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arts

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Film Directors  
 
page: 1  2  3  4  5  6  

The success of Rose Troche (b. 1964) was established with the experimental Go Fish (1994). Made on a shoestring budget in black and white, it flirted with avant garde editing techniques and "queer sensibilities," examining, for example, the lesbian who sleeps with a man and butch/femme role-playing. Troche's next effort, filmed in Britain, Bedrooms and Hallways (1988), was an enjoyable romantic comedy with the focus this time on gay male relationships.

In 2001, Troche scored a critical success with her film based on A. M. Homes's provocative collection of short stories, The Safety of Objects. In the last few years, she has worked mainly in television, most notably as writer and director for the lesbian-focused drama The L Word.

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Patricia Rozema (b. 1958). a Canadian film director, began her career with the gentle, offbeat I Heard The Mermaids Singing (1987). This film was followed by a depiction of lesbian awakening in When Night Is Falling (1995). Rozema's latest work--an intelligent, elegant film of Jane Austen's Mansfield Park (1999)--brought the classic novel's queer subtext to the surface, eliciting a mixture of critical alarm and praise.

Lisa Chodolenko (b. 1964) is a newly emerging writer/director. Her 1998 film High Art was a big winner at the Sundance film festival. It offers witty nods to Warhol and Fassbinder. Her second film, Laurel Canyon, strring Frances McDormand as a record producer, focuses on conflicting values in Los Angeles.

Director Kimberly Peirce (b. 1967) has received critical plaudits for her Boy's Don't Cry (1999), a film based on the case of murdered lesbian Teena Brandon. After Hilary Swank won an Academy Award as best actress for her stunning performance as Teena Brandon, the film achieved considerable mainstream success.

Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar (b. 1951) deploys a surreal, iconoclastic blend of comedy and drama to map subcultures of sexual dissidence in post-Franco Madrid. Beginning with the comic short Film Político in 1974, Almodóvar has made numerous films, including Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988), Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down (1990), The Flower of My Secret (1995), and A Bad Education (2004). All About My Mother (1999), a tragi-comic study of a "straight" woman's love for a transsexual, won the Academy Award for best foreign film.

Almodóvar's distinctively queer filmic universe has obtained widespread critical acclaim and a broadly based following. His success may offer a happy augury for the growing recognition of quality gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, and queer cinema.

Deborah Hunn

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   Related Entries
  
arts >> Overview:  Documentary Film

The queer community has used documentary film to resurrect historical memory and to permit the marginalized to bear witness, as well as to build an image base that reflects our diversity and counters distorted representations.

arts >> Overview:  European Film

Since the 1960s, European film has included significant gay-themed films, many of them directed by openly gay and lesbian directors.

arts >> Overview:  Film

Since cinema began, Hollywood has been fascinated with finding ways of representing homosexuality.

arts >> Overview:  Film Noir

Queer characters were a crucial component of the film noir landscape, part of the genre's challenge to complacent American values.

arts >> Overview:  Music Video

Gay and lesbian content in music videos was rare in the early 1980s, but with more openly gay and bisexual artists that situation has gradually changed.

arts >> Overview:  New Queer Cinema

Independent films that aggressively assert homosexual identity and queer culture, the New Queer Cinema can be seen as the culmination of several developments in American cinema.

arts >> Akerman, Chantal

Innovative Belgian filmmaker Chantal Akerman creates films that are at once experimental and personal and that often feature lesbian content.

literature >> Albee, Edward

The American dramatist Edward Albee, whose career flourished in the 1960s and then waned as a result of homophobia, wrote plays with gay subtexts in which loving is the ultimate act of violence and violence is the most effective expression of love.

arts >> Almodóvar, Pedro

Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar's gay and transsexual themed films present absurd situations framed by the trappings of everyday life.

arts >> Anger, Kenneth

One of America's first openly gay filmmakers, and certainly the first whose work addressed homosexuality in an undisguised, self-implicating manner, Kenneth Anger occupies an important place in the history of experimental filmmaking.

arts >> Araki, Gregg

The poster boy of radical and militant queer cinema, Gregg Araki disdains the ghettoizing label of "gay filmmaker."

arts >> Arzner, Dorothy

Lesbian filmmaker Dorothy Arzner, the only woman director in 1930s and 1940s Hollywood, made films that convey the varieties of women's experiences and desires and the tenacity of women's relationships with other women.

