The Michigan Daily - Monday, April 20, 1987 - Page 9
Seidelman discusses film from a female viewpoint
(Continued from Page 7)
wanted to do for the rest of my life.
D: What do you think about
film now as compared to when you
first started film school?
S: I still love movies but when
you're in film school, I just knew
that I wanted to become a film -
maker, whatever that meant. I never
thought of being a part of the "en-
tertainment industry." I was kind of
naive to all that stuff and I'm less,
naive to it now. And unfortunately,
I think that there is something
wonderful about ignorance because
that's sort of the way I got into it. I
was just too naive (because) I didn't
know how complicated making a
feature film would be. So with a
group of friends I said, "Hey, let's
make a movie." And we did. That's
how Smithereeens was generated.
D: So, what sort of realities did
you come to about making a film?
S: I do think that it is important
to learn these things but sometimes
it's somewhat depressing: learning
about distribution and marketing,
and how it's easier to market a mo -
vie when it has Michael J. Fox in
it or an out-in-out box office star. I
do think that some box office stars
are good actors too and I happen to
like Michael J. Fox but I also don't
want to feel that that is the the only
nd of movie that you can make.
:D: Yet you have sort of jumped
frm independantly made Smither -
eens to $5 milion, $10 million mo -
S: Well I'm still on the lower
budget end. Making Mr. Right was
still nine and a half and right now
your average budget movie is 15 to
17 so it's way still below and for
the movies that I've been making, I
think that they should stay on the
lower budget end.
D: Did you feel "better" about
film making when you were inde-
pe'dant then now that you're with
S: Well I got to say that I do
like making movies with Orion. I
haven't had a bad experience in that
they really leave their directors a -
ldti6 for the most part. In terms of
the process of making the movie I
have no complaints whatsoever. I
think where it does get more com -
plicated is in terms of the filling of
these movies. You even look at a
movie like Something Wild, which
I thought was pretty interesting
npovie and again it's the sort of
mbvie that falls between the cracks
because it is an interesting movie
Iet it doesn't have obvious box of -
fice appeal but those are the movies
tit I prefer to watch and I guess I
prefer to make.
:D: Back to your parents. What'
did they think about you becoming
S: I think now they're real hap -
pf but at the time they weren't un -
so portive at all but they just didn't
1 ow what a filmmaker was. I
don't think that they fully under -
siood what a director did. But my
parents always had a kind of sup -
pprtive liasse-faire attitude. "If you
want to do it, we're behind you. We
don't understand exactly what
you're doing but go ahead."
D: Each of your films have
different tones but they all have the
same flavor. What do you think is
Ithe common theme in your mo -
S: One thing is that they are all
about modern life. Another thing is
that they are all sort of influenced
by pop culture. As a person, I am a
product of pop culture that I grew
up in. I think that that is reflected
in all three films.
D : Do you sense a lot of
yourself in your lead characters?
S: I think that there's bits of me
in all three characters. The films are
not auto-biographical but I think
that they reflect different bits of me
in different stages in my life in a
way. That there was something in
Smithereens, that character had
some coralation to what I was feel -
iqg or perceiving the world at that
time which was six years ago. I
tliink there's aspects of me in both
Rosanna and Madonna in Desper -
atly Seeking Susan and I can
definatly relate to Frankie Stone in
Making Mr. Right.
D: Has anyone ever filed your
films under "feminist films?"
S: It's weird because I don't
know what that means exactly in
the 1987 context. I thought I knew
what that meant 15 years ago, 20
}years ago when the phrase was
renA Nnu unn hear thinky li1e
S: I think that I have a strong
identity with the lead characters
which have always been women. In
Making Mr. Right, not only is the
lead a strong female character but
there is alot of strong secondary
characters. There's a lot of details of
female behavior, whether it's fe -
male activities. I don't want to say
fetishes, but it's things that you as -
sociate with women, whether it's
beauty palors or lipstick or getting
your legs waxed; just the rituals of
female life. I have an interest in
D: Have you had any problems
being a female filmmaker?
