It's freeing to be able to consistently make creative decisions and ask creative questions of the team without feeling like, 'Does this make me vulnerable to getting canned?' That's a big part of being in a studio - they can always fire you.
What might the world look like if we took some chances on the film-makers we might be afraid of?
Somehow, even though you have less time and less money, the thing about making indie films is somehow you have another kind of resource: a human resource, where you can really look to your creative colleagues and actually ask questions that are honest.
It's important to tell meaningful stories and to find new ways to communicate those stories to people.
If you look at most mainstream filmmaking, to be honest, some of these films aren't even asking questions anymore at all.
The genre of horror is really just a way to manage much larger, much more terrifying realities in our daily worlds.
To me, the thing that sets us apart from so many other animal species is our ability to ask questions, investigate, gather information, come to our own conclusions, and sometimes depart from the pack, sometimes move away from the tribe.
For me, I feel like I don't see myself as all that different from other humans as a woman, but I'm surprised by how frequently I'm asked to see myself differently.
Making movies, even though it's a business, is also an art, and sometimes you don't hit the bull's-eye.
I love horror. It's funny, because 'The Invitation' never struck me as horror, but it's definitely that type of thriller.
I'm very interested in dysfunction. I kind of realized in my first film that a character with so much rage that she didn't know where to put it was both heartbreaking and interesting to me.
I was in a very lucky position to be able to consider studio films and had decided to not go that route for a very long time until I read a script that I loved called 'Aeon Flux.'
One of the things you hear about when studying the nature of fanaticism is that a lot of the time, people don't start as fanatics. They shift and evolve into that state. That's a process, a systematic process of losing your identity and sense of self.
I don't necessarily believe that stories need closure. I just believe they need a beginning, middle, and end, but the end doesn't have to prevent us from continuing to grapple with the story at hand. It ideally should demand that we remain engaged with the story.
'The Invitation' is a meditation on grief and loss carried within a suspense drama. At its core, it's about a dinner party gone horribly wrong and about the consequences of denying our pain.
I've experienced a lot of successes. I've experienced a lot of failures. I've been able to get back up on my feet and keep going.
Sometimes you realize that the thing an actor is asking for isn't exactly the thing they want. Maybe they're asking for more dialogue, or maybe they want a deep intellectual exploration of their role. But probably what they really need is encouragement.
The people in the decision-making positions need to be thinking differently about who to hire, and looking more unsparingly at their choices. Why give this person a break over that person? Why give this person a second chance over that person? I do think that's where gender comes into play.
We have to accept that making movies is a never-ending process of occasional progress, frequent setbacks, and unexpected curveballs being thrown our way. Navigating that process requires stamina, curiosity, openness, and creative fire.
What I do think is really interesting is that, as I get older and more mature, I'm really attuned to how frightening this world is that we live in.
Horror, almost better than any of the other genres, pits the will to live against the will toward nihilism. I just think that's worth exploring. I don't know what is more important, actually, to explore than that very dynamic.
Along with loving the script, the reason I did 'Aeon Flux' was because I needed the job, and I couldn't find $5 million to make a movie independently - after making a fairly successful movie for a million dollars.
Sci-fi and horror, particularly, allow a storyteller to depart from, let's say, the demands of cinema verite or kitchen-sink realism or, even, just relatable dramas and can go into areas that are either - in the case of horror - more primally effective or, in the case of sci-fi, more speculative or imaginative.
The short form, for those people who can master it - and I am by no means one of them - it is very admirable, because it is really hard to tell stories that can stick with the audience and still be between 5 and 30 minutes long. I think it's a real challenge.
I don't get to make many features. It's not like that's something I can just snap my fingers and make happen.
I think most women have to fight very hard for the opportunities they want, which isn't to say that most artists don't have to do that, male or female, but I'm definitely aware of just how difficult it is to find stories that interest me, particularly.
For me, there's something about a certain kind of genre film that has real potency in its emotional landscape.
I have had to really grapple with the fact that, while I wish things could be different at times, I ultimately needed to experience the transformation that comes with pain and loss and sorrow.
I think there is really something we need to examine about the notion of careers, and are women encouraged and given the same opportunities to have vital healthy careers in which they are challenged by certain things, they try new things, they struggle, maybe they stumble, maybe they fail, and then there's more room to succeed as well.
I don't think I could have had a better experience than I did with 'Girlfight.' It was a humbling experience to be so well received. And it was equally humbling to be ripped to pieces with 'Aeon Flux.'
I think being a young female star must be really, really pretty rough.
I am a mother now, and I'm a mother to a son, and I want him to go into the world a feminist. I want him to go into the world with compassion for humanity.
I don't want to direct a Marvel movie. I don't care about those mythologies.
I've been asked countless times, 'Why are you drawn to horror films? Why do you think women are drawn to horror films?' And it's because, in a way, it's one of the few genres that tells it like it is. A lot of times, women do feel like they're running for their lives somehow.
One of the uncertain pleasures of adulthood, for me, has really been about confronting how little I know about the world and how much completely baffles me about the world and human behavior.
What kind of world is it if we allow people who are violent and do terrible things off the hook? What does that say about the world we're living in - it's like a world upside down, right?
For me, I guess I feel like the notion of 'feel good' entertainment... I'm all for it, but I just think you really, really, really have to earn it. I'm not sure I have a lot of movies in me where I see a world that earns it.
As bad as some movies can be, good movies are also possible, sometimes through the very heinous corporations we love to trash.
I think my narrative is actually pretty interesting if I step back from it and don't engage too much in it, personally or emotionally.
I think there are always going to be people who say, even if they are engaged in the movie, they just want it to move faster.
I would love to take another stab at really smart, speculative sci-fi - my first was a bit of a stumble. I look forward to getting another chance.
It's hard to prep a movie in five days and shoot it in five days and cut it in barely any time. You don't get quite enough time to make the thing, let alone tell the story.
I want to make big movies - but I don't want to have to die a little death every single time I do. Until I meet the people or the studio or the business people who will let me do things a little bit more the way that I need to do them, I probably shouldn't be making big studio movies.
Our society is constantly creating this framework for girls to feel that their only worth is their appearance, and it's damaging on so many levels to so many people.
I'm just hoping that as I get older, and as more and more movies get made by female directors, what we start to see is how, in the same way good male directors get a shot at creating interesting male and female characters, women do as well.
I grew up in the Midwest. I understand a sense of the small-town mentality, small-town social politics.
I do think there's a preoccupation that women understandably have with this idea of the roles we're meant to play and whether or not those roles serve us or ultimately kind of imprison us.
Claire Denis's 'Beau Travail' is one of Denis's greatest achievements. One of the most mysterious and beautiful endings in movies.
I feel a kinship to the idea of beloved stories and beloved pieces of art that we can imagine in different ways and sort of take a meta approach in terms of what those stories offer us.