Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Catherine Hardwicke is an American production designer and film director. When she directed the adaption of Stephanie Meyer's best selling book Twilight, she became the most commercially successful female director in Hollywood. Thirteen establishing her as Hollywood’s hot new filmmaker at 47 in 2003. Nikki Reed also got her acting/screen writing start on Thirteen. Catherine has directed a number of successful films since Thirteen, Twilight being the most noted and Red Riding Hood being the most recent. I choose to talk about Catherine Hardwicke before other notable female directors such as Amy Heckerling, Nora Ephron, Julie Taymor, Kirsten Sheridan, Floria Sigismondi, Sanaa Hamri, and Diane English because her personal expression come to fruition in front of the camera seems to have a lot of people talking. It’s not just her major box office hit that make her worth mentioning.

Thirteen was independent with a low budget and was unsupported by most movie production companies. However, Hardwicke's desire to stay true to the experience of real young girls and their true stories and her dark gritty directing techniques made Thirteen a powerful yet devastatingly real coming of age story for the contemporaneous teen girl.
Catherine Hardwicke is an auteur because she uses cinema as her personal expression and is as esteemed as the authors of a written work. Bell Hooks wrote “Movies not only provide a shared experience, a common starting point from which diverse audiences can dialogue about these charging issues.” This is exactly what Hardwicke wanted from her film Thirteen. “…its timeliness. People are nervous about their kids, and they're worried about the disintegration of families and the type of media culture they're living in. It's affecting everybody's lives. I hope that people find creative solutions to the problems we raise in the film” said Hardwick in an interview with Tom Dawson.

When asked in an interview by Rebecca Murray, 'Along those same lines, is there a comment that you’ve heard from either a parent or a teen that’s really affected you?' Hardwicke said “Oh yeah, there’s so many people who’ve come up and hugged me and cried, and introduced me to their mother or their daughter. I’ve even had a 48 year-old lady say she went home and called her 75 year-old mom and apologized. One girl made her mother go see it just to prove that she wasn’t really that bad.”

Catherine Hardwicke has also expressed that she wanted her first feature film, Thirteen, to combine her ideas of growing up a teenage girl and the relationship between these girls and there mother and Nikki Reed’s, who helped write the script and played the role of Evie, real experiences. Several experiences Hardwicke says compelled her to come up with ideas for the film. Like her niece being voted “Best Ass” at her Baptist high school instead of something like “Most Likely to Succeed.” In Author/Auteur: Feminist Literary Theory and Feminist Film Alexander Astruc’s classic essay is sited to say “the birth of a new avant-garde: la camera-stylo’(1948), it was as the title suggests, the camera which Austruc identifies as a writer’s pen, or metaphorical penis, and as the mechanism with which directors inscribe their ideas onto film.” This is what Catherine Hardwicke has done with Thirteen.

Catherine thought a film needed to be made where the scrutiny young girls went through wasn’t comedic, it was real. “ They feel their power. It's not your choice if you're in seventh grade to get boobs and a body; it just happens. That's what I tried to deconstruct, Evie's world, the way she's been tossed around. I see Evie as a survivor. Real things did happen to her, but she works it. She's one of those kids who's so alluring, but toxic. You know if you're going to be around that kind of friend, it's going to be fun, but you don't know where you're going to end up” said Catherine Hardwicke about her process with deconstructing a character she felt would remain true to many girls in a contemporaneous society.

Catherine Hardwicke’s Thirteen faced a lot of trouble before even being made. About being a female director in a male-dominating field Hardwicke said, “It's harder, it is definitely harder, because the other screenplays that I've written before this, you know, I had them really planned out, they were potent, they were exciting, I had budgets, I had a great way to do them, I had them storyboarded--people would just say, ‘You're never going to make that movie as your first movie.’” Of how she budgeted the film Hardwicke said “No studio wanted to give us any money, that’s for sure. Basically everybody said no except finally we found independent financing for the first $1 million.” Filming with a tight budget made it impossible to build sets and use dollies. When the film was finally finished though Hardwicke had made a name for herself, had proved she could bring her ideas to fruision even without the support of the industry and was awarded the Dramatic Directing Award at the Sundance Film Festival.
Work Cited:

Thirteen Movie - Director Catherine Hardwicke Interview <<>>

PopMatters Film Interview Interview with Catherine Hardwicke - Thirteen <<>>

"THIRTEEN' DAYS": Film Freak Central Interviews Director Catherine Hardwicke <<>>

Stanley, Robert Henry. Making Sense of MOVIES: Filming in the Hollywood Style. The McGraws Companies: Boston. 2003.

Author/Auteur:Feminist Literary Theory And Feminist Film Chapter 4

Hooks, Bell. Introduction: Making Movie Magic.



  1. love her movies!!! Her movies create new awareness of standpoint and draw attention to women

  2. Thirteen was such a great film and it definitely would not have been as good if it wasn't made from the viewpoint of a woman. It amazes me how often the most female driven movies are directed by men and it's nice to see a change!

  3. Catherine Hardwicke was a great choice Sheila!
    I loved this movie and especially the themes it dealt with...

    Great job Sheila