Vera Farmiga, Dee Rees and three other top women directing in the industry on why studios so often exclude women, the wider range of stories they love, and how it feels to find success.
Five filmmakers on why studios so often exclude women, the wider range of stories they love, and how it feels to find success.
Higher Ground (Opened Aug. 26, 2011)
The only way Vera Farmiga was going to be able to star in Higher Ground was by directing the movie herself. “I quite simply fell in love with the role and had to moonlight as a director,” recalls Farmiga, adding that she used her Oscar nomination for Up in the Air as clout. The film, about a born-again Christian who begins questioning her faith, mirrored Farmiga’s own efforts as a director. “It’s a story about a woman who was trying to engender herself.” At one point, a male director was attached to the project and was uncomfortably psyched about casting bikini-clad actresses for a waterfall scene. Farmiga quit the film, but returned when he vacated the director’s seat. “The scene was eventually cut,” she says, “but I made sure to cast the most dimply, chubby women I could find.” Though Farmiga, 38, isn’t itching to direct again, she knows she’s butting up against the glass ceiling as an actress because of her age.