Celluloid Ceiling, Lexi Alexander, and Etheria Film Night

I've missed out on posting a lot of really cool news about women directors lately. I took a huge imaginary trip to Iceland and Spain and have been gone for 6 weeks, which has prevented me from blogging. But since blogging is my full-time, lucrative job, I felt I needed a mini-vacation to the realms of frost giants and Gaudi.

In the past two months, some amazing things have happened that I need to catch up on, and catch you up on. First, did you hear the amazing quotes from director Lexi Alexander (PUNISHER: WARZONE) about sexism in Hollywood? Her statements were re-posted on Indiewire's Women and Hollywood blog in January 2013:

There is no lack of female directors. Repeat after me: THERE IS NO LACK OF FEMALE DIRECTORS. But there is a huge lack of people willing to give female directors opportunities. I swear, if anyone near me even so much as whispers the sentence "Women probably don't want to direct," my fist will fly as a reflex action.

Side note: The previous statement labels me as "difficult".

Alexander's statement was prompted in part by the baffling treatment she had received earlier in 2013 when fans overwhelmingly supported her as the choice for the director of the all-female EXPENDABLES film. But partly she represents numerous women in the Director's Guild of America that feel they are given unequal treatment when it comes to hiring practices based solely on the basis of their sex. Alexander now self-deprecatingly jokes that she is the new "Gertrude Stein of filmmaking," but largely due to her outspoken attitude recently, and the diligent efforts and research of director Maria Giese and the Women Directors in Hollywood Blog, the ACLU is now conducting its own investigation into any sexism that women directors may face in Hollywood. Get ready for a lawsuit, sexists!

The ACLU's announcement was followed shortly thereafter by comedian Will Ferrell (I know, right? Who knew?)  launching a brand new division of his production company called Gloria Sanchez Productions to spearhead female-led film projects.  Now I have a reason to like Will Ferrell, which is really my one big take-away from this entire thing.

February 2014 was Women in Horror Month, and there were many awesome new film projects, film festivals, articles, exchanges, and artwork created in celebration. But since December 2013, I have been in the process of creating a new film festival (sort of). The Viscera Organization and the Viscera Film Festival officially disbanded in December 2013, with creator Shannon Lark and board member Lori Bowen finishing, screening, and promoting their new psychological-yet-gory horror film I AM MONSTER (you can check it out here at the official website: www.iammonstermovie.com). In January 2014, I decided to revamp the Etheria Film Festival, the science fiction and fantasy film festival that I had put together under the Viscera banner in Boston, Massachusetts, and move it to Hollywood, CA. The new Etheria Film Night will screen not only new science fiction and fantasy, but also horror, thriller, action, and even some comedy and drama – all directed by women. You can check out our official website here: www.etheriafilmnight.com. We'll be screening the selections at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood, California on July 12th, 2014 with the support of the American Cinematheque.

I also took that 6 weeks off to write a chapter in the film journal Celluloid Ceiling Spring 2014, thanks to the patience of my editor Professor Gabrielle Kelly, of NYU Tisch Singapore. It was fun. I wrote a lot about lesbians and feminism in European film history.

Hard at work on my book about women directors of horror films, I plan to finish that sometime before my 80th birthday. And no I continue blogging about stuff other women are doing. Carry on.

Mark Gill Won't Hire Lexi Alexander For EXPENDABLES

Lately, we've been seeing a lot of fans excited about the all-female EXPENDABLES movie (AKA EXPENDABELLES). Many fans and geeks and film writers have suggested Lexi Alexander as the natural choice for a female action film director, since the producers announced they'd definitely be hiring a female director for the project. Alexander has read the script and was waiting to take meetings.

What people don't know is that this last week Alexander was denied a meeting with Mark Gill, the executive in charge of the new EXPENDABLES film. Alexander  posted on her personal blog about what happened when her manager tried to get her a meeting with Mark Gill. Gill, I might add, has a reputation for not being friendly towards women directors. That's only a rumor I have heard from other directors, but it seems cosistent with the conversation below if what Alexander says is true. This is from Alexander's blog and recounts her experience trying to get a meeting about EXPENDABELLES:

When people alerted me to all the blogs and articles out there naming me as their favorite director for the flick, I was really touched and thought that I should at least read the script, maybe meet and show my appreciation for the folks who are championing me.  I called my manager and she happily called Millennium that day (the fact that I rarely meet on that size movie any more is a bit of a sore subject between us, which is why this made her happy).

We don't get a call back for three days, so my manager calls again. This time the executive in charge of Expendabelles, Mark Gill, takes her call.

