Women’s History Month: Bleecker Street Celebrates Female Filmmakers 

Women’s History Month: Bleecker Street Celebrates Female Filmmakers 

Melissa Traub

This Women’s History Month, we honor the creativity, voices, and achievements of women in film not only on the big screen, but also behind the camera. From working with Academy Award-nominated writer/director Debra Granik on Leave No Trace, her first narrative feature in 10 years, to giving a platform to first-time director Elizabeth Chomko with her acclaimed What They Had, Bleecker Street had an impressive year for female filmmakers in 2018. In 2019, we are thrilled to partner with celebrated director Sally Potter (Orlando) along with women leaders in all phases of film production – from editors, to stunt choreographers, to producers and more!

Join us in celebrating strong female filmmakers, a true inspiration to the next generation of storytellers. Here are a few of their stories.

DEBRA GRANIK | Director and Co-Writer, Leave No Trace

Debra Granik is known for discovering actors from Vera Farmiga in Down to the Bone, Jennifer Lawrence in Winter’s Bone and most recently Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie in Leave No Trace. Still sitting at 100% on Rotten Tomatoes with over 200 reviews, Granik’s Leave No Trace was one of the best reviewed movies of 2018. Academy Award-nominated director Jane Campion says, “over the last 20 years, Debra has become one of the most important voices in American cinema. And her film LEAVE NO TRACE is certainly one of the most moving dramas of the year.” Granik was nominated for Best Director at the Spirit Awards and won Best Director from the LA Film Critics and the San Diego Film Critics Associations.

ELIZABETH CHOMKO | Director, What They Had

In What They Had, first-time writer and director Elizabeth Chomko transforms her family’s history into an intensely personal, often funny and touching story about love, duty and self-discovery. When Chomko’s beloved grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease 17 years ago, her family rallied to support her and her husband as they faced one of the biggest challenges of their lives. From her experiences during that family crisis, Chomko has crafted a film that has resonated with families everywhere.  Chomko’s incredibly personal script attracted an all-star ensemble cast, including two-time Academy Award winner Hilary Swank, two-time Academy Award nominee Michael Shannon, Academy Award nominee Robert Forster, Taissa Farmiga, and two-time Emmy winner Blythe Danner. 

GABRIELA COWPERTHWAITE; KATE MARA; MEGAN LEAVEY | Director, Actress, Real-Life Inspiration, Megan Leavey

Megan Leavey is based on the true-life story of a young marine corporal, played by Kate Mara, whose unique discipline and bond with her military combat dog saved many lives during their deployment in Iraq. Megan Leavey, the movie, began on the day that Megan Leavey, the person, walked into LD Entertainment production offices and told her remarkable story. “We cried in our conference room,” recalls producer Jennifer Monroe. “It was incredible to see the war from a female Marine’s perspective. This took place during a time when women soldiers couldn’t be on the frontlines and here’s Megan, who’s able to go in front of the frontlines because she belongs to the K9 division.” Kate Mara, a devoted dog-owner and animal advocate herself, was a no-brainer for the title role of Megan Leavey. Once Mara was cast, she suggested Gabriela Cowperthwaite to direct, who rose to prominence in 2013 after her documentary feature Blackfish received universal acclaim from audiences and critics alike. Cowperthwaite had never directed a feature-length scripted drama, but she had an obvious gift for fact-based storytelling. “I come from documentaries and Megan Leavey is based on a true story, so I felt, ‘I can do this,’” Cowperthwaite says. “A lot of war movies depict the experience of a male soldier. Very few follow a woman. It was fascinating for me to look at how a woman starts out in boot camp and ends up becoming a Corporal.”

RACHEL WEISZ | Producer and Actress, Disobedience

Bleecker Street veteran Rachel Weisz (DenialDisobedience) is not only the leading actress in Sebastián Lelio’s critically acclaimed Disobedience, but she was also one of the driving forces to get the film made. Author Naomi Alderman’s acclaimed novel Disobedience came to Rachel Weisz’s attention as she began searching for compelling material to develop into a feature film. “I was looking for something that I could both produce and act in, and Disobedience was one of the first projects I found,” says the Academy Award-winning actress. “It’s based on an incredible novel with two great female leads.” Beyond the captivating source material, Lelio says that working this closely with Weisz was an opportunity he simply couldn’t pass up. “One of the main reasons why I accepted the project was because Rachel Weisz was involved, both in the cast and as a producer. I’ve always admired her, and imagining her as Ronit with her rebellious soul was irresistible.” 

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