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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. »
- Rachel Montpelier
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.
- Jordan Raup
It’s been 30 years since Baby and Johnny had the time of their life, but “Dirty Dancing” remains as popular as when it opened on Aug. 21, 1987. Actually, it’s even more popular: When the ABC remake aired May 24 this year, fans immediately registered anger and/or disappointment on social media. It was a reminder that the magic of the 1987 version could not be duplicated.
The original “Dirty Dancing” was one of the summer’s biggest surprises. It was filmed on a $6 million budget and earned $213 million at the box office, plus has a long and booming afterlife in video and spinoffs.
Filming of the Vestron movie — written by Eleanor Bergstein and directed by Emile Ardolino — was done on two main locations: Lake Lure in N.C., and the Mountain Lake Lodge in Giles County, Va. Mountain Lake was responsible for many of the exterior shots. The lodge, built in the 1930s, had »
- Tim Gray
By Sheryl Oh
With some great women at the helm, teenage girls are anything but overlooked.
The article Amy Heckerling and Beyond: The Evolution of Teen Girls On Screen appeared first on Film School Rejects. »
- Sheryl Oh
“Fast Times at Ridgemont High” turns 35 tomorrow, a milestone Variety has marked by speaking to director Amy Heckerling and screenwriter Cameron Crowe. Among the revelations: the fact that David Lynch, who was also offered directing duties on “Return of the Jedi” at around the same time, was approached to helm the classic teen comedy. “I had a meeting with David Lynch,” says Crowe, apparently on the recommendation of Universal exec Thom Mount.
“He had a very wry smile on his face as I sat talking with him,” continues Crowe, who won an Oscar for writing “Almost Famous.” “He went and read it. We met again. He was very, very sweet about it, but slightly perplexed we thought of him. He said this was a really nice story but ‘it’s not really the »
- Michael Nordine
In addition to saving Brooke Shields from drowning, Jeff Spicoli also saved Fast Times at Ridgemont High. The cult classic high school movie is celebrating its 35th anniversary and writer Cameron Crowe and director Amy Heckerling have recently shared some little-known facts about the making the movie and one of them is that Sean Penn's Spicoli character saved the movie and lead to its success on home video. Another fact that was shared was that David Lynch was recommended to originally direct the comedy.
Heckerling and Crowe spoke to Variety about the making of the movie and some of the hardship that they faced. The studio didn't think that there was any money to be made from a movie about high school kids and thought that it was a complete waste of time. Fast Times at Ridgemont High initially only opened in just 200 theaters in the United States and »
The seminal teen flick “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” is celebrating its 35th anniversary on Sunday.
Not only did the coming-of-age tale set in Southern California launch the careers of director Amy Heckerling and writer Cameron Crowe, the comedy catapulted Sean Penn, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Phoebe Cates, and Judge Reinhold into stardom.
And in 2005, “Fast Times,” which was based on Crowe’s 1981 book chronicling his adventures going undercover at a San Diego high school, was selected for preservation in the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”
Ironically, “Fast Times” had to overcome many obstacles during production and almost failed to get released.
Among the early difficulties the production encountered was finding a director for the comedy, which also featured future best actor Oscar winners Forest Whitaker and Nicolas Cage — billed as Nicolas Coppola — as well as Eric Stoltz and Anthony Edwards.
- Susan King
Guest Post by Rachel Feldman
If asked to imagine a film or TV director, most people conjure the image of a man. Sadly, this is true for those who work in the film and television industry as well. In fact, research from USC Annenberg’s Media, Diversity & Social Change Initiative confirms that zero percent of Hollywood executives have any women director’s names at the top of their minds. Of course, those in the know have lists that include Kathryn Bigelow, Patty Jenkins, or Ava DuVernay in features and Lesli Linka Glatter or Reed Morano in television — but there are also hundreds, if not thousands, of highly skilled women directors who have been invisible for way too long.
