Fish Tank (2009) - News Poster

(2009)

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Zoë Kravitz Reveals Director Sexually Harassed Her When She Was ‘Maybe 19 or 20’ Years Old

Zoë Kravitz Reveals Director Sexually Harassed Her When She Was ‘Maybe 19 or 20’ Years Old
In a new issue of the magazine, Zoë Kravitz has spoken openly with Rolling Stone about her experiences with sexual harassment in Hollywood. The actress revealed she was harassed by an unnamed director early on in her career when she was around 20 years old. Kravitz decided not to name the director, but she did get into some of the specifics of his inappropriate behavior.

“I definitely worked with a director who made me very uncomfortable,” Kravitz said. “I was young — maybe 19 or 20 — and we were on location, staying at the same hotel. And it was full-on: ‘Can I come inside your room?’ Just totally inappropriate. And then he’d do things like come to the makeup trailer and touch my hair. Or say, ‘Let me see your costume — turn around?’ It’s just never Ok for someone to do that. Especially when they’re in a position of power.”

Kravitz
See full article at Indiewire »

Hulu schedule: Here’s what is coming and leaving in July 2018

Hulu has confirmed that several of its original series will be debuting new episodes on the streaming service in July, including the first season of the highly anticipated Stephen King thriller “Castle Rock” as well as season 2 of the costume drama “Harlots” and season 4 of the comedy “Casual.”

And there will also be new to Hulu seasons of some of your favorites from other networks, including season 2 of “The Strain,” season 4 of “The Vikings” and season 8 of “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” Likewise, there will be plenty of movies making their first Hulu appearances including the first five films in the “Star Trek” franchise and the Oscar-winning “Rosemary’s Baby.”

See Netflix schedule: Here’s what is coming and leaving in July

Available July 1: TV

Alaska: The Last Frontier: Complete Season 4 (Discovery)

Deadliest Catch: Complete Season 11 (Discovery)

Deadly Women: Complete Season 6 (ID)

Dual Survival: Complete Season 5 (Discovery)

Elementary: Complete Season
See full article at Gold Derby »

Tribeca 2018 Women Directors: Meet Nia DaCosta — “Little Woods”

Little Woods

Nia DaCosta has written and directed projects for stage, film, and new media platforms. “Little Woods” is her debut feature.

Little Woods” premiered at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival on April 21.

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

Nd: “Little Woods” is a film about two estranged sisters who live in a fracking boomtown in North Dakota and have to work outside of the law to improve their lives. This takes them on a dangerous journey that drives them to extremes.

It’s a film about choice in the face of few options and the lives of women in little seen parts of America.

W&H: What drew you to this story?

Nd: Part of what drew me to the story was my desire to explore a rural part of America that I was unfamiliar with and understand the lives of women in these spaces.
See full article at Women and Hollywood »

True colours by Anne-Katrin Titze

‪Carmen Dell’Orefice‬: "The thing about Guo Pei is that she is the purest child. She doesn't envy. Her love is so pure. That's what makes her artistry just unique." Photo: Anne-Katrin Titze

When I commented to Pietra Brettkelly at the Tribeca Film Festival world premiere of Yellow Is Forbidden, about her very creative use of a film about Balenciaga that Guo Pei admired, the director gave credit to her "extraordinary" editor Nicolas Chaudeurge. Carmen Dell’Orefice followed up from the stage with her personal feelings for Guo Pei and what makes her artistry unique.

Guo Pei evening gown - China: Through the Looking Glass Costume Institute exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art Photo: Anne-Katrin Titze

Rihanna, in 2015, wore a yellow cape gown designed by Guo Pei to Anna Wintour's Costume Institute Gala at The Metropolitan Museum of Art for the exhibition China: Through the Looking Glass,
See full article at eyeforfilm.co.uk »

Tribeca 2018 Women Directors: Meet Stephanie Wang-Breal— “Blowin’ Up”

“Blowin Up”

Stephanie Wang-Breal is an award-winning filmmaker and commercial director. Her Emmy-nominated feature documentary “Wo Ai Ni Mommy” was awarded Best Us Feature at AFI Silverdocs Festival. Her other credits include “Tough Love” and the short film “From Infirmity to Firmness.”

“Blowin’ Up” will premiere at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival on April 20.