This is how the conversation went:

Mark Gill: I know who you're calling about and it's not going to happen.

Manager: Who am I calling about?

Gill: Lexi Alexander.

Manager: Have you seen all the stuff on the internet?  The whole world thinks she's perfect for this.

Gill: I don't give a fuck what the whole world thinks. Sly brought her up as well and I talked him out of it.

Manager: But why?

Gill: I don't think she knows anything about women kicking ass.

Manager: Are you serious?

Gill: Yeah. I don't buy into all the buzz.

Manager: Don't you think you should at least meet her in person and find out what she knows ? You've never met her in person, correct?

Gill: I have not and I don't want to. Unless she wants to step in the ring with me.

Manager: Excuse me?

Gill: The ring as in "boxing ring". Three 2-minute rounds, full-contact, any style she wants. If she gets through it without crying I'll be a little more convinced that she knows something about strong women and I may grant her a meeting. Maybe.

Manager: Do you know she was-

Gill: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I heard the whole spiel, World Kickboxing-Champion, whatever degree black belt-

Manager: Third degree.

Gill: Pfft, my gardner's ten-year-old son is an 8th degree black belt. I told you she's an incompetent underachiever.

Manager: She was a Martial Arts instructor for the Marines Corps.

Gill: Then you don't have anything to worry about if she gets in the ring with me, do you?

Manager: Trust me, that's not what I am worried about.

Gill: I have to go, Sly wants to play nine holes and I don't want to be one of them. You know the deal, either she proves herself  to me or I don't ever want to hear her name again.


Ring….ring….ring (this is my phone ringing now, although my ringtone is the tune from the Muppets – ma-nam-a-na bee-bee bi-bi-bi, but that would be weird to write)

Me:   Hello?

Manager: Hey, ah, I — I — just got off the phone with Mark Gill.

Me: (laughing) That bad, huh? I told you he is not a fan.

Manager: You're not kidding. You really never met him? Ever?

Me:  I may have been introduced to him at some event over the years,  but I doubt even that happened.

Manager: How do you know he doesn't like you?

Me:  I guess this new level of hate I have Lionsgate to thank for. But his dislike for me goes back all the way to Johnny Flynton.

Manager: What happened with Johnny Flynton?

Me: Nothing. He just didn't like it. After it was nominated for an Oscar they set me up with all these general meetings. Mark Gill was the only exec who didn't want to meet me, 'said he didn't get the film.

Manager: Who the fuck doesn't get Johnny Flynton?

Me:   Mark Gill and one other person on the internet.

Manager: (Laughing)

Me:   I take it I won't be meeting on Expendabelles then, huh?

Manager: Actually, he does want to meet you….

Me:   He does?

Manager:  Yeah, but…this is going to sound crazy…he wants to have some kind of boxing match with you, to see how much you really know about women kicking ass.

Me:   Ha, ha. Very funny.

Manager:  I swear. I'm not kidding, that's what he said and he didn't sound drunk.

Me:   Mark Gill? March of the Penguins' Mark Gill wants to fight me?

Manager: Yes. He said something like — "Hey Richy, are you on the line?"

(Richy: My manager's assistant. Always on the line, always takes notes)

Richy:  I'm here.

Manager:  What did he say exactly?

Richy: He wants you to fight three 2-minute rounds, full- contact, any style.


Me:   Are you guys fucking with me?

Manager & Richy: No!

Me:   Penguin guy wants to fight me ? Are you sure he was talking about himself, not Sly?

Manager: I'm sure.

Me:   Under what conditions? Me blindfolded with one arm tied behind my back?

Manager: He didn't mention that.

Me:   Does he know about my back–

Manager: He knows all about you.

Me:   I can't do it.

Manager: Why not? He's asking for it.

Me:   I can't fight Penguin guy, I'll murder him and clearly he's already suffering from brain damage.

Manager: How many times do I have to tell you Lexi, you gotta swim with the sharks if you wanna make it in this town. Fuck his brain damage. If he'd rather get punched in the face than sit through another director's power point presentation, then punch him in the face and get the job.

Me:   Huh.

Manager: Light-bulb moment?

Me: Yeah. I'm starting to think that for someone like…say…God or Santa Clause,  a person who's considered "difficult" in Hollywood is actually a saint.

Manager: I'm not sure I understand and unfortunately I have a staff meeting now. You're doing this, right?

Me:  Sure. Set a date.

Okay, okay…that's not really what happened…but a girl can dream right?

