Tribeca: Katie Holmes, Jennifer Westfeldt Share the Best Directing Advice They’ve Ever Received

Katie Holmes and Jane Rosenthal GETTY - H 2016
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for IWC

At the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival, Katie Holmes is making her directorial debut with All We Had, an intense family drama exploring the Great Recession.

“It was a daunting task — I was incredibly intimidated because I’m doing something I haven’t done before,” she told The Hollywood Reporter at a festival luncheon for women filmmakers, presented by Tribeca and Chanel's female-focused directing workshop, Through Her Lens. “I remember saying to my dad, ‘I don’t know if I can do this.’ He said, ‘You’re better than you think you are.’ I don’t know that that’s necessarily true, but if you tell yourself that, it’ll get you through.”

Judy Greer — a fest jury member making her own directorial debut on A Happening of Monumental Proportions (and starring Holmes, Allison Janney and Bradley Whitford) — was advised about getting behind the camera to “be clear on what the story is. At the end of the day, when you have to lose something, what’s most important? The story. You might have a f—ing kickass shot but if it’s not working, it’s gotta go."

As for Jennifer Westfeldt, she was told to “always be prepared to pivot. Especially on an independent shoot, there’s not enough money to stick to your plan, so you have to be ready to come up with a new solution on the fly.”

Alongside Julie Taymor, Rose McGowan, Jennifer Morrison, Rachael Leigh Cook, Dree Hemingway, fest executive vp Paula Weinstein and co-founder Jane Rosenthal, the three filmmakers mingled at the Odeon event with the fest’s female helmers, sharing advice of their own.

“People just have to make things — make a film, make a short, put on a play, write a script,” pleaded Westfeldt to THR. “That’s the only way we’re gonna change things, if more and more women find their voices and tell their stories.”

“Don’t think of yourself as a female filmmaker, just think of yourself as a filmmaker,” added Greer. “And wear really comfortable shoes.”

Judy Greer and Jennifer Westfeldt