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Tribeca Women Directors: Meet Gillian Greene (Murder of a Cat)

Interviews
by Melissa Silverstein
April 24, 2014 2:42 PM
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Still from "Murder of a Cat"

The daughter of veteran actor Lorne Greene, Gillian Greene grew up in Los Angeles on the sets of her father's television shows. She attended USC and NYU before moving back to Los Angeles to study acting under renowned drama coach Joanne Baron. Greene also worked under Bill Block, the President of InterTalent, a then-leading Hollywood talent agency. She married her husband Sam Raimi in 1993 and has worked behind the scenes with him on his movies for the last 20 years. Prior to directing Murder of a Cat, Greene shot a short film called "Fanboy," which starred Fran Kranz and J.K. Simmons. (Press materials)

Murder of a Cat will debut at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 24.

Please give us your description of the film playing.

Murder of a Cat is about a 28-year-old guy named Clinton who still lives in his mom's basement. When his cat is unexpectedly shot dead and the local sheriff won't do anything about it, he must rise to the occasion and solve his best friend's murder. Over the course of the mystery, he reluctantly grows up.

What drew you to this script? 

The first thing that caught my attention was the title, Murder of a Cat. It was also exceptionally well-written; very funny and charming. I fell in love with the characters. It was exactly my kind of humor.

What was the biggest challenge? 

The most difficult aspect of this movie was figuring out how to shoot it in 21 days, especially when there were so many locations and all of the actors' schedules had to be juggled. For example, we had to shoot all of Greg Kinnear's scenes in our first week because he had another movie to film.

 What advice do you have for other female directors? 

I can't offer advice to female directors in particular, but my advice to all first-time directors is to never give up and to never take no for an answer if you are passionate about something. There were a lot of obstacles on this film that could have derailed it, but I kept on pushing through because I loved and cared about the project so much. 

What's the biggest misconception about you and your work?

The biggest misconception about me and this film is that it came together easily because my husband Sam Raimi is one of the producers.

Do you have any thoughts on what are the biggest challenges and/or opportunities for the future with the changing distribution mechanisms for films? 

My feeling is that we have entered a Golden Age of distribution, particularly for independent films, but also for studio films and television shows. As a director, the thing I care most about is that people see my movie. That possibility has expanded a hundred-fold with the rise of Netflix, iTunes, Amazon, HBO Go, and other streaming websites. Now, almost any title is available online at almost any time. The number of choices can be quite daunting sometimes, but nevertheless, I think an incredible technological leap has been made over the last 2-3 years, and that it is a great time for filmmakers. 

Name your favorite women directed film and why. 

Valerie Faris, who is one-half of the directing team Dayton & Faris. She co-directed Little Miss Sunshine, which is one of my favorite movies. She is exceptionally poised and smart, and I love her sense of comedy: it's intelligent and not too broad. I'm really looking forward to her next movie, The Good Luck of Right Now.

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