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

Swb: The film is about a courtroom in Queens, New York run by a group of women who are attempting to change the way women arrested for prostitution are treated by the criminal justice system.

W&H: What drew you to this story?

Swb: It dealt with two populations of women I have explored in my previous works: Asian women and young girls from the foster care system. I became fascinated with the labels: sex work, prostitution, and human trafficking, and grew interested in unraveling
See full article at Women and Hollywood »

2018 British Urban Film Festival unveils line-up, hosts and awards

Clare Anyiam-Osigwe’s No Shade, produced by the Festival, to open the event.

The 2018 British Urban Film Festival (June 4-9) has announced its line-up, hosts and awards today.

The festival will open with writer-director Clare Anyiam-Osigwe’s No Shade, about a British woman coming to terms with her relationships with men and her skintone, starring Adele Oni in her debut lead role. It is the first feature to be released by the Festival under its new Buff Originals slate.

The closing night film is the festival premiere of Harry Brown writer Gary Young’s directorial debut Two Graves, a revenge
See full article at ScreenDaily »

SXSW 2018 Women Directors: Meet Hannah Marks — “Shotgun”

“Shotgun”

Hannah Marks is an actress, writer, and director known for her roles in the BBC America/ Netflix series “Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency” and films such as “Anesthesia,” “Southbound,” and “Hard Sell.” She was recently named one of Rolling Stone’s 25 under 25 for her work as co-writer/director of “Shotgun,” her feature directorial debut.

Shotgun” will premiere at the 2018 SXSW Film Festival on March 9. The film is co-directed by Joey Power.

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

Hm: “Shotgun” is not a cancer love story, though it may seem like it at first. It’s really an exploration of a young marriage and how Ptsd from an illness affects the relationship later. The main characters are 23-year-olds Elliot and Mia, who fall for each other under the cloud of life or death stakes.

W&H: What drew you to this story?

Hm: Joey
See full article at Women and Hollywood »

Noel Clarke launches film and TV venture with All3Media backing

  • ScreenDaily
Noel Clarke launches film and TV venture with All3Media backing
Kidulthood director is starting Unstoppable Film and TV with producer/actor Jason Maza.

Super-indie All3Media Group has taken a stake in Kidulthood writer Noel Clarke’s newly-launched production company.

Clarke is launching Unstoppable Film and TV, along with producer and actor Jason Maza. Both are starring in Sky1’s upcoming Vertigo Films-produced thriller Bulletproof.

Clarke and Maza launched their previous venture Unstoppable Entertainment in 2007 but they will now be taking up all commissions under the All3-backed indie.

It will take the lead on the TV adaptation of Kidulthood, which was announced as a Lionsgate UK co-pro at the end of last year. The series will comprise of several seasons of eight to 10-hour long episodes, with the first set to be called Kidolescence.

Clarke and Maza will work from a base in London while using All3’s backing to strengthen their presence in the Us. All
See full article at ScreenDaily »

‘Big Little Lies’ Season 2: Everything to Know About HBO’s Blockbuster Follow-Up

‘Big Little Lies’ Season 2: Everything to Know About HBO’s Blockbuster Follow-Up
Big Little Lies” had the perfect ending. Back when it existed purely as a limited series, the seventh and final episode closed with a group of women united on a sunny Monterrey afternoon.

Now that the epilogue to that murder mystery will stretch at least an entire season, the TV world looks to HBO for one of the most hotly anticipated follow-ups in recent memory.

We should note that some of the information below references pivotal events from the end of Season 1. You’ve…been warned.

Season 2 will have one director, but it’s not Jean-Marc Vallée.

Fish Tank” and “American Honey” director Andrea Arnold will direct all seven episodes of Season 2. In addition to being behind the camera, Arnold will serve as an executive producer, as Vallée did last season. (Vallée, whose next project is HBO’s latest big literary miniseries adaptation, “Sharp Objects,” will also stay on in an Ep role.
See full article at Indiewire »

Ryan Coogler Shares Five Films That ‘Had a Profound Impact’ on His Life, From ‘Malcolm X’ to ‘Fish Tank’

Ryan Coogler Shares Five Films That ‘Had a Profound Impact’ on His Life, From ‘Malcolm X’ to ‘Fish Tank’
It’s hard to believe “Black Panther” is only the third film Ryan Coogler has ever directed. The 31-year-old wunderkind is on the brink of becoming a bona fide A-lister, as “Black Panther” is poised to break box office records the world over. It wasn’t too long ago, however that Coogler was in film school at USC, making his first shorts and watching Andrea Arnold films.

