×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

10 Directors to Watch: Elizabeth Wood Takes Intense ‘White Girl’ to Sundance

Columbia grad drew her Sundance-bound directorial debut from journal entries about her own extreme adolescence.

Elizabeth Wood likes intensity. Just take a look at her movie “White Girl.”

The writer-director’s gut-punch of a narrative feature, debuting in competition at Sundance this year, follows a young, hedonistic college student’s increasing desperate attempts to get her new boyfriend out of trouble with the law. Along the way, the movie, which stars Morgan Saylor (“Homeland”), offers an unflinching look at the juxtapositions and frictions of race and class that happen every day in contemporary New York, as well as the extremes with which young adults flirt in pursuit of a good time.

“I’ve got intense sensibilities,” Wood says. “I just like to feel things. My goal isn’t to shock, it’s to be real and authentic. Which can sometimes be shocking.”

Wood started writing “White Girl” — based on incidents in her own life — when she applied to Columbia U.’s screenwriting MFA program. (She graduated in 2013. “It was murder, but it was good for me,” she says about the experience.)

By that point, she’d already moved away from more experimental short films into documentary, including the nonfiction feature “Wade in the Water, Children,” which grew out of footage from a documentary class she’d taught New Orleans kids in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. (Her husband, Gabriel Nussbaum, co-directed and produced that one, and serves as producer on “White Girl.”)

She still has the first words of the story she wrote down. “It was in my journal,” she says. “I framed it. Even while it was all happening, it felt like I was living in a movie.”

Wood’s next film, “Spiritual Crisis,” is also drawn from her own life, as is another screenplay she has in her back pocket. She’s also at work on a documentary about a graffiti artist and painter.

— Gordon Cox

Age: 33
Influences: Larry Clark, Todd Solondz
Agency: CAA

More Film

  • Macon Blair27th Annual Gotham Independent Film

    Macon Blair to Direct and Write 'Toxic Avenger' Reboot for Legendary (EXCLUSIVE)

    Macon Blair has been tapped to write and direct Legendary’s reboot of the cult classic “The Toxic Avenger,” sources tell Variety. Legendary acquired the feature film rights in December and have quickly made the project a high priority at the studio. Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz of Troma Entertainment will serve as producers with Alex [...]

  • Danny Boyle Bond 25

    Danny Boyle Calls His Exit From 'Bond 25' a 'Great Shame'

    Director Danny Boyle has finally spoken out after leaving the upcoming 25th James Bond movie over creative differences. After splitting from the new 007 flick last August, Boyle told Empire in a story published on Thursday that the script he penned with his “Trainspotting” co-writer John Hodge “wasn’t finished, but it could have been really [...]

  • Film Review: 'Everybody's Everything'

    Film Review: 'Everybody's Everything'

    An elegiac documentary exploring the brief life of rapper Lil Peep, “Everybody’s Everything” certainly doesn’t lack for perspectives. Interviewing virtually everyone who knew the musician (born Gustav Ahr), directors Sebastian Jones and Ramez Silyan cover the waterfront, from Peep’s family to his girlfriends, his innumerable collaborators, his managers and his fans, trying to distill exactly [...]

  • A Brinks armored truck pulls into

    Layoffs Hit Fox After Disney Completes Deal

    Layoffs have hit Fox following the entertainment company’s sale to Disney. The staff cuts are hitting employees at the SVP, EVP, and president level. Senior staff is expected to be among the first to be impacted. However, the cuts will be deep, with the ax falling hardest of Fox’s film team. There could be as [...]

  • Emily Blunt in Talks for Inspirational

    Emily Blunt in Talks to Star in Annapurna Drama 'Not Fade Away'

    Emily Blunt is in negotiations to star in Annapurna’s inspirational drama “Not Fade Away” with David O. Russell and John Krasinski producing. The project is based on Rebecca Alexander’s 2015 memoir “Not Fade Away: A Memoir of Senses Lost and Found.” Alexander was born with a rare genetic mutation called Usher syndrome type III and [...]

  • Yalitza Aparicio as Cleo, Marco Graf

    Alfonso Cuaron's 'Roma' Nabs Nine Nominations for 6th Premios Platino

    As was widely anticipated, Alfonso Cuaron’s triple Oscar-winning “Roma” dominated the 6th Premios Platino nominations, unveiled Thursday at Hollywood’s legendary Roosevelt Hotel, the site of the very first Oscars. It snagged a total of nine nominations, including best film, director, art direction, cinematography, and acting for its two Oscar-nominated actresses, Yalitza Aparicio and Marina de [...]

  • Stephen Bruno

    Stephen Bruno Exits Netflix for Top Marketing Job at MGM

    Netflix global marketing chief Stephen Bruno has exited his post for MGM, where he has been named chief marketing officer. His departure follows that of Netflix CMO Kelly Bennett and marks a major shake-up for the streaming giant. Bruno had been with the streamer since 2014, and is known as an innovator. He joins MGM [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content