arts >> Baitz, Jon Robin

A leading contemporary American playwright, Jon Robin Baitz produces works that are both morally serious and politically conscious.

arts >> Ball, Alan

Award-winning screenwriter, director, and producer Alan Ball, whose work frequently features glbtq characters, has had great success in both film and television.

arts >> Berlanti, Greg

Writer-director-producer Greg Berlanti has had a prolific career in television, successfully incorporating glbtq characters and storylines into prime time shows.

arts >> Black, Dustin Lance

Academy Award-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black has quickly established himself as both an accomplished filmmaker and a committed activist.

literature >> Bram, Christopher

Christopher Bram's novels address homosexual issues in a variety of periods and locales.

arts >> Busch, Charles

Actor-writer-director Charles Busch has distinguished himself through his virtuouso performances of "grand dame" characters and through his writing of dramatic vehicles for these roles.

arts >> Chéreau, Patrice

Award-winning French director, screenwriter, and actor Patrice Chéreau has earned international renown for his visionary, often controversial, productions of opera, theater, and film

arts >> Cholodenko, Lisa

Filmmaker Lisa Cholodenko makes movies whose narrative motor is sexual attraction.

arts >> Cocteau, Jean

For prolific French poet and artist Jean Cocteau, filmmaking may have served as the best medium for the expression of his genius.

arts >> Condon, William "Bill"

Having earned critical acclaim for his work on Gods and Monsters (1998), Chicago (2002), and Kinsey (2004), screenwriter and film director William "Bill" Condon has become a leading American filmmaker.

arts >> Cukor, George

Responsible for many of the most popular and critically praised films of Hollywood's golden age, George Cukor became typed as a "woman's director," a phrase that may have also alluded to his homosexuality.

arts >> Daniels, Lee

Producer and director Lee Daniels is attracted to subjects that are daring, potentially alienating, and often violent, but he discovers in these subjects universal truths and at least a sliver of hope.

arts >> Dattani, Mahesh

Indian playwright, screenwriter, dancer, director, and actor Mahesh Dattani is an important figure in South Asian gay culture by virtue of his recurrent depiction of queer characters.

arts >> Davies, Terence

British filmmaker Terence Davies creates aesthetically compelling films that offer honest and complex psychological portraits of gay adults and youths.

arts >> Deitch, Donna

Although pioneering film and television director Donna Deitch is best known for Desert Hearts, a classic of lesbian cinema, she has also made other films that probe gay and lesbian relationships

arts >> Divine (Harris Glenn Milstead)

A versatile character actor, nightclub singer, and international cult star who generally performed his stage show and movie roles in drag, Divine became famous through his appearances in John Waters' films.

arts >> Fassbinder, Rainer Werner

Responsible for bringing the much-acclaimed New German Cinema of the 1960s and 1970s to the attention of international audiences, Rainer Werner Fassbinder used cinematic conventions of Hollywood to deliver ideological arguments of the New Left.

arts >> Ford, Tom

Heralded as the savior of men's fashion, openly gay designer Tom Ford has both tapped into and assisted the fundamental change in men's attitude towards their appearance; he has since become a film director.

arts >> Foster, Jodie

One of the most accomplished film actresses of her generation, Jodie Foster has been a glbtq icon for decades, though only recently has she obliquely acknowledged her lesbianism.

literature >> Genet, Jean

Jean Genet's work has left a powerful legacy to post-modernity and remains a provocation to questions of gay identity.

arts >> Gilbert, Sara

Actress Sara Gilbert, who became a favorite with lesbian audiences for her portrayal of tomboy Darlene on the long-running television series Roseanne, came out publicly as a lesbian in 2004.

arts >> Goulding, Edmund

Bisexual film director and screenwriter Edmund Goulding was one of the most talented and eccentric characters of Hollywood's Golden Age.

arts >> Hammer, Barbara

The most prolific lesbian feminist filmmaker in the history of cinema, Barbara Hammer creates works that are among the most thoughtful celebrations of queer life.

arts >> Haynes, Todd

Since his 1991 film Poison won the Grand Jury prize at the Sundance Film Festival, innovative filmmaker Todd Haynes has emerged as the leading figure of the New Queer Cinema.

arts >> Higgins, Colin 

Australian-American writer, director, and producer Colin Higgins is best known for his screenplay of the cult classic "Harold and Maude" and for directing the more mainstream comedies "Foul Play" and "9 to 5."

