Filmmaker and actress Maggie Kiley was one of eight directors selected for the American Film Institute’s Directing Workshop for Women and one of twenty accomplished filmmakers chosen for the Inaugural Global Directors Initiative at FOX. Her award-winning short film “Some Boys Don’t Leave” played at over 50 festivals, garnering awards at Tribeca Film Festival and Palm Springs International Shortsfest, and remains a top-selling title on iTunes.
Kiley was a recipient of the Panavision New Filmmaker Grant for her debut feature, “Brightest Star,” which premiered at the Austin Film Festival in 2013. Kiley’s second film, “Dial A Prayer,” was released theatrically and on all VOD platforms in spring of 2015. She is currently developing a series for television with Laverne McKinnon of Denver and Delilah Productions and writing a new film.
As an actress, Kiley has appeared in film, television and on stage. She has worked extensively at Atlantic Theater Company in New York, where she is one of just 40 ensemble members. (Press materials)
W&H: Please give us your description of the film playing.
MK: “Caught” is a delicious thriller about a desperate housewife who kidnaps her husband’s unsuspecting mistress. But what starts out as a prank soon spirals out of control.
W&H: What drew you to this story?
MK: Marcy Holland’s script for “Caught” was unlike anything I had ever directed before, and it was a great opportunity to cut my teeth on some genre [work]. Directing from a script I didn’t write also gave me a newfound freeness as to how I approached it. I loved the complex nature of the characters and that, despite the gravity of the situation, there was an exciting, darkly comedic tone to play with throughout.
W&H: What was the biggest challenge in making the film?
MK: A really short schedule and finding the perfect house in LA that would lend authenticity to the perfectly suburban environment and came with an attic! Not easy to find in this town, but with the supreme dedication of my amazing producer Jenn Westin, we found it.
W&H: What do you want people to think about when they are leaving the theatre?
MK: I would love people to leave the theatre having had a good laugh and a great scare. More than anything, I hope it’s a fast, fun and gleefully entertaining experience.
W&H: What advice do you have for other female directors?
MK: My advice for any director is to keep directing. Keep finding ways to tell stories. It is easy to get sedentary or to make a list of all of the things standing in your way. If you keep making work, you will keep growing, and ultimately you will be much happier. And specifically for women, I would say, don’t wait for the perfect time to have a family! I have two young children, and they make my artistic life that much more rich because I have a full — if sometimes exhausting — life.
W&H: What’s the biggest misconception about you and your work?
MK: I think a lot of women directors are being met with the industry’s desire to categorize us into a certain segment of filmmaking, maybe even one that is envisioned as less commercial. I am definitely not a fit for that mold. My first two features, “Brightest Star” and “Dial a Prayer,” were both coming-of-age drama/comedies, but one was told from a male perspective and the other a female one. Each reached different audiences, and both were distributed. “Caught” is altogether a very different story and genre. While my work has consistencies in style, it is certainly growing and expanding. I am excited for what will come next.
W&H: How did you get your film funded? Share some insights into how you got the film made.
MK: “Caught” was funded by MarVista Entertainment, an independent studio/financier, that recently expanded into the theatrical space. We’d been wanting to work together, and they brought the project to my attention last summer when they were looking to bring on a director. Things moved pretty swiftly from there.
W&H: Name your favorite woman-directed film and why.
MK: Really impossible to name just one. Andrea Arnold’s “Fish Tank,” because she brings you so close into her protagonist’s experience you feel like you are in their head. Jane Campion’s “The Piano,” because when I saw it, it stuck with me for days and days. Catherine Hardwicke’s “Thirteen,” because it was brave and fresh and unlike anything we had seen before. And my talented friend’s films are just as wonderful: Hannah Fidell’s “A Teacher,” Anja Marquardt’s “She’s Lost Control” and Ana Lily Amirpour’s “A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night,” to name just a few.