Thursday, 19 May 2016

The Strange Case of the Hidden female Director

What links the following films?
City of God, Turbo Kid, Slumdog Millionaire, The Act of Killing and Moomins on the Riviera.
Got it?
 They all have female directors in their directorial team. 
This leads to a big question can these films be considered for the 52filmsbywomen challenge and what happened to these women and then why were they forgotten?
To answer these questions I needed to write more questions
also thank you to TMSer Dodo for the inspiration behind this post
Of our original list of films we need to split them into two sections.

Slumdog Millionaire directed by Danny Boyle co-directed by Lovleen Tanden
The Act of Killing directed by Joshua Oppenheimer co-directed by Christine Cynn, Anonymous
 City of God directed by Fernando Merielles co-directed by Katia Lund
Moomins in the Riviera. directed by Xavier Pikard co-directed by Hanna Hemilla*

but then we are left with just Turbo Kid and I need it to be even
So lets add a few more 2 is now this lineup

Turbo Kid directed by RKSS* Anouk Whisell, Yoann-Karl Whisell,Francois Simard 
Little Miss Sunshine & Ruby Sparks directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris
Nim's Island directed by Jennifer Flackett and Mark Levin

Now with this in place we can start working this out.

So what's the difference between team 1 and team 2?

Co-directors VS Teams.
Team 1 you may notice uses co-directors instead of directorial teams. Often this is due to eligibility in festivals, competitions and associations. The Directors Guild of America will not allow more than one director to direct a film as they have a one director per film policy. there are some notable exceptions including the Coen's, Wachowski's, Faris & Dayton who we will get to later. 
The DGA's policy was what led to Robert Rodriguez dropping out to make Sin City as they would not make an exception for Frank Miller due to lack of experience.

Notably the DGA does not recognise Co-directors. At all. Sometimes this is got round by putting the co-director somewhere else as well and giving them a title such as a producer. As mentioned earlier the rule is sometimes let through for teams but not very often. 

What does that mean for the co-directors?
Mostly that people don't know about them. Although sometimes certain awards and competitions do give them recognition such as the AFI Audience Award and Washington DC Area Film Critics Association who gave recognition to Meirelles and Lund for City of God. Sadly these awards and competitions are few and far between. Meirelles went on to make The Constant Gardner and Blindness. Lund directed some TV in the 2010-2012's and is only just back to film making. This time with new documentary Miratus (trailer here).

Ok so you've talked about Lund. Where are the Other Co-directors now?
Do they have other movies that I can support?

Loveleen Tandan the co-director of Slumdog Millionire was awarded alongside Danny Boyle with the New York Film Critics Online Award  for best director. Currently on her IMDB there are no new credits other than a Thanks in a short film from 2010. Although it's rumored she is working on a script on her own in India. 

Christine Cynn collaborated again with Oppenheimer again with The Look of Silence this time as an additional Camera and got a Very Special Thanks. There is no information of Upcoming projects available.

Hanna Hemilla was credited not just as co-director (and sometimes director) but as writer and producer of Moomins on the Riviera. She has quite the back catalogue of work and have no doubt she'll be doing more soon. 

So can we count Team 1 and Team 2 movies for the 52filmsbywomen challenge?
I'd argue yes. They are directed by a woman. Not just a woman as there is a man on the team but I don;t think that should take away from the female director in questions work.
I think it's very important to give them recognition for the work they did especially as many organisations won't/
So tell people, write about them. Don't forget the female co-directors and teams and find others that have been forgotten and if you like the movie sing their praises and follow their career!

So guys thoughts? This thing was difficult to write and I haven't done this much studying since my uni stuff and i'm getting a degree out of that hopefully! this is just for fun!! I worry about myself sometimes!!!

Works I used for this + Further reading for you guys
Slate's Daniel Engber's article Why Not Quit the Director's Guild?
Huff Po's Melissa Silverstein asks What the Hell is a co-director anyway?
DGA page 14 Section 1-301. Definition of Employees Recognised
The Guardian's piece on Lund "And the Winner Isn't"

*Moomins on the Riviera in the credits credits Hemilla as co-director in all the writing about it and official advertising she is put on as a director next to Pikard. I put them on team 1 because thats whats on the film itself.
*RKSS is the super funky cool name of radical directorial cool cats Road Kill Super Stars.


  1. Frank Miller is the comic book writer/artist who created Sin City. George Miller, of Mad Max fame, had no involvement and would have already been a member of the DGA.