Monday, May 13, 2013

FEMALE DIRECTORS: DANIELLE HARRIS AND 'AMONG FRIENDS'

Unless you've been living under a proverbial rock for the last thirty years, chances are you're more than familiar with the body of work of Danielle Harris.  Arguably, one of the only genuinely working Scream Queens of the new millennium, Danielle Harris developed her horror fan following playing Michael Myers' niece Jamie Lloyd in Halloween 4 & 5.  Breaking the curse of child stardom, Danielle Harris has managed to maintain a relatively strong career, with the horror community being the kindest. (Note: She introduced me to the phrase "butt-crack of dawn" in Don't Tell Mom The Babysitter's Dead).  After a powerhouse career as a horror actress, Danielle Harris is going to be stepping on the other side of the camera with her directorial debut, Among Friends. According to its official press release, Among Friends is a horror comedy about a dinner party gone wrong. Set against an 80′s backdrop, good times take a dark turn when one in the group hijacks the evening in the name of integrity. Through an attempt to help the others come clean about secret betrayals against one another, it’s revealed who’s willing to cut through the bone to expose the truth.” The film was recently picked up by Lionsgate Home Entertainment through Grindstone Entertainment.  



On the second episode of Adam Green and Joe Lynch's brand-new podcast, "The Movie Crypt," Danielle was their first guest star and stopped by to discuss the mystery of the silver-tipped boot man in Halloween 5, her weird relationship with fish, and her recent jump into the director's chair.  Unless you're new here, female driven/directed/centered horror is my bag of tricks, so every fiber of my being is shaking with anticipation for this film.  Weirdly enough, even with Danielle Fucking Harris in the director's chair, this film wasn't smooth sailing.  Don't get me wrong, Danielle Harris is one of the most respected women in horror, but even she had some bullsh to deal with in order to get her movie made. 

While she spoke highly of the actors cast in the film that were her friends, she discussed a major struggle with some of the actors having issues with her directorial vision and taking her seriously as the person in power.  Luckily, she was working with Alyssa Lobit who acted as the lead actress as well as the writer, but having a solid support system doesn't equate to people taking you seriously as a female director.  "It's not about men directors and women directors, it's about good directors and bad directors."  This statement may be one of the most genuine things ever uttered, and something that we as women don't ever talk about.  Here's the thing, is it more difficult for female directors to even get to the point where they are able to make a horror film? Yes. I won't deny that.  I may be sacrificing my female horror card by saying this, but having a vagina and making a genre film doesn't give you an automatic pass into festivals or immediately earn you the same respect and credibility of male directors.  On that same note, male directors aren't given a free pass to making "better" films than women solely because they're men.  To put it simply, your work speaks before your gender ever will.


I'm just so sick and tired of being told that as a female horror aficionado, I'm supposed to give a pass to female directors simply because they're female.  That is ridiculous and the exact opposite of what we as women are trying to achieve.  Adam Green discussed the topic by saying, "You have to make your own chances, whatever that is."  You know what? He's right.  The whole point of feminism is to establish equality between the sexes, meaning, we cannot hold women to a different standard than men.  

It's important to note that there is a huge difference between criticism and awareness.  Women are wholeheartedly underrepresented in the genre, which is why things like Women in Horror Recognition Month and the Viscera Film Festival are absolutely vital to the progress for women in horror.  Until women are given the same treatment as far as releasing their works, (which is more about money and less about talent) these programs are important.  However, when it comes to criticism, there are many that want critics to "cut women slack" as far as reviewing their work, and that is not okay.  When women strive to be treated differently, they're destroying the very fundamental desire of feminism and further pushing the divide between the sexes.  I really encourage more female filmmakers to go the route of Danielle Harris and not make any qualms about the reception/creation of her films.  If we want to be taken seriously, we need to start acting serious.  Strive not to make a solid "female directed horror film," make a solid horror film.

SEE THE TRAILER FOR AMONG FRIENDS BELOW

1 comment(s):

Spike Ghost said...

It looks really trippy. I hope it's good. I love Danielle as an actress and i want to love her as a director too.

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