Actually, the only thing I made up is the fight challenge, everything else is pretty much how it went down. But the way I see it, if someone makes a clear-cut judgment about you without ever meeting you in person…that only defines them.

I hope you will all support the movie anyway, because they will definitely hire a female director (I don't think they can go back on that and pretend they tried, given that there are 1400 female directors in the DGA alone and I don't know how many qualified women worldwide) and whoever she is, she'll need all the help she can get.

My personal vote goes to Lynne Ramsay because she's amazing and I'm not only talking about Kevin (see what I did there). Watch Ratcatcher or Morvern Callar and tell me she's not one bad-ass director. And yes I heard the rumors, but that's all they are: rumors. My friend Des Hamilton (Greenstreet casting director) has worked with her many times and has nothing but great things to say about her. Calum Marsh of film.com wrote an excellent article on this.

While Alexander embellishes a bit about Gill wanting to get in a kickboxing ring with her and have her prove herself to him as an ass-kicking woman (Gill did not really suggest that), it's clear that he does not want to use Alexander for the film, dislikes her, and refuses to meet with her. I know Alexander may be paraphrasing some of Gill's statements as well, as I have not spoken with Gill or with Alexander's manager about this. Alexander, and I, and probably many fans, don't really understand why Gill won't meet with her, at the very least, since she's the first choice of so many fans for the franchise sequel. I would love to know who Gill is considering, though. Wouldn't you?

20 Women Directors For The New EXPENDABLES Movie

Recently, it was announced that the producers behind the new EXPENDABLES movie are seeking a female director to helm the project. I decided to make a list of 20 women directors for the new EXPENDABLES movie because, frankly, I haven't seen that many suggested aside from Lexi Alexander (PUNISHER: WARZONE) and Kathryn Bigelow (Do I need to tell you?).

I am always surprised when people say “there aren’t that many women action film directors.” I mean, I guess I’m not surprised, really, because overall there are way more men directing, in general, than women, so it will always appear that there are fewer women directing films of all genres.

But there is a really long legacy of women directing action and thriller films on our planet. Even Alice Guy Blache, the first female filmmaker, (I know you're all sick of hearing about her, whatevs) directed several one-reel action sequences, like these:

A heist flick:


And those are free to watch, public domain, on the Internet.

Guy Blache aside, I’m looking at a stack of movies on my desk, like the recent DEAD HOOKER IN A TRUNK from Jen and Sylvia Soska, AIR COLLISION by Liz Adams, the AGENT 15 series by Paget Brewster, Rachel Lee Goldenberg’s Asylumspoitation SIR ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE’S SHERLOCK HOLMES, Katrina del Mar’s SURF GANG, Nikka Kalashkinova’s high-octane JUPITER LOVE…And those are just random, lesser-known indies from the last ten years.

I also have a stack of flicks that I’m surprised no one mentions when they talk about action directed by women, like Roberta Findlay’s 1985 THE TENEMANT:

Barbara Peeter’s 1971 biker flick BURY ME AN ANGEL:

Dorothy Ann Puzo’s COLD STEEL, and Czinzia Th Torrini’s HOTEL COLONIAL from 1988:

and Virginia Stone’s 1975 adventure TREASURE OF THE JAMAICA REEF (AKA EVIL IN THE DEEP) starring Cheryl Ladd:

And these are all before mentioning that really iconic 1970s exploitation/action flick TERMINAL ISLAND directed by the first woman Roger Corman ever hired to direct a film, Stephanie Rothman:

And, folks, I haven’t even started talking about the mainstream movies by Kathryn Bigelow and Mimi Leder yet! But let’s get to the point. This is supposed to be an article about women who have what it takes to direct the new EXPENDABLES sequel, insultingly titled EXPENDABELLES (which, director Lori Bowen points out, means they should retitle the first two films “EXPENDABALLS”). These directors have the career backgrounds and necessary experience to direct this movie. Of course they all have different styles and would bring completely different sets of skills, personalities, and style to the movies, so it is a matter of personal taste and preference as to whom would be the best woman for the job.

1) Lexi Alexander

Alexander is my first choice simply because I know she has a large fan base from her PUNISHER: WARZONE days and is actually able to choreograph her own fight sequences if need be. Her previous film GREEN STREET HOOLIGANS was what got her that job, actually, and it has numerous action sequences, tension, and won, like, 5,000,00000 awards. She also has a svelte sense of humor and doesn’t take herself too seriously, which I think is a prerequisite for directing something as stupid as THE EXPENDABELLES, right?

