Meet Emerging Australian Female Film Director Emily Avila
Meet Emily Avila — emerging director and Taxi’s Mentee as part of the Australian Directors’ Guild’s (ADG) Commercial & Content Directing Mentorship program.
Emily joins Taxi as part of Screen Australia’s Gender Matters: Brilliant Careers initiative that pairs emerging female directors with commercial production companies to gain an insight into life as a director in the commercial space.
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As an aspiring director, what does this mentorship mean to you?
Directing is a particularly difficult role to break into. Over the past few years, I have been making narrative short films that have bolstered my experience and desire to keep telling more stories. Having the opportunity to learn from established commercial directors about each stage of methodology through this mentorship is wonderful and the timing could not be better.
What has the mentorship taught you so far?
I’ve learnt about the importance of the client-director relationship and about communicating your decisions every step of the way. Observing Ali Cameron working with non-actors was great — she really prioritised making them feel comfortable and emotionally invested in the experience, which definitely came across in the final product. Simple and small details always make a world of difference. The production team at Taxi have also been really welcoming and are really invested in making the experience as rewarding as possible, which has been great!
What do you hope to achieve whilst participating in the mentorship?
Ideally, I will be able to apply all that I learn by eventually directing my own commercial! That would be the best possible outcome.
How do you feel the mentorship will contribute to your professional development as a Commercial and Content director?
By shadowing so many different directors at Taxi, I am sure I will expand my own toolkit immensely and, as a result, my approach to directing will become more professional and inspired. I hope this mentorship brings me closer to working as a commercial director myself.
Have you heard of the ‘Free the Bid’ initiative (a pledge to give female directors a voice in advertising)? What are your thoughts on this initiative?
I hadn’t heard of the initiative, but I think it is a wonderful idea. Unconscious bias is something we always need to keep in check — female directors should not just be relegated to certain types of storytelling — open it up to more women and the industry will only benefit!
Taxi is proud to be the first ever QLD production to participate in this program.
Emily Avila — Biography
Emily Avila is an emerging director based in Brisbane and is the current artistic director of the Heart of Gold International Short Film Festival. She has worked extensively for various Australian production companies & film festivals including as assistant to Oscar-winning producer Emile Sherman at See-Saw Films in Sydney, and most recently in scripted development at Essential Media & Entertainment (QLD).
Emily’s directing credits include ‘In a Cane Field’- a meditative murder mystery shot on Super 16 in the sugarcane fields of south-east Queensland which premiered at the Brisbane Asia-Pacific Film Festival and won Best Cinematography at Flickerfest and Best Short Film at Byron All Shorts; and ‘Fitting’ — a story between two women that plays out entirely within a fitting room. Emily was awarded the Lexus Australia Short Film Fellowship to make this film, which will premiere at the Sydney Film Festival in June 2018.
Other recipients of the 2018 ADG Commercial & Content Directing Mentorship are:
Aimée-Lee X. Curran — Photoplay (NSW)
Eugenie Muggleton — The Otto Empire (VIC)
Giulietta Amato — Goodoil Films (NSW)
Kyra Bartley — FINCH (NSW)
Roxanne Halley — The Sweetshop Films (VIC)
Stef Smith — Photoplay (NSW)
Vanessa Gazy — Scoundrel Films (NSW)