The statistics for women directing stagnates at four percent in feature films and at 17 percent in television, and although the 17 percent in TV may initially sound like forward momentum, when statistically analyzed it proves to be an illusory number because it doesn’t represent the number of women directing, only the number of episodes directed by women. In other words, it is often the same few women doing all the work. But the fact is that there are over 1,300 experienced women directors in the Directors Guild of America (DGA), many with decades of experience in high-quality broadcast and cable television. So why do only about 50 of these directors appear and re-appear on network hiring lists?
Last week NBC announced a new “Female Forward” program that will train 10 new women directors a year through a shadowing program. NBC President Jennifer Salke says that the pool of available directors is “too small” and she’s excited about the idea of having 30 new directors in three years. Of course it’s fantastic that NBC is going to create a program in support of women directors, but it would be a mistake not to correct an insidious false assumption that continues to undermine real progress.
Salke is by no means alone in her thinking: it is a predominate belief throughout the entire industry that one of the reasons why gender employment statistics are so low is because there just aren’t enough qualified women directors to fill the ranks. But this is patently untrue.
The fact is that NBC could have 100 highly skilled directors tomorrow. If our industry truly wants swift, equitable gender equity in the director ranks, the answer is not simply to train new directors and hope for the future. We need to find and hire the large pool of already trained, highly accomplished women directors who have been toiling in the trenches for decades. We need to make the change now.
The employment mechanism for hiring directors is, no doubt, complex. There are many levels of executives, all who need to vet a director. That’s why directors with hot credits and repped by top agents are easy to notice — and those who may not have a recent credit, or who are not represented by a high-profile agent or manager, become invisible.
Women’s careers also look different from their male counterparts’. Women often step away from thriving careers to raise children and care for family members. Add in the gender bias that makes each and every job a Sisyphean hurdle and it’s simple to see how women lose their reps and fall off rosters. But these women are indomitable. Many have thriving careers in allied fields as writers, producers, editors, ADs, or teachers. Some make independent features. All of them are eager to be making an honorable living, with goldstar health insurance, using the masterful skills they have taken a lifetime to hone.
In life, and certainly in the movie business, we are taught that we will be rewarded for tenacity and determination, but so far this has not proven true for an army of women directors.
Meryl Streep sponsors a program for mid-career women writers through New York Women in Film & Television, the Writers Guild of America has made enormous strides supporting the careers of their experienced female members with a variety of initiatives and programs, and The Ravenal Foundation and The Jerome Foundation have long supported mid-career female feature directors. But in the television director landscape the continued focus on new, untrained directors as the sole way to ameliorate a widespread problem is both an unimaginative solution and an enormous injustice to women who have already been injured by decades of gender exclusion.
DuVernay, Oprah Winfrey, and Ryan Murphy are trendsetting new formulas in hiring television directors. They understand that the status quo is not serving directors who are not white men and they are hiring both veteran directors who’ve fallen off hiring lists as well as promising talent. But a handful of progressive thinkers is not enough. The entire industry — networks, studios, producers, and agencies — must create avenues of opportunity for mid-career women directors. It may require a bit of work to discover this gold mine of talent but just below the surface are literally hundreds of brilliant women directors who deserve a break.
This past presidential election was a disgraceful example of how accomplished, highly experienced women can be disregarded. Hiding behind excuses of: “It’s our [pick one] first/second/third season,” or “We have [pick one] stunts/VFX/finicky actors/cross-boarding/a tricky tone…” is as misogynistic/patriarchal as men who think they can grab women wherever they want. We must continue to ask why men are regarded with great potential and women are seen as needing to have a continuing education. Mid-career women directors are trained to figure out what they need to tell a story and it’s high time for the film and TV machine to support and nurture this valuable resource.
Create your own programs and initiatives or search for us at The Director List and the DGA.