After an early screening of “Black Panther” this week, Coogler took to the stage at Bam’s Harvey Theater in the Fort Greene neighborhood of Brooklyn. As Coogler answered audience questions, he admitted he was slightly distracted by the sight of his “hero” Spike Lee, who was sitting in the front row. (Lee has lived and worked in Fort Greene for decades.)

When the question of his favorite films came up, Coogler was able to gush further about his hero. Unable to pick just one,
See full article at Indiewire »

Sundance 2018 Women Directors: Meet Reed Morano — “I Think We’re Alone Now”

“I Think We’re Alone Now”

Reed Morano won the 2017 Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series for “The Handmaid’s Tale.” She earned an Independent Spirit Award nomination for cinematography in her directorial debut “Meadowland,” where she also served as the film’s cinematographer. Her other directing credits include Showtime’s “Billions” and AMC’s “Halt and Catch Fire,” and her cinematography credits include “Frozen River” and “Kill Your Darlings.”

“I Think We’re Alone Now” will premiere at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival on January 21.

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

Rm: Del is the last man on Earth and he’s finally at peace. He’s not looking for other survivors and besides, there aren’t any. He’s created his own utopia he’s completely in control of and life is good. But then, his worst nightmare is realized — he’s not alone.
See full article at Women and Hollywood »

Jamie Carmichael steps down as president of film at Kew Media Group (exclusive)

Industry veteran was formerly head of Content Film.

Jamie Carmichael

La-based international sales veteran Jamie Carmichael is stepping down from his role as president of film at Kew Media Group.

The long-time Content Film head is understood to be lining up another venture in the film and TV sector but details have yet to be confirmed.

Kew told Screen in a statement:

”Kew is further combining its film and television units. This allows for more cohesion and synergies across our sales and marketing teams and better positions the company for its growth and expansion. The new joint division will be led by Greg Phillips, President, Distribution. Jamie Carmichael, President of Film, has decided to leave the company to pursue new opportunities.”

Recent titles on the Kew slate include Zach Fox and Omri Dorani’s teen comedy How To Get Girls, Bees Make Honey starring Alice Eve, comedy An Actor Prepares with Jeremy Irons and Jack Huston and sci-fi
See full article at ScreenDaily »

‘Big Little Lies’ Season 2 Set at HBO: Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman to Star, Andrea Arnold to Direct

‘Big Little Lies’ Season 2 Set at HBO: Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman to Star, Andrea Arnold to Direct
Big Little Lies” is officially coming back. After months of speculation over whether or not the hit limited series would return, HBO has officially given the green light to Season 2.

Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman are set to star. No other cast members have been confirmed, but the “most of the cast is expected to return and negotiations are underway.”

David E. Kelley — who wrote all of Season 1 — will pen Season 2, as well, “partially” based on a story by the book’s author (and series producer) Liane Moriarty. But he’ll be working with a new director: Andrea Arnold will direct all seven episodes of Season 2. She replaces Jean-Marc Vallee, who won an Emmy for directing Season 1, but expressed disinterest in returning for more episodes.

Read More:‘Big Little Lies’: Reese Witherspoon Teases Season 2, Fans Still Hate Alexander Skarsgård, and More from the Cast

Vallee remains attached as an executive producer,
See full article at Indiewire »

The 20 Best Director-Cinematographer Collaborations Working Today

The 20 Best Director-Cinematographer Collaborations Working Today
The gravitational pull that exists between great directors and great cinematographers is natural. Many of the best pairings throughout film history have been project based, with the director or producer picking a cinematographer to achieve a specific look for a particular film. There’s a difference between providing a talented cinematographer with the perfect platform to apply their skills and a director-cinematographer collaboration that elevates the work of both artists, regardless of material.

This list is less about identifying the best looking films of the era – although many are here – and more about celebrating collaborations that have allowed many of the best filmmakers working today to fully express themselves on the big screen.

