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Tribeca Women Directors: Meet Megan Griffiths (Lucky Them)

Interviews
by Melissa Silverstein
April 21, 2014 4:00 PM
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Still from "Lucky Them"
Still from "Lucky Them"
Megan Griffiths has been a director, writer, and producer in the independent film community for over a decade. Her film, The Off Hours, premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival and went on to receive an Independent Spirit Award nomination for cinematography. Her follow-up, Eden, premiered at the 2012 SXSW Film Festival in Austin, where it won the Audience Award for Narrative and the Emergent Female Director Award. (Press materials)

Lucky Them will debut at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 21.  

Please give us your description of the film playing.

Lucky Them is the story of Ellie (Toni Collette), a 40-year-old rock journalist who is given an assignment to track down her ex-boyfriend, a former rock icon who disappeared ten years earlier. Daunted by the task, Ellie gets unexpected support from former fling Charlie ( ), a wealthy eccentric who is determined to make a documentary about Ellie's quest. Charlie's lack of social graces initially grates on Ellie, but his ever-present camera eventually forces her to confront unresolved issues about her departed ex. 

What drew you to this script?

I felt like I knew the characters from the first read -- they were all so fleshed out and lived-in. I also loved that it was set in the music world and that so many thematic ideas (the death of print media, the changing landscape of music) were echoed through the character journeys. 

 

What was the biggest challenge?

I think the largest challenge emerged in the editing room. The film is centered around a very non-traditional female character who is bucking societal norms and completely unapologetic about it. I think I underestimated how challenged audiences might feel by a character like Ellie. But ultimately, I'm really proud to have been able to depict someone like her on screen -- I really relate to her, and many women have told me they do too.

What advice do you have for other female directors?

It's the same advice I have for any director -- understand your own voice, figure out how to use it, be true to it and trust your instincts.

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

I don't really feel like there is one. I have changed things up so dramatically between films that I think I'm warding off pre-conceptions pretty effectively.

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

I think the biggest challenge is finding a way to channel films directly to the audience that will want to see them without limiting the possibility of a break-out success story. I love that places like Netflix have such effective algorithms for determining what I might want to watch, but I still want something that might come along and surprise me once in a while.

 

Name your favorite women directed film and why.

I'm a big fan of Lynne Ramsey's Ratcatcher and Andrea Arnold's Fish Tank for their rawness and honesty. I love Walking & Talking and pretty much everything else Nicole Holofcener has ever made because she's such a funny and smart writer and she always captures such relatable moments. Humpday, directed by my friend Lynn Shelton, has so many unexpected, yet totally real and insightful turns -- the storytelling just blows me away in it. And Amy Seimetz's Sun Don't Shine is so visceral and sharp. Really, there are too many to list. The ladies are killing it right now.

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