And here is a just-a-tip-of-the-iceberg list of experienced television directors — not intended to be exhaustive or comprehensive — to illustrate the bounty to be discovered. There are also hundreds more accomplished women in the independent world:
Victoria Hochberg, Gloria Muzio, Neema Barnette, Debbie Reinisch, Hanelle Culpepper, Martha Coolidge, Amy Heckerling, Tanya Hamilton, Tessa Blake, Kat Candler, Shannon McCormack Flynn, Ellen Pressman, Leslie Libman, Vicky Jenson, Stacy Title, Linda Feferman, Matia Karrell, Maggie Greenwald, Deborah Kampmeier, Debra Granik, Darnell Martin, Anna Foerster, Heather Cappiello, Nicole Rubio, Leslie Libman, Beth Spitalny, Daisy Von Scherler Mayer, Jan Eliasberg, Elodie Keene, Diana Valentine, Jessica Landaw, Julie Hebert, Julie Anne Robinson, Katherine Brooks, Martha Mitchell, Nicole Kassell, Nzingha Stewart, Rachel Talalay, Rose Troche, Stacey Black, Alexis Korycinski, Allison Anders, Ami Canaan Mann, Amy Redford, Anna Mastro, Anne Renton, Catherine Jelski, Claudia Weill, Dee Rees, Helen Hunt, Jessica Yu, Donna Deitch, Kasi Lemmons, Lily Mariye, So Yong Kim, Tina Mabry, Tanya Hamilton, Rachel Feldman…
Rachel Feldman has directed more than 60 hours of television and is in development to direct her award-winning screenplay “Fair Fight,” a political thriller based on the life of Fair Pay activist Lilly Ledbetter. She is a former chair of the DGA Women’s Steering Committee. Go to her website for more information. #WomenCallAction
Guest Post: Plenty of Qualified Women Directors Are Ready to Fill the Ranks was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. »
- Women and Hollywood
John R. Leonetti’s IMDb page is a hell of a thing. The filmmaker cut his chops as a cameraman and a cinematographer on films by Steven Spielberg, Amy Heckerling, John Frankenheimer, James Wan, Walter Hill, John Hughes, Francis Ford Coppola… The list goes on and on. This, in and of itself, would be an impressive career; but Leonetti has also helmed a number of features himself – mostly genre horror flicks (Annabelle, Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, The Butterfly Effect 2). Leonetti’s latest horror film, Wish Upon, feels like a 90s horror mash-up: two cups of Wishmaster, some chopped up … »
- Tommy Cook
“That was my skull! I’m so wasted!” For two days only — Sunday, July 30, and Wednesday, August 2 — Fathom Events and the TCM Big Screen Classics Series are hosting a cinematic class reunion like no other. Celebrating its 35th anniversary, Fast Times At Ridgemont High – director Amy Heckerling’s ode to teen life in the early Eighties – is hosting a cinematic class reunion, as the beloved film returns to movie theaters for two days only, July 30 and August 2. Presented by Fathom Events and Turner Classic Movies as part of the yearlong TCM Big Screen Classics series, the event will also include specially produced commentary by TCM Primetime Host Ben Mankiewicz before and after the feature. Join stoner dude Jeff Spicoli (Sean Penn), naïve sophomore Stacy Hamilton (Jennifer Jason Leigh), her managerial brother Brad (Judge Reinhold), the worldly Linda Barrett (Phoebe Cates), the shy Mark “Rat” Ratner (Brian Backer) and sleazy Mike »
- Tom Stockman
“I was young and I thought it was really overwhelming and it was really intense,” Silverstone says in an interview this week at the Variety Studio in Cannes Lions. “I did a bunch of movies, and then nine movies later, I did ‘Clueless.’ When it’s like, ‘That’s Alicia Silverstone!,’ everywhere I went, it was a lot for a little person. But then life goes on and you figure it out.”
Silverstone was at the annual advertising conference in the South of France, promoting her new TV series “American Women,” which will debut next year on the Paramount Network. The show is based on “Real Housewives” star Kyle Richards’ mom’s life, set in 1970s after a painful divorce. Mena Suvari plays a girlfriend who moves in with Silverstone’s character. “When I got the script, I was really excited,” Suvari says. “I always wanted to do more comedy.”