S: For me, I kind of went the
independant route then starting out
trying to work in Hollywood and
I'm really glad I did go the in -
dependant route because I think that
circumvented some of the problems
I might have had. In the indepen -
dant community, I don't think it's
nearly the kind of issue that it is in
makers together because I really
think the every filmmaker has their
own personality. I'm interested in
films that reflex to point of view of
the filmmaker. So, my favorite
filmmakers are people like Martin
Scorsese or Woody Allen where
you can tell it's their films. But, on
the other hand, there may be some
people who are not interested in
films that have their own perso -
nality in it and still may be very
good filmmakers and women, Ran -
da Hanes. I havn't seen Children of
a Lesser God but from what I
imagine, it's a film that could of
been made by a man, could of been
made by a woman. And it's sort of
talked about not in terms of a wo -
man's film. Or Amy Heckerling
who's done some out-in-out com -
mercial comedies like National
Lampoon's European Vacation. Is
that a woman film? I don't think
so. I think it's just a film.
D: Do you think that your films
could have been made by a man?
S: Actually I don't because I
a script and said, "You have to do it
exactly like this and you have to
job," I'd probably turn it down.
D: What is the message that you
are trying to communicate to your
S: It's not so much messages as
it is observations. It's like saying,
"What is Woody Allen's (point of
view)?" because Woody Allen is
certainly in a catagory by himself.
He has a point of view about life
and his point of view is very New
York and maybe paranoid, intel -
lectual and all these other kinds of
things. .I grew up in a certain
I feel like I speak for a lot of
men and women who grew up in
being the sons and daughters of
parents that moved out to the
suburbs in the late sixties looking
for the American Dream, kids that
grew up watching TV, that grew up
influenced by the hype of pop cul -
ture, grew up reading comic books
buying record albums, buying paper
back books, grew up eating TV
dinners and take-out pizza. And I'm
saying that in a bad way. I did grow
up on that stuff because my parents
thought that this was like Ameri -
can. A TV dinner was the epitome
of modern American living; clean,
you got all your vegetables, dessert
and your meat all in one tray.
And also I grew up as somebody
who was a product of the feminist
movement that took place in the
late sixties. In other words, I grew
up knowing that I had more options
than just being a mother and a wife.
I would work. I had the choice to
make soemthing out of my life. It
wasn't soemthing that I necessarily
had to fight for because other peo -
ple fought those battles for me and
thankfully so. That generation of
women who were adults in the fif -
ties and rebelled against the old
stereotypes made it popular for my
generation who grew up more in
the late sixties to take it for granted
that you could be a woman and go
to law school or you could be a
woman and go to film school.
of The University of Michigan
Seidelman working on 'Making Mr. Right'.
As an independant filmmaker
you generate your own films so
there is a lot of women who start
out that way. It's Lizzie Bordon,
who just did Working Girls or
Joyce Shobra who just went on the
direct a Hollywood movie, Bright
Lights; Big City. You're relying on
yourself. You're not knocking on
doors where you're expecting some
head of a studio which is usually a
man to hire you.
D: Have you sensed any dif -
ference in the way people have
treated you when you were an in -
dependant compared to now?
S: Not really, because it's funny
for me, one thing just slide into the
next in a way. Smithereens just
came out of being a film student
and working with all my NYU
friends. Desperately Seeking Susan
kind of related enough to Smither -
eens to make the transition com -
fortable and then this movie, it
doesn't relate to the other two in
terms of plot line but it stars a lot
of the same people. Ann Magnusan
(is) somebody I knew from down -
town New York. It suddenly didn't
feel like I was doing a movie with
Dustin Hoffman and Warren Beat -
ty.. I'm still working with people
I'm veryat home working with.
D: Can you see this continuing
in the future?
S: Well, there is certain people
I've become friendly with and I do
like working with because you de-
velop a sort of shortcut. To that is
a pleasant way to work although I
don't want to limit myself in a
sense that each film I make I want
to try to set new challenges. Like
in Making Mr. Right, I inten -
tionally wanted to work outside of
Neu Vrr ,nA n aeiTn ,,ntVA t trv
think my films are personal and be -
ing a woman, I think that's part of
them. But I don't think I could
make Martin Scorsese's films.
D: Film is a new art form as it
is but women as filmmakers is e -
ven more modern. As in any area of
employment that women are first
entering into, there must be some
objections or reaction.
