Actress Rose McGowan has big plans for the next stage of her career as a filmmaker. Her first step? An Oscar.
Back in January, McGowan’s directorial debut, the 17-minute short Dawn, played at Sundance. In an interview with Women and Hollywood, McGowan described Dawn as centering on "a young girl in Kennedy-era America who’s searching for something more in her sheltered life and winds up finding more than she bargains for."
"I’m fascinated by girl culture in this time period," she explained. "I wanted to explore what happens when societal expectations brainwash someone into ignoring their intuition."
McGowan is making sure Dawn will be eligible for an Oscar nomination by securing it a qualifying run. (The Academy rules require that best-short candidates be "publicly exhibited for paid admission in Los Angeles for three consecutive days," according to the Hollywood Reporter.) McGowan will augment her short’s qualifying run with a seven-day festival "featur[ing] iconic performances by actresses that prove rich, complex, and layered roles can and should be written for and by women."
The Dawn Festival will be comprised of seven films. Below are their titles and McGowan’s personal descriptions of them:
Safe: "Todd Haynes directed Julianne Moore in a haunting study of a woman’s life."
Thelma & Louise: "Ridley Scott directed two substantial actresses in two substantial, inspiring roles."
Harold and Maude: "Hal Ashby directed Ruth Gordon. Two creatives on a creative journey."
Sixteen Candles: "John Hughes directed Molly Ringwald. He made a teen’s hopes and hurts real."
Rosemary’s Baby: "Roman Polanski directed Mia Farrow in a virtuoso breakdown performance."
Silkwood: "Mike Nichols directed Meryl Streep and Cher. They showed us women can change the world by finding their voice."
The Silence of the Lambs: "Jonathan Demme directed Jodie Foster. She showed us what a person can do when they go forward despite their fear."
These are (nearly) all great choices, though we would have liked for the lineup to have included at least one woman director and protagonist of color. But if you live in LA and haven’t seen any of the above, McGowan has provided the opportunity to see six cinematic treasures on the big screen — and Sixteen Candles.
The Dawn Festival will take place at the Downtown Independent starting September 19.