Dir: Paul Thomas Anderson, Dp: Robert Elswit

The first time Paul Thomas Anderson did not work with Elswitt – “The Master,” shot by Mihai Mălaimare Jr. – the results were (thankfully) great, but it’s fascinating that the director
See full article at Indiewire »

Michael Fassbender: After a Year of Flops, Here’s How He Can Recover from ‘The Snowman’

Michael Fassbender: After a Year of Flops, Here’s How He Can Recover from ‘The Snowman’
Welcome to Career Watch, a vocational checkup of top actors and directors and those who hope to get there. In this edition, we take on Michael Fassbender.

Bottom Line: Fassbender is an asset in any ensemble, from the “X-Men” franchise to “Inglourious Basterds.” Those franchises inflate his bankability in foreign territories, and he’s had two Oscar nominations, but he lacks marquee value. He was the biggest star in well-reviewed $97-million sequel “Alien: Covenant” (Metacritic: 65), which scored just $240 million worldwide, down dramatically from the $430 million earned by its predecessor, “Prometheus.” Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin didn’t even know who Fassbender was when his name came up to play the lead in hot project “Steve Jobs” (Metacritic: 82); and sure enough, even with a full-tilt Oscar push that brought him his first Best Actor nomination, the $30-million movie tanked with just $34 million worldwide. Fassbender tends to be cast as troubled antiheroes (Magneto, Macbeth,
See full article at Thompson on Hollywood »

Michael Fassbender: After a Year of Flops, Here’s How He Can Recover from ‘The Snowman’

Michael Fassbender: After a Year of Flops, Here’s How He Can Recover from ‘The Snowman’
Welcome to Career Watch, a vocational checkup of top actors and directors and those who hope to get there. In this edition, we take on Michael Fassbender.

Bottom Line: Fassbender is an asset in any ensemble, from the “X-Men” franchise to “Inglourious Basterds.” Those franchises inflate his bankability in foreign territories, and he’s had two Oscar nominations, but he lacks marquee value. He was the biggest star in well-reviewed $97-million sequel “Alien: Covenant” (Metacritic: 65), which scored just $240 million worldwide, down dramatically from the $430 million earned by its predecessor, “Prometheus.” Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin didn’t even know who Fassbender was when his name came up to play the lead in hot project “Steve Jobs” (Metacritic: 82); and sure enough, even with a full-tilt Oscar push that brought him his first Best Actor nomination, the $30-million movie tanked with just $34 million worldwide. Fassbender tends to be cast as troubled antiheroes (Magneto, Macbeth,
See full article at Indiewire »

Andrea Arnold Named Jury President of BFI London Film Fest’s Official Competition

Arnold: Cinéma Canal+/YouTube

Fish Tank” director Andrea Arnold is heading to the 61st BFI London Film Festival. The Hollywood Reporter confirms that the Oscar-winning filmmaker will lead the official competition’s jury. Arnold will preside over a jury that includes actress Lily Cole (“Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie”) and producer Emma Thomas (“Dunkirk”), amongst others.

Arnold isn’t the only woman who will serve as a jury president. “The Trip” producer Melissa Parmenter is heading the first feature competition.

Red Road,” “Wuthering Heights,” and episodes of “I Love Dick” and “Transparent” are among Arnold’s directing credits. She screened her most recent feature film, “American Honey,” at last year’s edition of BFI London Film Fest. The Cannes’ Jury Prize and British Independent Film Award-winning flick follows a group of teens and young adults who travel through the Midwest selling magazine subscriptions.

“We’ve grown up mainly on male stories, and most of the films have been written and directed by men — and that’s only half of the human race,” Arnold has said. “I remember going to a women’s film festival and feeling a slight amount of trepidation, but actually it was fantastic. Some of the films made me cry because they really spoke to me. It was then I realized up till then I had mostly been spoken to by men in cinema.”

Arnold won an Oscar in 2005 for her short film “Wasp.”

The BFI London Film Fest begins Wednesday, October 4, and will run through October 15. “Battle of the Sexes,” Valerie Faris and Jonathan Dayton’s biopic about the famous Billie Jean King v. Bobby Riggs tennis match, will make its European premiere as the fest’s American Express Gala on October 7. Among the other films screening are Guillermo del Toro’s dark fairy tale “The Shape of Water” and “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” Tiff’s People’s Choice Award winner starring Frances McDormand as a grieving mother hell-bent on justice.