S: It certainly isn't accepted
with open arms. I think it's harder
for women trying to.make female
oriented films than it is for women
trying to make generic films. For
me, I think that if I wanted to make
teen comedies, it would be easier
for me to make them because it's a
catagory that Hollywood thinks is
commercial and it doesn't matter
who's directing them. A monkey
could direct it and they'd be happy
as long as it made money. But I
think that when you start going in
to making the kinds of films that
interest me, which are not the
generic kind, that have a particular
point of view, I think that's where
it gets trickier.
It's harder for women to make
things that have a female point of
view. It's still hard, granted. That's
why a woman like Martha Cool -
ridge started out doing feminist do -
cumentaries and stuff. The last cou -
ple of things, because they've made
money she's done have been these
types of teen comedies and I think
it's going to be hard for her to get
out of that or she's going to have
to make a really, really successful
teen comedy to enble her to get
back to doing what she really wants
D: What about you? Do you
ever see yourself doing that in the
The calendar combines meeting, ecture work-
shop and conference announcements with
other events happening each week on campus.
It is based on The University Record calendar,
and is open to all University sponsored groups
and organizations recognized by the Michigan
Student Assembly. Items must be submitted in
writing by 5 p.m. the Tuesday before publi-
cation. Address all information to: Julie A.
Brown, publications assistant, University Rec-
ord, 412 Maynard St. Asterisk (*) denotes
events to which admission is charged.
A-Squares--Sq dancing, 8:30-10 pm, Mich Union. 665-5794.
Botanical Club--Lec, J Palmer, "Molecular Approaches to
Plant Systems & Evolution," 7:45 pm, Botanical Gardens,
1800 N Dixboro. 475-7801.
Christian Sc Org--See April 13.
*UM-Flint--Perf, Music Dept Finale, U-M-Flint Theatre.
Gay Liberation--Lesbian-Gay Male Community Open House,
8:30 pm, Canterbury House, 218 N Division. 665-0606,
Sch Music--Recitals: S Leong, harpsichord, 8 pm, McIntosh
Theatre; T Sisley, piano, 6 pm, Rackham Assem Hal, & N
Galanter, piano, 8 pm, Recital Hall.
Senate Assem--Mtg, 3:15 pm, Rackham Amph.
Tae Kwon Do Club--Beg welcome, 6:30-8:15 pm, 2275
Women's Okinawan Karate & Self-Defense Club--Beg
class, 7:15 pm, Martial Arts Rm, IM Bldg. 763-3562.
Perf Network--Perf, Free Association, "Organismization," 8
pm, 408 W Washington. 663-0681.
Architecture/Music--Lecs: E Kammerer & M Meichi
"Complexity & Contradictions in the Interpretation of J.S.
Bach's Partita for Flute & the Pennsylvania Academy of
Fine Arts by Frank Furness," 2:30 pm; S Held & J Kurko,
"Stravinsky's Mass in Honor of San Marco & its
Relationship to the Architecture & the Acoustics of the
Building," 3:30 pm, & D Handel & P Vanderbeke, "Creative
Aesthetics: Philosophical Foundations in the Work of Louis
Kahn & Glenn Gould," 4:30 pm, 2043 School of Music
Comp Vision Res Lab--Sem, F Quek, "A Decision System
for Autonomous Robot Navigation," 5 pm, 3427 EECS
Christian Sci Org--Mtg, 7:15 pm, 3rd Fl, Mich League.
Nursing Alumni--Tea honoring graduating nursing stdts,
4:30-6 pm, Clements Lib. 763-2513.
*Human Resource Devp--Workshop, "Counseling Skills
for the Lay Professional" Sess I (Sess II: April 27), 1-4:30
pm, 1111 Kipke Dr, Regis: 764-9250.
Dance Dept--Workshop performances of orig stdt works, 4
pm, Studio A Theater, Dance Bldg. 763-5460.
Ne E Stds/Judaic Stds/Stds in Reigion--Lec, I Eph'al,
'The Jews in Babylonia During the 6th-Sh Centuries BCE:
CulturalInfluence & Exclusiveness," 4 pm, Frieze.
Atmospheric & Oceanic Sci--Multi-media pres, 7:30 pm,
Hale Aud, 763-6213.
Botanical Grdns--Pres, B Lowe, "Gardening with Perennials,"
7:30 pm, And. Reser: 763-7060.
Christians in Action--Mtg, 8:30 pm, Anderson Rm, Mich
CEW--Scholarship Award Ceremony, 7:30 pm, Rackham
Intl Ctr/Ecumen Camp Ctr--Lec, K ONeal, "A Journey to
Nepal," noon, 603 E Madison. 662-5529.