In the videos below, Silverstone offers some of her memories about working on “Clueless,” her life after the ’90s hit, and women in Hollywood.
(1) Was “Clueless” Groundbreaking?
“One studio said no to it, they didn’t think anyone was interested in watching a movie about a young girl,” Silverstone recalls. “Those people now kick themselves that they were not part of that film. They were like, ‘We don’t think anybody is going to care. It’s not going to sell tickets.'”
(2) Life After “Clueless”
“Yes, it changed my life,” Silverstone says. In the years that followed, she took a break from acting in big-screen spectacles to focus her energy on advocating for animal rights. “I sort of pushed it away and went another way. Now I realize I love both,” she says about acting and activism.
(3) Revisiting “Clueless”
In May, Silverstone attended a screening of “Clueless” at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery with 400 fans. It was the first time her 6-year-old son saw the film.
“We were laying under the stars,” Silverstone says. “Seeing it on the screen like that was an incredible thing to share with my son and go, ‘Wow I’m really proud of that.’ I’m proud of all the work on the screen, all the different artists who created that. Super proud.”
(4) The “Wonder Woman” effect
Silverstone and Suvari spoke about what the success of “Wonder Woman” means for the movie business. “We have made strides, of course,” Silverstone says. “Over the years, there was ‘Mean Girls’ and ‘Clueless.’ It’s like a few steps forward and back.”
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- Ramin Setoodeh
Back in 2004, Hal Hartley directed “The Girl from Monday” and tried to launch a website where viewers could watch the film. Since the average internet speed back then was 34 Kbps — about 165 times slower than today’s 5.6 Mbps — that didn’t work so well. “The technology was still a little sticky,” Hartley said. “We ended up distributing it in a more traditional way, where I would travel all over the place with the film and do Q&As.”
With films like “Trust,” “Amateur,” and “Henry Fool,” Hartley’s movies have never been about the money — but he’s always had his eye on the bottom line. He owns 50% of every film he’s made, and constantly seeks to capitalize on technology as a way to achieve independence and financial sustainability.
Read More: Why the ‘Swiss Army Man’ Directors Backed the Psychedelic Comedy-Musical ‘Snowy Bing Bongs’
With Kickstarter, he raised more than $56,000 on DVD presales for his 2011 film, “Meanwhile,” and then raised a production budget of nearly $400,000 from 1,789 backers for his 2014 film, “Ned Rifle.” “‘Ned Rifle’ became my most successful movie to date, and I didn’t need to share that money,” he said. “It all came directly to me and the crew.”
“Ned Rifle” was the final installment of the Grim family trilogy, one that included “Henry Fool” in 1997 and “Fay Grim” in 2006. The Kickstarter process taught Hartley that he had loyal fans in places like Japan, Australia, Europe, and Taiwan who were invested in his work. Now he’s testing that direct connection with Kickstarter to pre-sell a Grim family box set, complete with subtitles.
“I’m going to do the box set, no matter what,” said Hartley. “I really do want to make this approach to distributing my own film viable on its own. That’s why I’m gambling with this. My gambit here is the subtitling. That’s what is expensive about the undertaking, and why I’m going after $100,000. Four foreign languages translated accurately and sensitively, and then the authoring of that onto the DVD — it gets expensive. I’m just hoping the expense is worth it because it will help films contribute a wider audience around the world.”
Hartley says he’s talked with Atom Egoyan (“Sweet Hereafter,” “Exotica”) about the value of owning their work, since handling the various aspects of the business requires a full-time staff. Sustaining that support requires more work, and Hartley feels fortunate that the world of television has begun opening to him.
“Since I came back to America in 2009, I’ve worked for five years to get people interested in my TV projects – because I’ve been interested in episodic television for a long time,” he saidy. “I was also open to just being a director for hire. I saw a lot of half-hour comedy shows that were well written and said, ‘I can see myself directing that.'”
