POWFest: Catherine Hardwicke

Thank goodness I signed up for the Hollywood Theater’s newsletter, or this opportunity would have passed me by.  Two movies I’ve been meaning to see– Miss You Already, Thirteen–plus a conversation with the director, Catherine Hardwicke? Yes please!

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Hardwicke was interviewed by Melissa Silverstein, founder and editor of Women & Hollywood, the site where (among other things) you can sign up for a weekly email of movies about, written, or directed by women.

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Hardwicke told us some great stories.  Among them:

  • The movie treatment for Twilight was rejected by every studio.  Hardwicke thought it would be successful, given the online chatter.  She was told that the only market for a Twilight movie would be 400 teenage girls in Salt Lake City.
  • After having the #1 movie in the country (Twilight) she did not receive a car or a three-picture deal from the studio, as is common practice for male directors.  Instead, there were balloons and mini-cupcakes.
  • She was told that the 69 million Twilight made its first weekend was probably all it was going to make–that everyone who was going to see it had already done so.  Instead, it went on to make 400 million dollars.
  • Hardwicke had the option of directing the second movie in the Twilight series, but declined.  She assumed the studio would hire another woman director.  They did not.  The next four Twilight movies, all four Hunger Games movies and all three Divergent movies have been directed by men.
  • Movies made by women don’t get the advertising budgets that movies made by men do.   Hardwicke pointed out that we probably never saw an ad for Miss You Already.
  • She wrote Thirteen with Nikki Reed when Reed was 13.  They mostly wrote the script over six days while Reed was on winter break.
  • Hardwicke was also a production designer and worked on Tank Girl which she said was very fun.
  • To be a director with a project that goes, you have to have about eighteen projects going.
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This was a great program and I was sad to note that most of the seats in the theater were empty.  Why weren’t more people attending?  Then I realized that I’m interested in women’s voices in film, yet I’ve never attended the POWFest.  I also don’t tend to prioritize watching female created/centered films in the theater, but rather wait for them on DVD.  I’ve made a pledge to return to POWFest next year and to make more of an effort to prioritize women’s films.

3 thoughts on “POWFest: Catherine Hardwicke”

  1. How awesome! I need to get more plugged in with our film gurus here. I’d sure love to go to something like this! I really appreciate your sharing of the facts, awful to be true but not surprising facts about the movie industry.

  2. Wow, I cannot believe that the people “in the know” thought that Twilight wouldn’t be a moneymaker. That’s insane! It’s so frustrating, all the different, small (and large) ways that women’s voices/viewpoints are minimized in our culture.

    Do you find that the weekly email you get is worth it/informative?

    1. I like getting it and I think it will be the cumulative effect of getting it every week that will help. I’ve realized since I signed up, that I never prioritize films made by women. Most of my theater going is to the usual stuff. For instance, I was thinking today about when the Huntsman will come out. Because it’s got Chris Hemsworth (and I just noticed it also has Sam Clafin too).

      Even if I know there is something by a woman I usually end up waiting to see it on DVD. So that’s been illuminating.

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