*U-M-Flint--Sem, "Breast Cancer," 7-9 pm, McLaren
Women's Ctr, G-1116S Linden Rd. Regis: 762-3294, 230-
Sch Music--Concert, Mich Choirs & Univ Symph Orch, 8
pm, Hill Aud.
Mus Art--Art Breaks, "From Seedtime to Harvest," 12:10 pm.
Netherlands Amer Univ League--Disc, H Harbers, 'The
Works of Heinrich Mann," 8 pm, Intl Ctr, 603 E Madison.
Psychobiol--Colloq, J Fentress, "Dynamic Network Analysis
of Action Systems," 12:30 pm, 1057 MHRI. 747-0933.
Pharmacology--Lec, R Furchgott, "Studies on Endothelial
Dependent Vasodilation--Endothelial Derived Relaxing
Factor," 4 pm, N Lec Hall, Med Sci 11.
*Sci Res Club--Banquet, 6-8:30 pm, Kuenzel Rm, Mich
Union. 761-4320, 764-1488.
Soc Work --Pres/disc, S Ramon, "De-Institutionalization of
the Mentally 1l: A Comparison of English & Italian
Systems," 12:15 pm, 3065 Frieze.
TARDAA/Dr Who Fan Club--Mtg, 8 pm, 296 Dennison.
Visiting Writers Ser--Fic reading, J Barnes, 4 pm, E Conf
Med Ctr--Mastectomy Disc Grp, noon-1:15 pm, Rm 2A235,
2nd Level, Regis: 763-9953.
*Friends of Univ Hosp --Lec, T Schwenk, 'The Family in
Health & Illness: A New Specialty in Family Practice" 2
pm, Chelsea Comm Hosp, 775 S Main. 764-2220.
ChineseStds--Brown bag lec, FHuang, "My Experience at
the IMF," noon, Lane Hall Commons Rm. 995-2104.
Asian Langs & Cultures--Lec, N Florida, "Reading the
Unread in Javanese Literature," 4:10 pm, 3050 Frieze. 764-
Affirm Act Ofc--Sexual Harassment Workshop, video, Teh
4Z . vn .7 n TI- - -'.et 1,,,
Disser Support Grp--Mtg, 8:30-10 am, Mich Union. 764-
*U.MFlint--Spotlight Ser, A Zonjic (flutist) & Zonjic
Quintet, 8 pm, U-M-Flint Theatre. Reser: 762-3431.
Mich Gay Union --Soc/disc grp, 9 pm, Guild House, 802
Monroe St, 763-4186.
*Cont Legal Ed--Course, "Building a Law Finn for the 80s
& Beyond," 9 am-4:30 pm, & "Effective Mediation in
Divorce," 1:30-5 pm, Weber's Inn, Regis: 769-2500.
*M-CARE--Workshop, "Bike Maintenance," 7 pm, 148 N
Center St, Northville. Regis: 349-0203.
Sch Music--Recital, A Parker, baritone, 8 pm, Recital Hall.
Concert, "An Evening of Electronic Music," 8 pm,
Rackham Aud. Opera workshop, 8 pm, McIntosh Theatre.
Psychiatry--Conf, M Campbell, 'The Use of Pharmacological
Agents in the Treatment of Impulse Disorders," 10:30 am-
noon. Child & Adolescent Psych Hosp Aud. 764-9527
Russian & E Europ Stds--Wine/cheese party honoring
CREES stdts, 5-7 pm, Lane Hall Commons Rm.
Sci Fic Club/Stilyagi Air Corps--Mtg, 8:30 pm, Conf
Rm, Mich League, 994-8419.
Tae Kwon Do Club--See April 20.
WCBN (88.3FM)--Prog, "All Things Reconsidered," 6:30
Med Ctr--Lumpectomy Disc Grp, noon-1:15 pm, Rm 2A235,
2nd Level, Regis: 763-9953, 936-4300.
Judaic Stds--Colloq, D Dwork, "Jewish Children in Nazi
Europe," 4 pm, 3050 Frieze. 763-9047.
Indust & Oper Engr--Sem, A Seidmann, "Computerized
Performance Models of Flexible Manufacturing Systems," 4
pm (coffee: 3:30 pm), 241 IOE Bldg.