Read More: The 20 Best-Directed TV Drama Series of the 21st Century, Ranked
The veteran filmmaker got his TV break when he ran into Gregory Jacobs, his former first assistant director who had gone on to work for Steven Soderbergh and got his own television show, “Red Oaks,” on Amazon. Jacobs invited Hartley to direct an episode in season one, then half of the second season (five episodes). Starting next week, he will share season-three directing duties with David Gordon Green and Amy Heckerling.
“On my films, I’m thinking on a hundred different levels at any moment,” said Hartley. “While coming in to direct ‘Red Oaks’ — which is a script I take to very easily, it’s the kind of comedy I know how to do — what they expect of me is just to give it some character, explain to the actors the things that might not be perfectly obvious, and make the day, get all the shots. So it’s nice. I come away from a day’s work feeling good, like I’m a good skilled laborer.”
And is Hartley any closer to getting his own TV show?
“I’m developing something with Amazon. They optioned at least the pilot of my [half hour comedy] show,” said Hartley. “It’s about nuns who make beer to support themselves and they’re social activists, so they are wanted by the cops.”
Hal Hartley’s new Henry Fool Trilogy boxed set is part of Kickstarter Gold, a new initiative bringing back some of the most inventive and successful creators in Kickstarter history. Now through July 31, over 65 exceptional artists, authors, designers, musicians and makers are back as they push ideas and rewards from their past projects in bold new directions. Head here to learn more, and here to browse all the live Kickstarter Gold projects.
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- Chris O'Falt
“Blockbuster” has become the Kleenex of box-office descriptors, a bland adjective used to describe nine-figure films ranging from the obvious (“Star Wars”) to the also-ran (“The Mummy”). And then there’s the rare movie that genuinely deserves all the force and muscle that blockbusting suggests: Right now, it’s Patty Jenkins’ “Wonder Woman.”
As final numbers for the DC Comics movie from Warner Bros. come into clearer view, the “Wonder Woman”performance is better than even the most optimistic pre-opening estimates. It fell just 30 percent for its third weekend, grossing $41 million for a 17-day total of $275 million domestic, $572 million worldwide. (How good is that hold? “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” was considered above average when its third weekend saw a 47 percent drop.)
Expect the final domestic total to end up somewhere between $380 million and $400 million — although another strong weekend might send it above even that. Worldwide, it will rise above $800 million. »
- Tom Brueggemann
It comes as little surprise that Lucia Aniello and Paul W. Downs are a lot of fun to be around, laughing easily and finishing each other sentences when it comes to talking about their work. And there’s a lot of work to talk about, particularly their feature film debut, the Sony comedy “Rough Night.” Aniello directed the hard-r female-centric feature from the pair’s screenplay – they’re often splitting duties this way, though Aniello emerged early on as the director – which also features Downs in a supporting role.
Written as a spec script, “Rough Night” sparked a minor bidding war in the spring of 2015 when Sony Pictures picked up their then-untitled screenplay (the film later appeared on the Black List that same year). “Rough Night” follows a motley group of old friends, reunited for »
- Kate Erbland
“Wonder Woman” (Warner Bros.) built on its strong opening with a better than average second-weekend hold. The Patty Jenkins-directed D.C. Comic world entry is looking at strong foreign results, but it’s the domestic take where the response is strongest.
The same can’t be said for Universal’s attempt at a new series of classic monster character movies. “The Mummy” with Tom Cruise at the lead reinforced the big story for many top studio releases this summer so far. Foreign is strong initially, but domestic is weak even by relatively modest estimates.
In an otherwise unexceptional weekend, two wide releases — “It Comes At Night” (A24) and “Megan Leavey” (Bleecker Street) — from distributors usually associated with the specialized market placed in the top 10. Neither was stellar, but added about $10 million to the total. At this point, the boost is needed.
The Top 10
- Tom Brueggemann
Patty Jenkins’ “Wonder Woman” (Warner Bros.) starring Gal Gadot dominated the weekend box office with a $100-million record performance that drew media hoopla as the best-ever female-directed wide release. But that achievement is not the only news out of the weekend Top Ten box office. D.C Comics’ newest entry soared on multiple levels — see below — but DreamWorks Animation’s “Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie” (20th Century Fox) also exceeded expectations.