arts >> Hytner, Sir Nicholas

British director Sir Nicholas Hytner is acclaimed for his work on musicals and plays in London as well as New York, and also for directing films and operas.

literature >> Jarman, Derek

In both his films and his writings, Derek Jarman's explicit project was to celebrate gay sexuality and imagine a place for it in English culture.

arts >> King, Michael Patrick

Writer, director, and producer Michael Patrick King has been creatively involved in a number of ground-breaking television series featuring gay themes and strong women.

arts >> Kleiser, Randal

Although best known for his direction of lighter fare such as Grease, Randal Kleiser made his most significant contribution to gay cinema with the 1996 AIDS-themed "It's My Party."

arts >> Leisen, Mitchell

A noted director of Hollywood's Golden Age, Mitchell Leisen is credited with more than 40 feature films, which are celebrated for their stylishness and visual elegance.

literature >> Mann, Thomas

One of Germany's greatest twentieth-century authors, Thomas Mann encoded his own homosexuality in his novels but thought that homosexuality led to the destruction of social institutions and the death of the individual homosexual.

arts >> Mantello, Joe

Having staged a variety of well-received and award-winning productions, actor-turned-director Joe Mantello has emerged as one of the most accomplished artists now working in the American theater.

arts >> McKellen, Sir Ian

Arguably the finest Shakespearean actor of his generation, Ian McKellen was the first British subject to be knighted after publicly revealing his homosexuality, an event that proved more controversial within the gay community than in the mainstream.

arts >> Mitchell, John Cameron

While he had already achieved recognition as an actor, the multiple talents of performer, writer, and filmmaker John Cameron Mitchell came to wide public notice in 2001 with the release of his prize-winning film, Hedwig and the Angry Inch.

arts >> Morrissey, Paul

Filmmaker Paul Morrissey was the auteur who created many of the "Andy Warhol films," works that unflinchingly document modern urban subcultures, including the lives of drag queens, hustlers, and addicts.

arts >> Murnau, Friedrich Wilhelm

Acclaimed as the greatest director of the German Expressionist period (1919-1933), F.W. Murnau created the first masterpiece of the horror film, Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens (1921).

arts >> O'Haver, Tommy

Director and screenwriter Tommy O'Haver has drawn on his own experiences as a gay man in creating films and has also demonstrated his versatility by working on a variety of other cinematic projects.

arts >> Ottinger, Ulrike

Avant-garde German filmmaker Ulrike Ottinger creates both fictional fantasy worlds that shatter traditional gender constructions and documentaries that examine marginalized peoples.

arts >> Ottman, John

In addition to scoring over thirty full-length motion pictures, American film composer, editor, and director John Ottman has also created musical compositions for numerous short films, television programs, and commercials.

arts >> Ozpetek, Ferzan

Thanks to the critical and commercial success of most of his films, Turkish-born Italian director Ferzan Ozpetek has challenged the celluloid closet that silenced or marginalized queerness in Italian film.

arts >> Pasolini, Pier Paolo

One of the most important cultural figures to emerge from post-World War II Italy, Pier Paolo Pasolini was a versatile man-of-letters, but he was foremost a filmmaker.

arts >> Quintero, José

Director José Quintero made a significant contribution to theater by reviving interest in the works of Eugene O'Neill.

arts >> Ray, Nicholas

One of the most significant and influential American movie directors of the twentieth century, Nicholas Ray created characters and situations that continue to resonate with queer viewers.

arts >> Richardson, Tony

Bisexual British film and stage director Tony Richardson was instrumental in challenging British censorship codes, especially regarding the representation of homosexuals.

arts >> Roos, Don

Screenwriter and director Don Roos has won plaudits for films that feature gay and lesbian characters and that also give strong roles to women.

arts >> Rozema, Patricia

Canadian filmmaker Patricia Rozema is known for imbuing her films with feminist analysis and sensual cinematography.

literature >> Rule, Jane

Though dealing forthrightly with lesbian and gay subjects, the novels and criticism of Jane Rule are deliberately nonpolitical in their commitment to diverse communities and a range of experiences.

arts >> Schlesinger, John

British director John Schlesinger has been a significant force in introducing homosexual themes into mainstream British and American films.

arts >> Shores, Del

Playwright and screenwriter Del Shores explores the intersection of Southern culture and glbtq culture with empathy and humor; he has also been active in championing equal rights.

arts >> Singer, Bryan

Film director and producer Bryan Singer overturns standard narrative formulae and develops complex characters; he consistently emphasizes the fluidity and ambiguity of identity categories, including those pertaining to gender and sexuality.