Andrea Arnold Named Jury President of BFI London Film Fest’s Official Competition 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 Valerie Faris — “Battle of the Sexes”

Battle of the Sexes”: Fox Searchlight

Valerie Faris and her husband, Jonathan Dayton, have co-directed music videos for R.E.M., The Smashing Pumpkins, Janet Jackson, Oasis, and many others in the 1990s and 2000s. Their previous film credits include “Little Miss Sunshine” and “Ruby Sparks.”

Battle of the Sexes” will premiere at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival on September 10. Dayton co-directed the film.

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

Vf: The film is an intimate portrayal of the private lives of Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs leading up to the Battle of the Sexes match.

W&H: What drew you to this story?

Vf: I was particularly interested in the story of Billie Jean beginning a kind of personal transformation by becoming a leader in the fight for equal pay for women in tennis while having her first affair with a woman.

Billie Jean’s courage to put so much on the line to make change both in her professional and personal life remains very inspiring to me.

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

Vf: I hope they will go out and have a stimulating conversation about the thoughts and feelings the film raised for them, how it relates to their own lives, and — maybe in the bigger picture — what has changed in the last 44 years and what has not.

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

Vf: I think we all felt pressure to do justice to these larger than life characters. We worked to keep each character dimensional and the film complex, never reducing anyone or any subject to a cliché or a binary argument.

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

Vf: Fox Searchlight and Danny Boyle and Christian Colson brought the film to us. I think they liked the idea of a husband and wife team directing a film titled “Battle of the Sexes.” This is our third film with Fox Searchlight.

By normal Hollywood standards this is a low-budget production, but it’s our biggest budget yet and big by Searchlight standards as well. We were fortunate to put together an amazing cast that made greenlighting the movie very easy.

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

Vf: It’s a real thrill to screen the film alongside so many other great films. It’s the ideal way to release a film: With a festival to usher it into the world, it gets the conversation going about the film in a very organic way.

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

Vf: Never go to bed angry at your husband/partner.

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

Vf: Probably what I would tell all filmmakers — and myself for that matter — is to do what you are uniquely suited to do, don’t judge yourself, and put a lot of love and hard work into what you’re doing.

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

Vf: This is the hardest question. There are so many I love. Andrea Arnold’s “Red Road” and “Fish Tank” are two of my favorites. I love her style of storytelling. There’s so much drama but it never feels forced or contrived. I’m always right with the characters following them through the surprising turns of the story.

I’m also a big fan of Robbie Ryan’s cinematography. He worked on both of those films.

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.

Vf: With so many venues to present films now, there should be more opportunities as well. I think it’s our turn. The public is ready for some new blood and new stories.

https://medium.com/media/bbcc81f59bb2a9ac8e4341f1fb2d308d/href

Tiff 2017 Women Directors: Meet Valerie Faris — “Battle of the Sexes” 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 Iram Haq — “What Will People Say”

“What Will People Say”

Iram Haq is a Norwegian actress, writer, and director. Her directorial debut short, “Little Miss Eyeflap,” screened at the Sundance Film Festival in 2009. Her feature film debut, “I Am Yours,” premiered at 2013’s Toronto International Film Festival and was selected as Norway’s official Oscar entry. “I Am Yours” has gone on to win a number of prizes at festivals around the world.

“What Will People Say” will premiere at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival on September 9.

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

Ih: This film is about living in between two cultures and a painful love story between a father and a daughter.

Nisha, a 16-year-old girl with a Norwegian-Pakistani background, lives a double life. She is a more traditional girl at home, but she is like any other Norwegian youth with her friends. One day, her father finds her with a Norwegian boy. That event completely changes her life.

W&H: What drew you to this story?

Ih: This was a story that was dear to me. I have been working on the script for several years, and I wanted to be ready to tell this story in a more mature way.

I didn’t want this story to be black and white. I wanted to understand her parents’ point of view and their actions in regards to social control. I also wanted to go deeper into the struggle between parent and child. I wanted to explore the different nuances and complexity of an emotional conflict that so many girls go through.

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

Ih: I hope the audience gains a better understanding of what happens when people are unable to do what they want. I also hope they they get a better understanding about what it’s like to live in between two different cultures.

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

Ih: It was great fun to make a film in several countries with different languages, cultures, and people.

The biggest challenge was knowing the right choices for my story and film. I always try to follow my gut feeling while at the same time focusing on the story I wanted to tell.

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

Ih: It took a few years to make it all happen. I wrote the script for several years. My producers and I then obtained funding from Norway, Sweden, Eurimages, and Germany.

