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Women Talking Q&A with Dede Gardner and Sarah Polley
March 15, 2023 · 30 min
This week on On Story, it's all about Women Talking, and I'm not just referencing our powerhouse guests, Academy Award-winning producer Dede Gardner and Oscar-nominated writer-director Sarah Polley, but also their newest film collaboration and adaptation, Women Talking. Women Talking is a drama feature based on Miriam Toews' critically acclaimed novel of the same name. Inspired by true events from a sequestered community in Bolivia, the film follows a group of women in an isolated religious colony as they struggle to reconcile their faith amidst a series of assaults committed by the colony's men. This raw and vulnerable look at domestic violence is ultimately a story of women's resilience, and it's beautifully portrayed by leading actors Rooney Mara, Claire Foy, Jessica Buckley, Judith Ivey and Frances McDormand. Austin Film Festival was thrilled to include this powerful film in our 2022 film slate. But a little more on the women talking in this post-screening Q&A. AFF was honored to award Dede Gardner with the 2022 Polly Platt Award for Producing, an Austin Film Festival award intended to recognize producers with a keen sense of story who have demonstrated a commitment to fostering new talent. Throughout her career, Gardner has produced many Academy Award and Golden Globe-winning films, including pioneering work such as Minari, If Beale Street Could Talk, Moonlight, The Big Short, Vice, Selma, 12 Years a Slave, And Terrence Malick's Palme d'Or winner, The Tree of Life. Her recent television releases include HBO's limited series, The Third Day, as well as the Amazon series, The Underground Railroad, and Outer Range. Joining Gardner is Women Talking's writer-director, Sarah Polley. Formerly an actress known for her leading role in the television series, Ramona, Polley made her directorial debut with her film, Away from Her, which was Oscar-nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay. Polley also received the Writer's Guild of America Award for Best Documentary Screenplay for her doc, Stories We Tell. Most recently, she executive-produced and wrote the Netflix limited series, Alias Grace, which she adapted from Margaret Atwood's novel. In short, Sarah Polley is a master at taking existing stories and filtering them through a lens of her own. AFF moderator Marissa Padden spoke with Dede Gardner and Sarah Polley after their screening at this year's Austin Film Festival to give our audience an insider's look at the art of adaptation and to host an honest conversation about tackling stories with difficult subjects. Sh! The women are talking, it's time to listen. Clips of Women Talking courtesy of United Artists Releasing.