You can hear Lexi describe her experiences making PUNISHER: WARZONE on the great podcast HOW DID THIS GET MADE? which has endeared her to many a new fan.

2) Mimi Leder

Leder, you may or may not remember, directed the action/sci-fi blockbuster DEEP IMPACT and the action/thriller THE PEACEMAKER in the late 1990s. Leder also has a slew of crime/action TV series under her belt. Since then, she’s been considered for a few other action films like the remake of ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT, but so far has stuck to TV like recent episodes of SHAMELESS.

3) Lana Wachowski

Wachowski, as one of “the” Wachowskis, was one of the creators of the original MATRIX series. With SPEED RACER and CLOUD ATLAS also under her belt, and the new sci-fi extravaganza JUpITER ASCENDING in post production, Wachowski may be the perfect choice to direct EXPENDABELLES. Though she’s never directed ANYTHING alone without brother Andy. Is this even something she’d consider/be capable of doing alone?

4) Betty Thomas

No one ever mentions Betty Thomas when talking about potential directors for genre films and I am not sure why. Thomas mostly directs comedies, but her 2002 action/comedy I SPY teamed Owen Wilson with Eddie Murphy in a dynamic, if generic and predictable, black cop/white cop classic Hollywood action fest that was actually quite financially successful.

5) Catherine Hardwicke

Before she was TWILIGHT-ING and RED RIDING-it around Hollywood, Hardwicke impressed everyone with LORDS OF DOGTOWN, a gritty surfing-and-skateboarding action/thriller movie set in Santa Monica, California. She’s still one of the most sought-after directors around right now.

6) Michelle MacLaren

Michelle Maxwell McLaren first came on my radar with her horror/thriller feature POPULATION 436 in around 2006 or so. Since then, she’s directed some of the best episodes of BREAKING BAD, THE WALKING DEAD, and GAME OF THRONES.

In a recent article from Sept 13th, 2013 on ThinkProgress.org, writer Alyssa Rosenberg points out how weird it is that McLaren hasn’t been asked to direct a big-budget action feature for a studio:

That success has some writers, me among them, hoping that more mediums might have their shot at getting MacLaren-ified. As Alan Sepinwall wrote in his Breaking Bad recap on Sunday, “If Alan Taylor can use his work on ‘Sopranos,’ ‘Mad Men’ and ‘Game of Thrones to land a blockbuster movie job like the ‘Thor’ sequel, why can’t MacLaren (who’s also done impressive “Thrones” work) pull off the same jump? Tell me she’s directing a big-budget action movie, and my ticket is purchased within seconds. Hey, Hollywood: please watch the last 20 minutes of this episode — at the way she composes her shots, at the way she squeezes every possible bit of tension and emotion and despair out of the circumstances and her actors—and tell me she doesn’t have the chops.”

BuzzFeed’s Kate Aurthur asked MacLaren yesterday if she’d be interested, and her answer says a great deal about the rise of television in relation to film.

"Would I like to? If the right thing came along, absolutely,” she said. “I love television. Television is a great medium; I’m fortunate enough to direct amazing television. Would I like to do a feature? Absolutely. I will never leave television. Am I looking? Yes. I’m looking. Have I found anything? Not yet. I haven’t yet. I’d like to do both.”

That no movie studio has approached MacLaren for a project she’d be interested in, or expressed interest in her after she’s identified a project she’d like to work on, while more and more of television’s best shows are bringing her on board, is revealing. It’s not as if the television industry is vastly superior to movies when it comes to the employment of women behind the camera, but you’d think that someone with MacLaren’s resume would have found a high-profile movie project right now if she wants one. This isn’t even a case where Kathryn Bigelow could plausibly be treated as an exception to a rule, the one woman who can direct a compelling action sequence, much in the same way that Will Smith is treated like one of only a few black men who can open an action picture. If MacLaren can provide the visual grammar for television shows that draw millions of viewers, it would take some exceptional logic to argue that she suddenly wouldn’t be effective on a bigger screen.


6) Gwyneth Horder-Payton

SONS OF ANARCHY, THE WALKING DEAD, JUSTIFIED, THE SHIELD, and BATTLESTAR GALACTICA are just a few of the action TV series on which Horder-Payton has worked as a director. Alyssa Rosenberg, again, interviewed Horder-Payton for Indiewire, and it’s clear she has a passion for action and fight-scene choreography:

"I studied fight after fight after fight, famous movie fights, famous television fights, across the board, I went to YouTube and I looked at street fights," she explained. "And what's so interesting is that in 95 percent of the fights on-screen, the men barely sweat, or feel pain, or even feel anger. It's so interesting. They're so macho that it's all about landing the blows, selling the hit to the camera. You don't see the progression. And they never show fatigue. It's rare…So I thought, you know, as a woman, you know what I'm going to do? I'm going to bring sweat and progression of blood, and pain, and vulnerability."