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

Ih: That is a big deal for me! I am very thankful and proud that my film will be showed there. And, of course, Tiff allows the story to reach a larger audience — which is fantastic!

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

Ih: I was once advised to start cleaning toilets and then move my way up from there because I couldn’t just start to make movies without experience. But I realized that hard work and the will to dare was the best way for me to make movies.

If you really want something, you will learn whatever it is you need from yourself. So, if it’s something you really want to do, just do it!

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

Ih: Dare to follow your heart and dreams. Tell those stories you really want to tell. Make the movie you want to make.

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

Ih: Andrea Arnold’s “Fish Tank” is one of many great female-directed films. This movie shows a very strong and honest picture of a teenage girl’s struggle in a dysfunctional family. To me, this will always be an important story to tell.

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.

Ih: I really believe that change is going to happen, but this issue still needs a lot of attention. We need to be aware of this problem because women’s voices are equally as important as men’s. I believe in equality, and we simply have to insist on this change.

Tiff 2017 Women Directors: Meet Iram Haq — “What Will People Say” 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 Jenna Bass — “High Fantasy”

“High Fantasy”

Jenna Bass is a director and writer whose work has premiered around the world, including Sundance, Berlinale, Göteborg, Busan, and Durban International Film Festivals, where she has been heralded as ushering in a ‘New Wave’ of South African cinema. Her previous works include “The Tunnel” and “Love the One You Love.” Bass is the editor and co-creator of Jungle Jim, an illustrated pulp-literary magazine for African fiction. She is currently engaged in a Vr collaboration with artist, Olivie Keck and indie game developers, Free Lives, as well as co-writing a fantasy animation feature screenplay for “Sanusi Chronicles.”

“High Fantasy” will premiere at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival on September 8.

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

Jb: “High Fantasy” is a found-footage body-swap satire from South Africa. It follows a group of four young South African friends on a camping trip to an isolated farm where they inexplicably swap bodies.

Capturing their predicament on their phone cameras, they must deal with all the complications that come from being another race or gender in the so-called Rainbow Nation.

W&H: What drew you to this story?

Jb: Like a lot of South Africans of my generation, I’d been profoundly moved by the Fees Must Fall university protests in 2015 which, while demanding accessible, decolonized education, highlighted the extreme inequality in our country that has barely shifted since democracy arrived in 1994.

The movement brought to light the very complex identity politics around race, class, gender, sexuality, and ownership that inform every aspect of our society, and for some time I was looking for a way to capture that zeitgeist for an audience of that generation.

At the same time, these issues are still undoubtedly global, and I believed they were on the minds of young people everywhere.

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

Jb: I think the wonderful thing about film is how it can be such a strong catalyst for conversation. I would love to see audiences leaving the cinema just talking about the film, what they think, how it relates to their own lives. It’d be great if they recognized their lives on the screen.

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

Jb: Just deciding to make it in the first place. I got a lot of advice that making this film was a very bad move — it was too micro-budget, too uncommercial, too controversial, just too difficult. Deciding to do it anyway was probably the biggest hurdle to overcome.

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

Jb: I was very fortunate that two producers who I’d worked with before believed in me and supported the film. I put in the start-up finance myself, and with some investment from them, plus a private investor, we were able to raise enough to shoot the film and get it to a watchable form so that we could seek finishing funds.

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

Jb: It’s a dream to represent these characters, these issues, this story, and our style of filmmaking on an international stage.

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

Jb: Worst advice: Raise finance through product placement.

Best advice: Don’t compromise.

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

Jb: Trust yourself.

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

Jb: It’s a tie between “Near Dark” by Kathryn Bigelow and “Fish Tank” by Andrea Arnold. I love both these films — “Near Dark” because it was the first film that made me realzse the gender disparity in the films I’d grown up admiring and “Fish Tank” because it is such excellent, perfect storytelling.

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.

Jb: Generally speaking, yes, I think things are changing. But these changes seem to still be privileging white women rather than women of all colors, and this is not the kind of diversity we should be fighting for.

As a white woman in the South African film industry, despite the challenges I have experienced due to gender, I have nonetheless managed to pursue my own work. However, I see that the glass ceiling remains very much a reality for many of my black colleagues — which should be unacceptable in our country.

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Tiff 2017 Women Directors: Meet Jenna Bass — “High Fantasy” 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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