Katie Holmes Wonders Why There Aren't More Female Directors: "Concentrate on the Work Rather Than the Gender" (Q&A)

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Katie Holmes and Stefania LaVie Owen

The actress and first-time director of 'All We Had' tells THR of her collaborative tips, filmmaking role models and why she often showed up to set with armloads of food.

Katie Holmes’ latest role is that of director, as her first feature film All We Had premiered Friday night at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival.

“We all directed this movie,” Holmes told the audience of the warmly received world-premiere screening, humbly gesturing to Judy Greer (whose upcoming directorial debut features Holmes), Mark Consuelos, Eve Lindley and Stefania LaVie Owen, among others. “These people up here are my friends, and they’re as kind as they are talented. It was a group effort.”

The adaptation of Annie Weatherwax’s novel, penned by Josh Boone, stars Holmes as a mother who eyes a better life for her daughter (Owen) after their family is impoverished by the 2008 financial crisis. Financed by Jim Dolan and produced by fest co-founder Jane Rosenthal, All We Had also features Richard Kind and Luke Wilson.

Just before the premiere, The Hollywood Reporter sat down with Holmes to reflect on directing her first feature film.

This movie is quite heavy. What was your set’s tone?

I was more nurturing. Being an actor for so many years, I know how I like to feel to get the best out of me. I was constantly bringing lots of food for everybody — a lot of the scenes were pretty intense emotionally, so I wanted everyone to feel safe.

Are you nervous to be entering the filmmaking world?

I’m incredibly intimidated because I’m doing something I haven’t done before. As an artist, I hope people connect to this story. But as a woman in Hollywood, I hope to do it more, so I hope it has some success because I want to be part of creating stories and choosing the stories that are put out there.

Who are some other female directors you admire?

I look up to Jodie Foster. Also, Sarah Polley — we did Go together so many years ago. And Reed Morano, she’s an amazing d.p. and has something new coming [Lionness starring Ellen Page]. I’m excited, there’s a lot of great stuff happening. Even at this festival — it’s great that one-third of the Tribeca films are directed by women. I’m looking forward to seeing some.

What directing tip did you find most helpful?

To listen to ideas from everybody. I’ve heard that the really great directors will take an idea from the guy at the deli, because you just never know. Be open, and then make your decisions. Everyone involved was so helpful from the start — we all had the same goal, and everyone was open to ideas from every department.

What piece of advice would you pass on to new filmmakers?

Have fun with it. The creative process takes on its own life, so the more you let it, it can be really wonderful.

What do you say to those who are wary of working with a female filmmaker?

Then don’t! (Laughs.) But you need to concentrate on the work of the person rather than the gender. If you’re nervous about it, then figure out what you’re nervous about exactly and fix that.

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