“It’s a really cool honour,” says Catherine Hardwicke of her selection as the first-non-Canadian filmmaker to receive the Female Eye Film Festival’s Honorary Director award.
Hardwicke, who is best known for helming the first film in the Twilight series — and for declining to do likewise for New Moon — joins a list of honourees that includes the art-house approved likes of Patricia Rozema and Deepa Mehta.
Hardwicke’s resume, which also includes Lords of Dogtown and The Nativity, is considerably more commercial, although the filmmaker doesn’t like to think in those terms.
“It’s more important (for me) to fight the battles to make the best movies I can about the subjects that are fascinating to me — and to be the best example that I can be. It’s about the work.”
Female Eye’s founder and director Leslie Anne Coles thinks that Hardwicke’s career arc is unique, but notes that it is in some ways similar to those of other female directors.
“One thing that we’ve noticed over the years is that female directors often make a transition from other parts of the industry. (Catherine) has a background in production design and art direction, and she evolved her skillet to the next level. She’s had a huge hit (with Twilight) but she’s also made an impact in the political arena -- she didn’t direct the sequel. She’s a woman who has made her bones in a difficult industry.”
Coles says that while honouring Hardwicke does set a new precedent for a traditionally nationalist festival, Female Eye — which kicks off tomorrow — hasn’t abandoned its independent roots.
“We’re always looking for an eclectic mix,” she says. “For example, this year, we have more experimental films than ever before. We also have more features than we’ve had in previous years, and documentaries. I really do think that this is the strongest lineup ever.”