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Rachel Talalay - United Kingdom
The Producer Award
  
Rachel Talalay
Director - Producer – Agitator
 
In recognition of her career as a Producer and Executive producer of both film and television that kickstarted and spanned her career before enjoying success in her present career as a Director, Rachel Talalay is the recipient of TheWIFTS Producer Award 2016.

Rachel Talalay is currently directing the opening film of Series IV of the acclaimed Sherlock, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman.

In 2014, Rachel became the 7th woman to direct Doctor Who, in its 52 year history, shooting the two-part finale of Series 8 Dark Water and Death in Heaven. In 2015 she continued onto Series 9 for the two-part finale, including the experimental one-hander Heaven Sent and its companion Hell Bent.

In between Doctor Who episodes, she directed the film based on Stevie Cameron's award-winning novel On the Farm, examining the crimes of Robert Pickton and the stories of the women who battled to be heard.

Talalay's producing history includes: Hairspray (1988) the original romantic musical comedy film written and directed by John Waters, and starring Ricki Lake, Divine, Debbie Harry, Sonny Bono, Jerry Stiller, Leslie Ann Powers, Colleen Fitzpatrick, and Michael St. Gerard; Cry-Baby is a 1990 American teen musical romantic comedy film written and directed by John Waters. It was the only film of Waters' over which studios were in a bidding war, coming off the heels of the successful Hairspray.

Cry-Baby stars Johnny Depp as 1950s teen rebel Cry-Baby Wade Walker, and also features a large ensemble cast that includes Amy Locane, Polly Bergen, Susan Tyrrell, Iggy Pop, Ricki Lake, and Traci Lords, with appearances by Troy Donahue, Joe Dallesandro, Joey Heatherton, David Nelson, Willem Dafoe, and Patricia Hearst; the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise (parts 3 and 4) Nightmare on Elm Street the original by Wes Craven garnered critical reviews and went on to make an impact on the horror genre, spawning a franchise consisting of a line of sequels: A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors is a 1987 American horror film and the third film in the Nightmare on Elm Street series.

The film was directed by Chuck Russell, written by original creator Wes Craven and co-written by Bruce Wagner, and starred Craig Wasson, Heather Langenkamp, Robert Englund as Freddy Krueger and Patricia Arquette in her first role. It is the sequel to A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge and is followed by A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master;

The Borrowers, the 1997 British–American live-action fantasy comedy film based on the children's novel of the same name by author Mary Norton. In 1998 it was nominated for the title of Best British Film in the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) awards, but lost to Gary Oldman's Nil by Mouth. The film also picked up two more nominations and one win in awards. Shot on location in the village of Theale, near Reading, Berkshire. For some of films scenes the buildings and shops in the High Street were painted dark green.

Her directing filmography for television includes her super-powered path through DC's The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow, while exec-producing the Astron-6 web-series Divorced Dad. Her eclectic feature film resume includes directing Tank Girl; as the writer - Freddy's Dead (Nightmare on Elm Street 6); directing - Wind in the Willows; award-winning mini-series (Terminal City, Durham County and Dice) and more than 75 hours of television in the US, UK and Canada from Ally McBeal to Without a Trace, Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased) to Touching Evil.

Rachel has been nominated for numerous awards including the BAFTAs, Royal Television Society, Independent Spirit Awards, West Coast Emmys, the Geminis and Sitges, and won (recorded) two Leo's for Best Direction in a Youth or Children's Program or Series The Wind in the Willows (2006), Best Direction in a Dramatic Series Terminal City (2005) episode 8. On The Farm​,​directed by Rachel Talalay​,​recently won a Leo Award for Best Television Film. Rachel herself was honoured with the Spotlight Award Woman of the Year – Women in Film and Television (WIFTV) Vancouver.

The gender inequality of women in film and television in front of and behind behind the camera continues unabated. Rachel Talalay is an outspoken advocate on the issue and says her "skin is made of Teflon, ­a noted super-power."

In an Interview with Alyssa who is feminist and a fan of Doctor Who, writing for Whovian Feminism, Rachel cites instances that continue in the industry.

Alyssa: So trying to get more women into TV sometimes means women don't get quite the freedom to express what their personal beliefs are about the material that is being shot, because they have that pressure to put on this perfect persona of someone who is not going to cause a problem on set.

Rachel Talalay: Yes, because of the perception of being judged so much more harshly. Recently a male director said to me: "Don't you love it when you just don't know what you're going to do with a scene and you come on set and you kind of just say to everybody 'How do you think we should do this?'" My jaw dropped. I do not believe I have the luxury to do that. It would risk comments like "She doesn't know what's she's doing. She had to ask the crew."

But more and more, crew members are admitting to me: "It's awful to see how differently they treat you, they would never have said that to a male director." That's my best indicator that it's really different. Sometimes it surprises me because I'm unaware that I'm being treated differently and the crew is seeing things that I am used to. Plus I hear it from other women directors I talk to. And the stories they tell are often much worse than anything I've ever experienced. I've been very lucky.

And most women won't speak up – for even more fear they won't work again. What if someone reads this and thinks "I don't want to work with her – she sounds too strident or opinionated or … whiny"?

Don't get me wrong, I still have the greatest job in the world and am thrilled to be doing it. Please let me do this for the rest of life – I've been so fortunate in what I've done. But it makes me even more appreciative every time I work with respectful collaborators. (Thank you, Doctor Who!)

Rachel's Full interview in Whovian Feminism can be viewed at http://whovianfeminism.tumblr.com/post/105397652672/an-interview-with-rachel-talalay
Extracts on some of the material for Rachel Talalay courtesy of Whovian Feminism and Wikipedia
Photo credit: Wendy D.

  

 
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