*Exhibit Mus--Feature Show, The Universe Game, 8 pm,
Planetarium, 1109 Geddes. 764-0478.
*Cinema Guild--The Country Girl, 7 pm, & An Affair to
Remember, 9 pm, MLB 4.
His House Christian Fellowship--Bible' study, 7:30-9
pm, 925 E Ann, 663-0483, 665-0775.
Inter-Varsity Christian. Fellowship--Mtg, 7 pm, 126 E
*Mich League--Intl Night, Czechoslovakia & Yugoslavia,
4:30-7:30 pm, The League Buffet.
Ment Hith Res Inst--Vision Lunch Sem, H Moises, 'What
Does Dynorphin Do? Studies in Rat Hippocampus," 12:15-
1:30 pm, 2055 MHRL
Mus Art--See April 21. Preview party, 6:30-9:30 pm, & sale
preview, 8-10 pm. 764-0395.
Scottish Country Dancers--Beg: 7 pm, intermed/advanced:
8 pm, soc: 9 pm, Forest Hills Comm Ctr, 2351
Turner Clin --Living the Healthy Life Grp, "Sugar Free--
That's for Me," 2-3:30 pm, 1010 Wall St. Workshop,
"Where Do I Tum When I Need Care At Home?" 1-3 pm,
Zion Lutheran Church, 1501 W Liberty. 764-2556.
Univ AA--Mtg, noon, 3200 Mich Union (non-smoking), St
Mary's Ed Ctr (smoking). 764-8312.
WELS Lutheran Campus Ministry --Disc, "Living In
Grace," noon, Mich Rm, Mich Union. 662-0663, 761-
Women's Okinawan Karate & Self-Defense Club--See
Evol & Human Behavior--Lec, B Smuts, "Male-Male
Greetings & Social Relationships in Olive Baboons," 3:30
pm, 2053 LSA.
*Cinema Guild--Limelight, 7 & 9:30 pm, MLB 3.
*AAFC--Flesh Gordon, 7 pm, What's Up, Tiger Lily?, 9 pm,
Aud A, Angell Hall.
Korean Christian Fellowship--Bible study, 9 pm,
Campus Chapel, 747-0120.
Sch Music--Recital, J Wing, bassoon, 8 pm, Recital Hall.
Mus Art--Art & Antique Sale, noon-9 pm, Mich Union. 764-
Tae Kwon Do Club--Beg welcome, 6-8 pm, 1200 CCRB.
Psych--Katz-Newcomb Lec in Soc Psych, D Sears, 4 pm
(coffee: 3 pm Rackham Assem Hall), Rackham Amph.
*Exhibit Mus--Feature Show, The Universe Game, 1:30,
2:45 & 4 pm, & Family Show, Sky Rambles, 10:30 &
11:30 pm, Planetarium, 1109 Geddes@#$ 764-0478.
U-M-Flint--Recep, D Moore, 8 pm, Univ Ctr Gallery. 762-
*Cinema Guild--Go West, 7 & 10, & The Big Store, 8:30
pm, MLB 3.
*AAFC--The Toxic Avenger, 7 & 9 pm, MLB 4.
Mus Art--Docent tour, "From Seedtime to Harvest," 2 pm.
Art & Antique Sale, 10 am-4 pm, & viewing and live
auction, 7-11 pm. 764-0395.
Sch Music--Recital, M Mysliwiec, organ, 8 pm, Hill Aud.
Med Ctr--CPR Days, 9 am-noon & 1:30-4:30 pm, Domino's
Farms, BeyerHosp, Chelsea Comm Hosp & Saline Comm
Hosp. Regis: 971-5396.
Stu Woodshop--Safety class for new shop users, Sess I, 9-11
am, SAB@#$ 763-4025.
Zen Buddhist Temple--Meditation svc, 5-7 pm, 1214
Cont Med Ed--Conf (4 days), "ECMO," 7:30 am-noon Wed,
Towsley Ctr, 763-1400.
*Exhibit Mus--Feature Show, The Universe Game, 1:30,
2:45 & 4 pm, Planetarium, 1109 Geddes. 764-0478.
His House Christian Fellowship--Bible study/meal, 6-8
pm, 825 E Ann, 663-0483, 665-0775.
Phi Beta Sigma--Mtg, 4-7 pm,_Mich Union. 769-9080.