1942 novel of the same name, drawn from the writer’s experience of fleeing to Mexico during World War II, Transit completes Petzold’s self-dubbed “Love in Times of Oppressive Systems” trilogy, comprised of the 1980s spy-melodrama Barbara (2012) and his post-wwii Vertigo-facelift Phoenix (2014). From its first frame, though, one would be forgiven for echoing the enduring refrain of David Lynch’s Twin Peaks: The Return (2017)—for though
See full article at MUBI »

Berlin Competition title 'In The Aisles' sells to Us

Berlin Competition title 'In The Aisles' sells to Us
In The Aisles, which has its premiere on Friday (Feb 23) in Competition at the Berlin Film Festival, has been picked up for U.S. distribution by Music Box Films.

Sales agent Beta Cinema inked the deal on the title, which stars Berlinale Shooting star Franz Rogowski (Transit), Sandra Hüller (Toni Erdmann) and Peter Kurth (Babylon Berlin).

The film, which is director Thomas Stuber’s third time at Berlin after Teenage Angst and A Heavy Heart, follows a shy and reclusive Christian who after losing his job starts to work for a wholesale market.

Sommerhaus Filmproduktion’s Jochen Laube and Fabian Maubach co-produced In The Aisles with
See full article at ScreenDaily »

‘Manchester by the Sea,’ ‘Moonlight,’ and ‘The Big Sick’ Top iTunes’ List of the Year’s Highest-Selling Indies

  • Indiewire
‘Manchester by the Sea,’ ‘Moonlight,’ and ‘The Big Sick’ Top iTunes’ List of the Year’s Highest-Selling Indies
iTunes has released its list of the best-selling independent, documentary, and foreign films of 2017, most of which are unsurprising. “Manchester by the Sea,” “Moonlight,” and “The Big Sick” were watched the most overall, whereas subtitle-inclined users were fans of “Kedi,” “Raw,” and “The Salesman.”

Most of the surprises come on the nonfiction front: “Unacknowledged: An Exposé of the World’s Greatest Secret” takes the top spot, followed by “Fittest on Earth: A Decade of Fitness.” All of them will be featured in a new room called Top Discoveries. Find the full list below.

Read More:‘The Big Sick’ Star Kumail Nanjiani’s New Reason to See ‘Last Jedi’ is a Sweet Story About Director Rian Johnson

Top-Selling Indies

Manchester by the Sea” “Moonlight” “The Big Sick” “Lion” “Gifted” “Wind River” “Jackie” “The Lost City of Z” “Nocturnal Animals” “The Zookeeper’s Wife”

Top-Selling Documentaries in 2017

“Unacknowledged: An Exposé of the
See full article at Indiewire »

European Film Awards Tip ‘The Square’ as Foreign-Language Oscar Leader

  • Indiewire
European Film Awards Tip ‘The Square’ as Foreign-Language Oscar Leader
Ruben Östlund’s “The Square” dominated the European Film Awards ceremony in Berlin, winning six prizes: European Film, European Director, European Actor (Claes Bang), European Comedy, European Production Design, European Screenwriter. Östlund took to the stage several times, explaining how he wanted his film to tackle serious issues but still be “wild, entertaining and exciting.” He also thanked his breakout star Claes Bang for adding so much to the screenplay.

Read More:European Film Awards: ‘The Square’ Wins Big in Near-Sweep at the Continent’s Most Prestigious Awards Ceremony

The European Film Academy is often predictive of the eventual Foreign-Language Oscar: Recent winners include “Ida,” “The Great Beauty” and “Amour.” On the other hand, last year’s winner went to “Toni Erdmann” while Asghar Farhadi’s “The Salesman” took home the Oscar.

Andrey Zvyagintsev’s “Loveless” took home awards for European Composer and Cinematography.

Alexandra Borbely won European Actress for Hungarian
See full article at Indiewire »

European Film Awards Tip ‘The Square’ as Foreign-Language Oscar Leader

European Film Awards Tip ‘The Square’ as Foreign-Language Oscar Leader
Ruben Östlund’s “The Square” dominated the European Film Awards ceremony in Berlin, winning six prizes: European Film, European Director, European Actor (Claes Bang), European Comedy, European Production Design, European Screenwriter. Östlund took to the stage several times, explaining how he wanted his film to tackle serious issues but still be “wild, entertaining and exciting.” He also thanked his breakout star Claes Bang for adding so much to the screenplay.

