Posted by on January 5, 2019 9:54 pm
Categories: µ Newsjones

Photo Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast

No matter the recent progress made by #MeToo and #TimesUp, it’s still hard in Hollywood for female directors, who—according to a new report from the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University—helmed only 8 percent of the 250 highest-grossing films of 2018, a decrease from 11 percent in 2017. One artist aiming to reverse that trend is Jen McGowan, who this weekend returns to theaters for the first time in five years with Rust Creek. A long-awaited follow-up to her 2014 feature debut Kelly & Cal (which won the Gamechanger Director Award at SXSW), it tells the tale of a young college student named Sawyer (Hermione Corfield) who runs into deadly trouble when she’s accosted by two hillbilly Kentucky brothers named Hollister (Micah Hauptman) and Buck (Daniel R. Hill) while driving to a job interview. A slow-burn thriller that eschews exploitation by sincerely humanizing its protagonist, as well as presents a multifaceted portrait of rural America, it delivers the genre goods while exhibiting a measure of formal skill and storytelling shrewdness often missing from such stock scenarios.

Moreover, it’s reconfirmation that female directors are wholly capable of operating in cinematic fields—such as suspense and survival-horror—typically dominated by men. Having started her career in commercial filmmaking, McGowan once again proves herself a dexterous and canny filmmaker, layering her straightforward story with nuances that help elevate it above its backwoods brethren. In doing so, she firmly lays to rest any notion (such as those recently raised, and then apologized for, by Jason Blum) that the grindhouse arena is strictly a boys’ club. On the eve of Rust Creek’s debut, the energetic McGowan spoke to us about why she was drawn to her latest, the ongoing struggle for greater female representation in the industry, the reasons she created—an online networking and skill-sharing site for female moviemakers—and the enduring appeal of lost-in-the-woods sagas.

It’s been five years since Kelly & Cal

Read more at The Daily Beast.