Kathleen Collins deserves respect for managing to produce her feature film Losing Ground even before you consider that she achieved this in 1982 as an independent filmmaker. But what earns her place in history is that when she wrote and directed Losing Ground, she was one of the first African-American women to produce a feature length drama.
Sometimes, a director makes a film that becomes engrained in the culture of a generation. It affects the slang, the fashion, and the attitude of popular culture. They launch superstar careers, images from the film become iconic, and scenes are parodied for decades to come. And in very rare cases, one director manages to repeat this feat. Amy Heckerling is one of those rare cases.
You are likely familiar with the name Ava DuVernay. As a filmmaker, she’s repeatedly made history as the first African-American woman to be nominated for and win multiple top awards. Her career has ranged through both fiction and documentary, and many different facets of the production process including writing, directing, and producing.
When describing her work, director Gurinder Chadha says, “I tell stories about people audiences might think they have nothing in common with…then they emotionally connect with them and find they’re not different at all.” Chadha is one the most successful directors in Britain, thanks in large part to the global success of her film Bend it Like Beckham.
As a screenwriter and director, I’ve been inspired by many of the women we’re going to feature this year. But our first episode focuses on someone who was a role model for me and many others on so many levels. This week, I want to honor Carrie Fisher for her work as a screenwriter who used her gift for comedy and witty dialogue to flavor her sharp observations of the world around her.