But one week alone won’t set the summer box office to rights. Neither of last week’s weak openers, “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” (Disney) and “Baywatch” (Paramount), will have box-office legs. And the five holdovers in the bottom half of the Top Ten took in a miserable $11 million altogether.
The Top Ten
$100,505,000 in 4,165 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $24,131; Cumulative: $100,505,000
- Tom Brueggemann
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- William Earl and Tom Brueggemann
Say it with us: “As if!” “Clueless,” the beloved, Beverly Hills-set ‘90s film, is getting the musical treatment and casting is currently underway for an upcoming developmental lab. The team will hold Equity Chorus Calls in New York City on May 31. Union performers are needed for several ensemble tracks, including Mr. Hall and a Dmv driving tester. The lab itself will run July 5–27, also in New York. The production will follow an Equity Developmental Lab contract, paying $1,000/week. Kristin Hanggi (“Rock of Ages”) will helm as director of the project, which will be a jukebox musical featuring some of the biggest hit songs of the era. “Clueless” filmmaker Amy Heckerling will write the book. Tara Rubin, whose office is credited with casting several of this season’s Broadway shows including “Dear Evan Hansen,” “Miss Saigon,” and “Bandstand,” is heading casting. Historically, many musicals that have ultimately arrived on Broadway are »
Rachel Israel takes home two with baby Charlotte for Keep the Change - The Founders Award for Best Narrative Feature and Best New Narrative Director presented by Michael Pitt and Clea Duvall Photo: Anne-Katrin Titze
Best International Narrative Feature is Elina Psykou's Son Of Sofia; Founders Award for Best Narrative Feature goes to Rachel Israel's Keep The Change, and Elvira Lind's Bobbi Jene swept the Documentary Feature honours. The Tribeca Film Festival Awards ceremony was hosted by Michael Rapaport at the Bmcc Tribeca Performing Arts Center on April 27. The feature and short film winners will receive artwork through Jane Rosenthal's Artists Awards program, sponsored by Chanel.
Diane Lane, Amy Berg, Barbara Kopple, Amy Heckerling, Zachary Quinto, Willem Dafoe, Josh Lucas, Best Actor Alessandro Nivola (Liz W. Garcia's One Percent More Humid), Denis O’Hare, Udi Aloni, Alex Orlovsky, Stephanie Zacharek, David Wilson, Ryan Eggold, Clea Duvall, »
- Anne-Katrin Titze
“Wasted! The Story of Food Waste”
“Wasted! The Story of Food Waste” will premiere at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival on April 22.
W&H: Describe the film for us in your own words.
AC&Nk: “Wasted! The Story of Food Waste” is a feature-length documentary that will change how people buy, cook, and eat food.
Through the eyes of chef-heroes like Anthony Bourdain, Dan Barber, Mario Batali, Massimo Bottura, and Danny Bowien, audiences will see how the world’s most influential chefs battle food waste — transforming what most people consider scraps and rejects into incredible dishes that feed more people and create a more sustainable food system.
“Wasted!” showcases forward-thinking organizations and individuals who are already influencing the future of food recovery and demonstrating how eating empowers you.
W&H: What drew you to this story?
AC&Nk: One of the perks of working with Anthony Bourdain and on shows like “The Mind of a Chef” is that you come in contact with a lot of chefs. Being in their worlds, their restaurants, and their kitchens, we see up close what makes these people tick and also what boils their blood.
Time and again, food waste was something that chefs railed against. It’s bad business. It shows laziness, a lack of creativity, and worst of all, disrespects the time, money, labor, and craft needed to grow the ingredients.
Enter The Rockefeller Foundation. With their support, we started doing research and quickly realized that while America happens to be the worst offender, food waste is a global problem. Every year, 1.3 billion tons of food is thrown out. There is $218 billion worth of food produced for human consumption that never gets eaten, and yet there are 800 million people around the globe who are starving.