Read More:European Film Awards: ‘The Square’ Wins Big in Near-Sweep at the Continent’s Most Prestigious Awards Ceremony

The European Film Academy is often predictive of the eventual Foreign-Language Oscar: Recent winners include “Ida,” “The Great Beauty” and “Amour.” On the other hand, last year’s winner went to “Toni Erdmann” while Asghar Farhadi’s “The Salesman” took home the Oscar.

Andrey Zvyagintsev’s “Loveless” took home awards for European Composer and Cinematography.

Alexandra Borbely won European Actress for Hungarian
See full article at Thompson on Hollywood »

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 »

Josh Hartnett & Margarita Levieva To Star In Crime Thriller ‘Inherit The Viper’

Josh Hartnett & Margarita Levieva To Star In Crime Thriller ‘Inherit The Viper’
Exclusive: Josh Hartnett and The Deuce‘s Margarita Levieva have been set to star in Inherit the Viper, a crime thriller revolving around the timely topic of the prescription drug epidemic ravaging the U.S. Swiss-born Anthony Jerjen is making his feature directorial debut on the pic, which is based on an original script by Andrew Crabtree. Elle and Toni Erdmann producer Michel Merkt is producing, with Benito Mueller also producing and Wolfgang Mueller executive producing…
See full article at Deadline Movie News »

5 Exciting American Indies Hitting Film Festivals in 2018, From Cowboys in China to WWII-Era Russia

5 Exciting American Indies Hitting Film Festivals in 2018, From Cowboys in China to WWII-Era Russia
Now in its eighth year, the American Film Festival offers a unique perspective on recent developments in U.S. indie filmmaking. That’s because it happens in Poland, staged at the stylish Kino Nowe Horyzonty film center in Wroclaw, also home to the summer New Horizons festival, which has more of a European tilt.

Although the festival, which recently concluded, surveys many favorites from Sundance and South by Southwest, the curation doesn’t merely transpose selections to a new setting. It imports a lively assortment of filmmakers, as well, and creates a cozy, engaged atmosphere more akin to the communal vibe of the Maryland Film Festival. Indeed, to rub shoulders in a crowd that included Jody Lee Lipes, Noel Wells, Dustin Guy Defa, Nathan Silver, producer Mike Ryan, Jessica Oreck and Mike Ott is to experience a deep dive into the creative bustle of current indie ferment.

That spirit is
See full article at Indiewire »

‘Lady Bird’ Takes Flight as Best Specialty Opener of 2017

  • Indiewire
‘Lady Bird’ Takes Flight as Best Specialty Opener of 2017
Lady Bird” (A24), Greta Gerwig’s first solo directing effort, rode a wave of strong reviews and publicity to score the best limited opener of the year. After a disappointing prime specialty season when it has become easy to forget what a strong limited platform opening can be, her valentine to her home town of Sacramento starring Saorise Ronan debuted even higher than expectations.

This success stood in sharp contrast to the weak opening for Richard Linklater’s “Last Flag Flying” (Lionsgate). Despite a strong push for the Amazon presentation, which opened the New York Film Festival, the military veteran drama starring Bryan Cranston, Steve Carell and Laurence Fishburne couldn’t pull in specialty audiences.

Opening

Lady Bird (A24) – Metacritic: 93; Festivals include: Telluride, Toronto, New York 2017

$375,612 in 4 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $93,903

The first breakout hit of the awards season is also the biggest specialized release of the year
See full article at Indiewire »

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 »

Record 92 Countries Submit Foreign Language Film Entries for 90th Oscars

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences announced that a record 92 countries submitted entries for Foreign Language Film category consideration this year. Notable first time participants include Haiti, Honduras, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Mozambique, Senegal and Syria.

