We’re super excited to announce that Rose McGowan has just released her second directorial short film! Written and directed by McGowan, Ruth tells the story of Ruth Coker Burks, an Arkansas woman who cared for hundreds of gay men dying of AIDS.
“I think she’s been forgotten by time,” Rose McGowan told BuzzFeed News in a recent interview. “Ruth Coker Burks is a national hero. I hope she gets seen and treated that way in the future. I think it’s time for strong women in history to rise up and be counted. And I’ll do anything I can to help that along.”
Ruth, which runs just under eight minutes, stars Shay Astar in the title role. The short film was shot in Los Angeles over a two-day period in June. Ruth is sponsored by the vodka company Zirkova through its We Are One+Together nonprofit. When Zirkova approached Rose McGowan to direct the project she hadn’t heard of Ruth Coker Burks. But as Rose began her research on Burks, she became “fascinated and captivated by the story.” Though Zirkova had sent McGowan a script, the director rewrote it during an all-nighter. “I saw the color palette in my head and went from there,” Rose McGowan said.
“I like to use all sorts of tools — sound design, lighting, set design are all huge for me,” Rose McGowan added. “I thought, Just because she’s in a small town doesn’t mean she’s a church lady. So I found this pink outfit that was kind of great, and I wanted to juxtapose it with all the seriousness.”
Ruth premiered on Sunday in Montauk, New York, to coincide with the kickoff of the 2017 International AIDS Conference in Paris. The film is a way for Rose to express ideas about the lasting consequences of AIDS in America. “I think we’re at the place we’re at culturally because so many creatives were wiped out by AIDS,” McGowan said. “What we’re left with is something kind of lacking. I don’t think we reflect as a society on what we’ve lost — not just the individual toll, but the collective toll.”
Be sure to watch Rose McGowan’s captivating short film right below – and leave your comments right below!
You may now check out Rose McGowan’s haunting short film, Dawn (2014), via Refinery29. They also did a very nice write-up on the film, calling Dawn a “masterfully subversive directorial début”.
If the character Dawn is marked by constraint and indecision, McGowan’s role in shaping her film was just the opposite. Taking the lead on the set design process, McGowan transformed her heroine’s world into a bubblegum-pink embodiment of the ’60s obsession with order. Moving through this bright landscape of neat ranch houses, pleated skirts, and sleek, new furniture, the film clearly reflects the post-war craving for a return to convention.
From Rose McGowan:
Dawn is a cautionary tale. We hurt girls with casual negligence. We change the course of lives with a stereotypical view shared thoughtlessly. We shape the minds of the innocent. Let’s think different and be better.
My inspirations were varied – I wanted the color palette of The Parent Trap (1961) the loneliness of an Edward Hopper painting, the driving tension of Night of the Hunter mixed with Hemingway’s unsparing style of editing. These greats are my teachers.
I layered a lot into Dawn and feel it’s best watched twice. Please enjoy for free and pass it on. THOUGHT+ART = FREEDOM
We have very exciting news to bring today! According to Hollywood Reporter, Rose McGowan will make her feature directorial debut with The Pines. The psychological thriller follows a troubled young woman’s dreams of stability are threatened by a family of healers, who could help save her mind – or lose it completely.
The Pines was written by Alex Mar and will be produced by Sundial Pictures and Tangerine Entertainment. Founded by Amy Hobby and Anne Hubbell, Tangerine Entertainment is a production company focusing on films by women directors. The film is scheduled for a fall shoot in upstate New York.
Congratulations to Ms. McGowan for this major step in her career! You can be sure we’ll be reporting it every step of the way.
Attention LA Fans! Dawn will be playing for a week in L.A. next month along with female-driven films picked by the director. This is wonderfully exciting and all of the staff at Rose-McGowan.com would kill to go to this! Any fans in the L.A. area, please go out and support our lady! If anyone does indeed attend we would love to hear a report about your experience and have it published on the site. Not only is this a great opportunity to see some handpicked classic films with strong leading female performances, Rose will be in attendance and also is aiming to put her directorial debut in Oscar contention!
The Hollywood Reporter writes:
When Rose McGowan’s short-film directorial debut Dawn premiered at Sundance this winter it took many by surprise. It didn’t look like the work of someone who had been acting since she was a teenager (TV’s Charmed, Grindhouse, The Black Dahlia), but rather the work of a cinephile who had spent a lifetime feasting on the classics.
After generating some acclaim for Dawn earlier this year, McGowan is now hoping the film can nab an Academy Award nomination. To qualify for best short it must be publicly exhibited for paid admission in Los Angeles for three consecutive days, but McGowan has decided to turn her qualifying run into a week long “Dawn Festival” and will be setting up residency at the Downtown Independent on Sept 19.
For seven nights, Dawn will be accompanied by a movie picked by McGowan. According to a statement, the films were chosen because they “feature iconic performances by actresses that prove rich, complex and layered roles can and should be written for and by women.” The films will screen with McGowan and special guests in attendance.
For the former Charmed actress, Dawn and its Oscar run are her first steps towards directing features. “I have three features in the works right now,” McGowan tells THR. “Two are in rewrites. One is a bigger film, one smaller. After conservatively estimating my time on sets at over 17,000 hours, I’m more than ready.”
Here’s the full “Dawn Festival” lineup, along with McGowan’s reasoning for picking each film:
Rose McGowan appeared at Sundance London last month to screen her short film Dawn to a keen audience. She took time to talk to Red Carpet News TV about her film, feminism – and what’s instore for the filmmaker next.
Be sure to watch the great interview right below!
From the opening shot of Dawn, you know something is not quite right. In an eerie flash-forward, the scene is set for the directorial debut of Rose McGowan (Jawbreaker, Planet Terror, Charmed). The story focuses on Tara Barr (God Bless America) who plays the title character. She is a shy and quiet teenager in mid last century America, donning saddle shoes and all. Clearly sheltered by strict parents, she is a rule following good girl. One smile to the local boy who works at the fill up station and she is smitten. Her innocence isn’t long lived when she invites the boy and his two friends over to listen to records while mom and dad are out of town. All she wants is some attention but, as everyone knows, peer pressure can be the end of who you truly are.
This 17 minute short is so incredibly lush in it’s color pallet and the soundtrack truly captures the era. Tara is lovely on screen. Regardless of the year, this character is someone we either knew or were at some point in our adolescence. You see every honest beat in Barr’s eyes. You want everything to turn out alright for her in the end. The film left me literally breathless, heart racing and disturbed. I am so impressed with McGowan’s dark choices. The woman clearly has a strong point of view and I cannot wait to see what’s next.
Directed by: Rose McGowan
Written by: M.A. Fortin, Joshua John Miller
Cast: Tara Barr, Reiley McClendon, Hannah Marks, Michael Moskewicz, Julia Sanford, John Grady
TRT: 17 minutes
We’re overjoyed to report that Rose’s directorial debut, a short film titled Dawn, will premiere in the US Narrative Short Films category at the Sundance Film Festival next month!
Dawn / U.S.A. (Director: Rose McGowan, Screenwriters: M.A. Fortin, Joshua John Miller) — Dawn is a quiet young teenager who longs for something or someone to free her from her sheltered life.
The upcoming 30th anniversary of Sundance Film Festival, which runs from January 16 to 26, 2014, sees 66 short films to be screened from a record-breaking total of 8,161 submissions.