So, why should we care about food waste? And what can the average person do that will have any impact? In addition to the chefs who are battling food waste, we were excited to discover so many solution-oriented individuals and organizations doing impactful work all over the world.
A film emerged, featuring stories of success that will hopefully show the audience that any action — no matter how small — can lead to new ways of feeding more people, curbing environmental damage, stimulating technology and business, and ultimately improving the health and well-being of all citizens.
W&H: What do you want people to think about when they are leaving the theater?
AC&Nk: Every year, 1.3 billion tons of food is thrown out. $218 billion worth of food produced for human consumption never gets eaten, despite 800 million people in the world who are hungry. And all this wasted food happens to be one of the biggest contributors to greenhouse gases.
Whether your motivation is economic, moral, or environmental, food waste is a cause we can all get behind. Food waste is something everyone can have an impact on.
W&H: What was the biggest challenge in making the film?
AC&Nk: The project was greenlit in May 2016. Production began in August 2016. Principal photography was completed in January 2017 and picture was locked in March 2017. It’s pretty hard to believe that we made a feature documentary in that time, especially because we discovered so many chefs, activists, and forward-thinking organizations all over the world who have come up with successful strategies on how to reduce food waste — on all levels of the food system.
There were so many solutions we heard about and smart people we met but not enough time to include them in the doc! For every one story in the film, there were at least three others that could not be included.
W&H: How did you get your film funded? Share some insights into how you got the film made.
AC&Nk: In 2015, the United Nations announced a global goal to reduce per capita food waste by half by 2030. In support of this Sustainable Development Goal, The Rockefeller Foundation launched its $130 million, seven-year YieldWise initiative designed to systemically address preventable food waste.
When Zero Point Zero Films approached the Rockefeller Foundation with an idea for a chef-centric documentary, both parties realized the opportunity to leverage the cultural cachet of the world’s best chefs and raise awareness about the problem of food waste.
W&H: What does it mean for you to have your film play at Tribeca?
AC&Nk: It was a monumental effort to get the documentary done as quickly as we did. For “Wasted!” to premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival here in New York? We are ecstatic! It’s such a proud moment. And we feel so lucky to be able to celebrate with the whole team, Zpz Films, The Rockefeller Foundation, as well as all our friends and family.
W&H: What’s the best and worst advice you’ve received?
AC: Best advice: “Work hard and be nice to people.”
Nk: Best advice: “Great films are made through great teamwork. Every single member of the team should be treated with respect and kindness.”
AC&Nk: Worst advice: “You’re the director. You shouldn’t have to do that.” As the director, you have to be ready to do anything — get coffee, drive the van, haul equipment, etc. Often, you get to do the things that no one else wants to do!
W&H: What advice do you have for other female directors?
AC&Nk: Being a lady is not a liability. The way we think, the way we talk, how we see the world — these are all assets. Our body language, even our energy and attitude, are different from men. But different can be good.
And yes, it is possible to be a working mom in production!
W&H: Name your favorite woman-directed film and why.
Nk: “Clueless” by Amy Heckerling. I love coming-of-age films that really capture the voice of a generation. And for better or for worse, “Clueless” did just that for mine. This film has it all: Heckerling’s humorous and eerily accurate screenplay, a strong and beautiful female lead, amazing costumes, a perfect soundtrack, and a Jane Austen story to boot.
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.
AC: A woman was the lead in the last “Star Wars” movie. Wonder Woman is getting her own film. And “The Handmaid’s Tale” just got remade. More and more stories are being told about women and by women — as directors, screenwriters, cinematographers, and showrunners. It’s an exciting time to be filmmakers and storytellers.
Nk: I think it’s all about visibility. Women directors need to see, hear, and learn from other women directors. I wish I had more exposure to that when I was in film school. But I know that’s changing for the better. I think the only way to even out the playing field is to encourage and inspire each other to keep directing more and more!
Tribeca 2017 Women Directors: Meet Anna Chai and Nari Kye — “Wasted! The Story of Food Waste” was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. »
- Joseph Allen
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