Dabis: Because my films always have very, very strong women. And mostly female-centered. This film in particular is a mother and her three daughters, and they're all very strong. And they're not women that you typically see on screen, I think. So, yeah, what's more important to me is that people think the movie is authentic. You know, authenticity is always one of my main concerns. So I feel like, if anything, they'll know that this is probably a Middle Eastern person who made this movie. Probably a Middle Eastern woman. Is what I would gather from people watching the film. I always find it so interesting when people—you know, just asking the question, "What does it feel like to be a female director?" I got that question recently and I was sort of like, "It feels great. I don't know what it would feel like to be anything other than that, so I like it."
Gabriela, what about with your film?
Cowperthwaite: It was important to me?
Yeah. I mean, I know you talked about what people might expect because it's directed by a woman. But in terms of what you bring to it as a director, do you think it would be any different if it were made by a man?
Cowperthwaite: Yes, I do.
Cowperthwaite: I think there are choices, in this film in particular, that I sort of had before me. And some of those choices are how graphic to show. You know, what kind of graphic footage can you show in this? There's maulings. There's a killing. And there's also autopsy reports that, you know, give you chills. And I was very—I don't know that this is particularly female; I think it is, probably—but I was incredibly sort of ethically sort of conscious about the fact that I was dealing with the death of people whose family have not yet healed. And, you know, them participating in the movie is the opposite of them healing. Them reading their daughter's autopsy reports, especially specific things in the autopsy reports about how long it took for her to die, I mean, these were decisions I have to live with for the rest of my life. And they would keep me up at night if I knew that family had to watch that. So I made the decision to take those out. If that's a worse movie or a less impactful adrenaline rush movie as a result, I'm willing to live with that. So in a way I feel like there's an empathy there maybe that we carry that's pretty powerful.
Hannah, what about your film?
Fidell: Well, I think our films have a somewhat similar premise, in that it's about an older woman, younger boy. A student, in my case. And I think that as a woman, I'm able to perhaps explore more of the negative sides of being a woman, in a way that men can't without being called misogynist, perhaps. And so as a woman, I'm given more of a free rein and full control over—you know, I don't have that kind of politically correct understanding of my film that I need to have out there that, "This is a woman. She's doing good," for instance.
Garcia: So you're saying that you were free to sort of create maybe an unlikable female character.
Fidell: Yes, exactly.
Garcia: That's so interesting. That's very modern.
Fidell: And I know my next film is also an unlikable female character.
Do you think you have more latitude to do that?
Okay. Latitude not just in the kind of macro sense, but in the micro sense, especially with your actors?
Fidell:What do you mean, exactly?
Is it a different conversation with an actor about how that character is gonna play that you can have as a woman that would be uncomfortable or maybe off-putting for an actor if a man was giving that woman the same direction?
Fidell: Oh, I don't think a guy director would be able to even understand. Perhaps.
Foner: There I might disagree with you.