Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Ally Acker: An Update

Many cross-border conversations about #womeninfilm take place on Facebook now, rather than in blog comments or elsewhere online. This week, several of those conversations were about Geena Davis’ participation, as one of five executive producers and the ‘star’, according to imdb, of Tom Donahue’s Untitled Geena Davis/Gender in Media Documentary. And the conversations were notable for their rich diversity of viewpoints, because there’s now a rich diversity of #womeninfilm activists (including some men), many of us also filmmakers.

And as I enjoyed the debate, I recalled Ally Acker’s project, Reel Herstory, with Jodie Foster and wondered if she had asked Geena Davis to participate in any way. I also recalled that this year at Cannes, one of the few features directed by women was The Women Who Run Hollywood/ Et la femme créa Hollywood, by sisters Julia and Clara Kuperberg.

Clara and Julia Kuperberg

Time for an update, I thought. Just a little one. ‘Nothing too long or demanding, just updating,’ I emailed to Ally, whom I interviewed for Wellywood Woman almost two years ago — she’s always super-busy. Back came this wonderful response.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Women-Directed Docos About Women Directors


Because of the news about Geena Davis' involvement in Tom Donahue's project about women directors, and the very interesting Facebook conversations it stimulated, I'm collecting info about women-directed docos about women directors. Some are finished. Others are in progress. Each is to be treasured. What have I missed?

On the list so far–
Ally Acker's Reel Herstory 
Amy Adrion's Half the Picture 
Another Gaze's  (Dorothy Allen-Pickard & Daniella Shreir's) In Conversation With 
Beti Ellerson's Sisters of the Screen 
Cady McClain's Seeing is Believing: Women Direct
Caroline Suh's The 4%: Film's Gender Problem 
Julia & Clara Kuperberg's The Women Who Run Hollywood/ Et la femme créa Hollywood 
Jennifer Dean'The 2d Sense & the 7th Art 
Louise Hutt's Online Heroines  
Yvonne Welbon's Sisters in Cinema (thanks for the headsup on this one, HerFilm)
Yvonne Welbon's Sisters in the Life (Yvonne's current project, on the history of black lesbian media makers)

(Just click on the pic to go to the full FB post and add your two bits.)




I'm also very interested in fictional movies about women making movies. My big ambition is to see Julie Dash's Illusionsavailable only through the fabulous Women Make Movies and a little costly for me because Women Make Movies is geared to an educational market: bring on an online, all-territory women's-film-distribution-service! I believe there are more on similar themes out there, so if you know of any, please let me know!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Alison Maclean's 'The Rehearsal' is opening very soon!


So Alison Maclean's The Rehearsal will have its international premiere in New Zealand, at the New Zealand International Film Festival, in July. It goes on general release in New Zealand in late August and then off round the world, I hope.

The Rehearsal is Alison's third and long-awaited feature. She also wrote the script, with Emily Perkins, from Booker Award-winning Eleanor Catton’s first novel. It is produced by her long-time collaborator Bridget Ikin, with Trevor Haysom. “I wanted it to be an intimate, authentic experience of what it’s like to be a young person in New Zealand now,” said Alison, according to the festival’s announcement.

Alison also made the classic Kitchen Sink, that debuted in Cannes in 1989 and won lots of awards. In the early 90s, after making her first feature, Crush, which played in Competition at Cannes, she disappeared to the northern hemisphere, where she made a second award-winning feature, Jesus’ Son; and directed lots of commercials and some shorts, as well as episodes of Sex and the City, Carnivale, The L-Word, Homicide and The Tudors. She also co-directed Persons of Interest, a series of interviews with New York Arabs and Muslims detained on immigration charges after September 11th 2001.

Here’s more about The Rehearsal, from the festival’s site. And just look at that cast!–
Unpacking the dramas that energise a class of budding young actors, The Rehearsal mounts an enticing inquisition of performance, identity and moral anxiety with resonance far beyond its hothouse setting. 

James Rolleston [from Boy, The Dark Horse, The Dead Lands] vanishes into the part of Stanley, a naive newcomer drawn to the city by his passion to make it on stage. While his new best friends indulge in wilder stuff, gentle Stanley tentatively romances 15-year-old Isolde (Ella Edward). 
His sweet dreams may have found their nemesis in Hannah (Kerry Fox [o wow!]), the school’s grandstanding senior tutor. Students must deconstruct themselves, she contends, before they can play at being anybody else. Stanley gradually bends to her taunting style, until, in one of the dazzling turns that stud the film, he earns her applause with a hilarious, treacherously accurate impersonation of his salesman father. Even murkier waters await when his class decides that a sex scandal involving Isolde’s older sister (Alice Englert [remember her from Sally Potter’s Ginger & Rosa?and, in a lovely New Zealand connection, Jane Campion’s daughter]) should be intensively researched for their end-of-year show. 
With Michelle Ny, Marlon Williams and Kieran Charnock providing vivid support to the young principals, The Rehearsal carries a potent extra-textual charge: there’s enough talent in this fictional drama school to constitute a real-world new wave. 
Like the novel, the film is as attentive to the misleading effect youthful nerve can have on the ‘mature’ as it is to the crises the teachers so blithely incite in the taught. It’s also its own sharp, original thing, a film by Alison Maclean, alive with ambiguity and cinematic verve.

I can’t wait to see this!

Here's the trailer.




Follow The Rehearsal on Facebook and on Instagram.

Find more about Alison’s work here, at New Zealand Onscreen