After Trump’s announcement of a Muslim Ban last January steered the Academy into voting for Iran’s “The Salesman” over Germany’s “Toni Erdmann,” this year’s Flf race is considered a wide open race with no true frontrunner as of yet.

Continue reading Record 92 Countries Submit Foreign Language Film Entries for 90th Oscars at The Playlist.
See full article at The Playlist »

Council of Europe Condemns Gender Bias in Film and Issues Recommendations on How to Fight It

German film “Toni Erdmann

Europe’s leading human rights group, the Council of Europe, has published the Recommendation on Gender Equality in the Audiovisual Sector. In addition to being a strong rebuke to gender inequality in film, the recommendation is also a call for businesses and governments to “promote practical solutions” to ensure men and women are treated fairly in the industry. The first pan-European recommendation centered on sexism in the film industry, the document highlights the lack of awareness about gender inequality, the ubiquity of conscious and unconscious gender bias, and the lack of equal funding for male and female filmmakers.

A large cross-section of international experts from European funds and broadcasters worked together to write the recommendation, and feedback was provided by industry execs and academics.

In addition to acknowledging the raw deal women face in the industry, the Council called on European governments to overhaul legislation, support research on gender inequality, conduct and publish its own research, and “enhance the accountability processes.”

The recommendation also outlines how government officials can monitor the state of gender equality in film as well as how to collect data and take necessary action.

“We’re delighted the 47 member states of the Council of Europe have adopted the recommendation on gender equality in the audiovisual sector, which is packed full of useful ideas to tackle gender inequality,” a rep from Eurimages, Europe’s co-production fund, told The Hollywood Reporter. “It also has detailed strategies that member states can use to address and counter gender inequality directly.”

You can read the Council of Europe’s entire recommendation on the organization’s website.

Council of Europe Condemns Gender Bias in Film and Issues Recommendations on How to Fight It 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 »

‘Flatliners’ is All Too Accurate: Why Remakes Are Some of the Riskiest Movies to Make

  • Indiewire
‘Flatliners’ is All Too Accurate: Why Remakes Are Some of the Riskiest Movies to Make
This weekend brings the remake of “Flatliners,” Joel Schumacher’s 1990 thriller that starred Julia Roberts. Reviews are universally terrible for this retread of good-looking med-school students who put life-after-death on repeat, but it was a nail-biter for studio Sony Pictures from the outset: They took the risk of making an honest-to-god remake.

A remake sounds like the safest bet there is; isn’t original, untested IP the thing that studios fear most? However, in this market a true remake is what passes for a gamble. They’ve become a box-office rarity.

While none of this year’s top-grossing films are originals, there are very few genuine remakes. Yes, the year’s biggest movie, “Beauty and the Beast,” is a direct remake of the 1991 classic — but it went from animated to live action. (It was not a remake of the multiple live-action films and TV shows that preceded it, which stretch
See full article at Indiewire »

2018 Oscar predictions: Sony Pictures Classics contenders include celebrated ‘Call Me By Your Name’

At the 2017 Academy Awards, Sony Pictures Classics earned four Oscar nominations with one for each of these four films: “Elle,” “Land of Mine,” “The Red Turtle” and “Toni Erdmann.” This specialized film division of Sony is celebrating its silver anniversary and with its slate of celebrated fare from award-winning directors and talent could well win […]
See full article at Gold Derby »

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 »

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.

https://medium.com/media/52981c40539e80bfe6ab06d951816e9f/href

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.
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Valeska Grisebach’s ‘Western’ Is A German Riff On The Cowboy Movie [Tiff Review]

Perhaps the most salient and unsung thread in last year’s arthouse comedy epic “Toni Erdmann” examined the shifting economic frontiers in Europe. This becomes the point of departure for “Western”—the third feature of fellow German filmmaker Valeska Grisebach—which further scrutinizes the human scale of these permeable borders. This, however, is where the similarities end; as its title suggests, Grisebach’s film takes on the classical American genre of the Western as a template for its thematic preoccupations.

Continue reading Valeska Grisebach’s ‘Western’ Is A German Riff On The Cowboy Movie [Tiff Review] at The Playlist.
See full article at The Playlist »

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 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 »
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