Although Academy Award predictions are now favoring The Revenant to win Best Picture, two films based on real events, The Big Short and Spotlight, received numerous accolades and critical acclaim in 2016’s awards race. While real event based and true story films are common throughout film history, there has been a spate of these films …
As Frontline PBS promotes it’s new documentary airing tonight, “Secrets, Politics, and Torture”, it once again links director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal to supporting torture via its depiction in their film, Zero Dark Thirty. Many politicians and journalists say the filmmakers make it clear that information gained during torture led the U.S. to bin … Continue reading Zero Dark Thirty: The (Pointless) Debate Continues
After her history-making Oscar win in 2010, the media appointed Kathryn Bigelow as the “symbol” of all female filmmakers. As such, her influence and work is often diminished. Despite becoming a symbol, her path to success is similar to other directors: long and not always easy. Many tie Bigelow’s success and longevity in the industry … Continue reading 52 Weeks of Directors: Kathryn Bigelow
Oscar nominations haven’t been announced yet, but there’s already a campaign to dethrone an Oscar hopeful. Selma, directed by Ava DuVernay, is a solid choice for film critics (100% on Rotten Tomatoes), but in the weeks following its release, the film has come up against criticism for its portrayal of President Lyndon B. Johnson. During … Continue reading Selma backlash: Is it a gender issue?
Within the last week, two directors–and not just any directors–but two heavy weight directors announced their next projects. Jane Campion, an Academy Award winning writer for The Piano, often takes on dark subjects even though her films are often categorized as “period pieces.” (A categorization I find offensive, but that’s for another post.) Last Monday, it … Continue reading Two directing heavyweights sign on to helm adaptations
Author’s Note: I wrote this profile in January 2013 as Zero Dark Thirty was opening nationwide, but I realized it never migrated to this blog. So here it is. “If there’s specific resistance to women making movies, I just choose to ignore that as an obstacle for two reasons: I can’t change my gender, … Continue reading Kathryn Bigelow: I Refuse to Stop Making Movies
As the end of the year approaches, there’s an influx of award nomination lists, critics compile their top ten films of the year, and the New York Film Academy releases an infographic showing the inequality for women in the film industry. While it’s certainly important to be aware of the numbers, the statistics are oft quoted, … Continue reading Female Filmmakers: Don’t Let the Statistics Get You Down
After early praise on the film festival circuit, Gravity, otherwise known as George Clooney and Sandra Bullock as Astronauts (!), stormed the box office, breaking October records in its first weekend (grossing $55 million) and staying on top its second week of release, topping Captain Phillips. The tension riddled events which make up the film … Continue reading Awards Season Watch: Sandra Bullock in Space
Forbes interviewed Sony exec Amy Pascal, the only Hollywood studio head who is a woman, about the lack of women helmed movies, among other topics. Sony’s Zero Dark Thirty was the only Oscar Best Picture nominee to star a woman and be directed by a woman. It was also financed by Annapurna Pictures’ Megan Ellison. Pascal is … Continue reading What’s Wrong with ‘Female’ Directors? Part Two: Amy Pascal Speaks Out
As a former journalist, political science major, and current entertainment industry minion, I’ve enjoyed and admired Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal’s desire to tell topical stories in their films.
The basis for The Hurt Locker were Boal’s experiences as an embedded reporter in Iraq in 2004. Shortly after the killing of Osama bin Laden in 2011, Boal embarked on researching the raid that led to his death. He compiled his research and interviews into the script for Zero Dark Thirty.
After seeing the film, I read two books about events that took place in the ten year span between the 9/11 attacks and the killing of Osama bin Laden in 2011. Triple Agent by Joby Warrick, focuses on the 2009 suicide bombing at Camp Chapman near Khost, Afghanistan. The Finish by Mark Bowden, follows many of the decision makers leading up to the Navy SEAL raid on bin Laden’s compound. Both of these confirm the events fictionalized in Zero Dark Thirty and more accounts of the raid have been published since then.
On March 28, the Writers Guild Foundation hosted an Anatomy of a Script event with Boal.
It was clear from his answers he didn’t skimp on the research of the events in Zero Dark Thirty and in general, Boal’s well read and well informed of current events & historical events relating to the War on Terror.
There were some funny moments and he had a couple stories from shooting Zero Dark Thirty which haven’t been recounted elsewhere.