arts >> Star, Darren

Responsible for such pop culture touchstones as Beverly Hills, 90210, Melrose Place, and Sex and the City, writer-director-producer Darren Star has had a prolific career in television.

arts >> Stiller, Mauritz

Swedish film director Mauritz Stiller is best known for his discovery of Greta Garbo, but the flamboyant gay Svengali also deserves recognition as a key figure in forging a national cinema that was eventually to become notable for its progressive treatment of sexuality and desire.

arts >> Treut, Monika

German filmmaker Monika Treut consistently explores challenging and controversial issues surrounding minority sexual and gender identities.

arts >> Troche, Rose

Film director Rose Troche has helped to make lesbians more visible onscreen, not as women tortured by their sexuality, but as individuals for whom female homosexuality is comfortable and, indeed, normal.

arts >> Van Sant, Gus

One of the most idiosyncratic talents to have emerged from the independent cinema over the past decade and a half, Gus Van Sant is not only matter-of-fact about his sexual orientation, but in his work he also represents homosexuality matter-of-factly.

arts >> Visconti, Luchino

The arc of the film career of Luchino Visconti, the most contradictory and varied of the major Italian filmmakers, mirrors his increasing openness about his homosexuality.

arts >> Warhol, Andy (as filmmaker)

Although Andy Warhol is generally remembered either for a single film--Sleep (1963)--or for works that he did not actually direct, his contribution to gay cinema is incalculable.

arts >> Waters, John

A director, writer, producer, and photographer, John Waters became well known in the early 1970s through his filmic collaboration with actor--and drag queen--Divine.

arts >> Whale, James

Director James Whale is best remembered for his stylish horror films and for being one of the few openly gay Hollywood figures of the 1930s.

arts >> White, James Melville "Mel"

Mel White spent over thirty years serving the Evangelical Christian community; after struggling with his homosexuality for many years, he broke his ties with anti-gay religious leaders and became a glbtq activist.

arts >> Williamson, Kevin

Screenwriter-producer-director Kevin Williamson is best known as the writer of clever, self-referential horror films and as the creator of the groundbreaking television series Dawson's Creek.

arts >> Wu, Alice

Filmmaker Alice Wu broke ground with her first feature-length motion picture, Saving Face (2004), a multi-generational portrait of Chinese-American women who transgress traditional sexual taboos.


    Bibliography
   

Dyer, Richard. Now You See It: Studies on Lesbian and Gay Film. New York: Routledge, 1990.

Gever, Martha, John Greyson, and Pratihba Parmar, eds. Queer Looks: Perspectives on Lesbian and Gay Films and Video. New York: Routledge, 1993.

Hadleigh, Boze. The Lavender Screen: Gay and Lesbian Films, Their Stars, Makers, Characters and Critics. New York: Citadel Press, 1993.

Hanson, Ellis. Outtakes: Essays on Queer Theory and Film. Durham, N. C.: Duke University Press, 1999.

Hoberman, J. "The Big Heat: The Making and Unmaking of Flaming Creatures." Flaming Creature: Jack Smith, His Amazing Life and Times. Edward Liffingwell, Carole Kismaric, and Marvin Heiferman, eds. London: Serpent's Tail, 1997. 152-167.

Murray, Raymond. Images in the Dark: An Encyclopaedia of Gay and Lesbian Film and Video. Philadelphia: TLA Publications, 1994.

Rich, B. Ruby. Chick Flicks: Theories and Memories of the Feminist Film Movement. Durham, N. C.: Duke University Press, 1998.

Russo, Vito. The Celluloid Closet. New York: Harper Row, 1981.

Smith, Paul Julian. Desire Unlimited: The Cinema of Pedro Almodóvar. London: Verso, 1994.

Suarez, Juan A. Bike Boys, Drag Queens and Superstars: Avant-Garde, Mass Culture, and Gay Identities in the 1960s Underground Cinema. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1996.

Weiss, Andrea. Violets and Vampires: Lesbians in Film. London: Penguin, 1993.

 

    Citation Information
         
    Author: Hunn, Deborah  
    Entry Title: Film Directors  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
 
    Publication Date: 2002  
    Date Last Updated January 20, 2010  
    Web Address www.glbtq.com/arts/film_directors.html  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
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Chicago, IL   60607
 
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    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2002, glbtq, Inc.  
 

 

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