7) Lesli Linka Glatter

Another prominent TV director, Linka Glatter’s recent work on THE WALKING DEAD (noticing a theme?), TRUE BLOOD, and HOMELAND make her a perfect candidate for a big-budget theatrical action movie. Seriously, if Tommy Wirkola can get one simply by making a low budget movie about zombies, surely directing big-budget high-profile TV series is a way to get on that list as well, right?

8) Lynne Ramsay

Ramsays’ recent walking out on the action western JANE GOT A GUN caused a slew of uproar in the entertainment media. People called her everything from unprofessional to petty to catty to brave when she left the production based on differences. But Ramsay was hired because her feature WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN blew many people away (horror fans hated it because, you know, not horror) with its eerie and emotional violence. The script so impressed star Tilda Swinton that she signed on as a producer long before the film went into production, and Ramsay’s collaboration with a high-profile movie star went swimmingly, to say the least.

9) Vicky Jewson

Jewson is a very young, indie director of whom you might not have heard, but she’s already directed two films, one of which is an action/thriller called BORN OF WAR (which is way better than Dead Snow or Troll Hunter, FYI, studio executives).

10) Tammi Sutton

Having begun in directing low budget horror films (you know, like everyone who once worked for Roger Corman) for Full Moon Productions, Sutton’s most recent movie is a British gangster/action flick called ISLE OF DOGS. The movie has a lot of thrilling twists and turns and some brutal, stylized violence that Guy Ritchie would enjoy.

11) Kelly Reichardt

The director of the solid western MEEK’S CUTOFF just finished her brand new thriller NIGHT MOVES, about environmentalists that blow up a dam in the name of saving the world (if this makes no sense to you, then you never read THE MONKEY WRENCH GANG and you are an uneducated heathen). The movie just screened at the Toronto International Film Festival and should be out in theaters in Spring of 2014. But what’s Reichardt’s next project going to be? If they want to snag her for EXPENDABELLES, now might be a good time.

12) Debra Granik

Granik’s WINTER’S BONE literally made Jennifer Lawrence a ginormous movie star. The grim and gritty modern thriller is about rural crime and violence in the Appalachian mountains of the Eastern United States. It won like 5,000 independent spirit awards. Granik, however, has not made a film since she released WINTER’S BONE, so what gives?

13) Karyn Kusama

Kusama directed the boxing movie GIRLFIGHT, which is what kind of launched her career. Then, she was hired on the AEON FLUX live-action feature, followed shortly thereafter by the Diablo Cody horror movie JENNIFER’S BODY. Now, I’m not putting her on this list because of JENNIFER’S BODY or AEON FLUX because, God Knows, I may as well just replace her with Kimberly Pierce if that’s my reasoning. No, the rationale is that Kusama is good at the action stuff, not the horror stuff, not the sci-fi stuff. The action stuff. Check out what make GIRLFIGHT so freaking good (and also made Michelle Rodriguez a giant action heroine):

14) Kathryn Bigelow

Yes yes, I know. She won’t do it. They’ve probably already begged her to do it. She won’t. Though, if you watch POINT BREAK, you know Bigelow would make a brilliant flick out of EXPENDABELLES. I wish I was Kathryn Bigelow.

15) Patty Jenkins

Jenkins was going to direct the sequel to THOR, but she backed out. Like many women on this list, she started by making a grisly, high-style indie flick (MONSTER with Charlize Theron) that won 9,0000 awards in 2003 when it came out. After backing out of the (probably shitty) THOR film, she’s done some TV (THE KILLING) but her slate looks pretty free at the moment. Time to swoop in?

16) Rachel Talalay

Talalay is best known for directing the 1990s GRRRRL power sci-fi action flick TANK GIRL. She dabbled in horror films, but found her home directing TV up in Canada (like all of them!). Talalay is something of a cult figure when it comes to genre film fans and horror movie aficionados, who often wish she’d direct something super action-y again.

17) Gurinder Chadha

The director of the shockingly popular action/drama/comedy/teen/coming-of-age/British/Indian/whatever film BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM really gets character development and storytelling. She also enjoys a bit of camp as evidenced by her Indian serial kill comedy IT’S A WONDERFUL AFTERLIFE. But this woman who knows how to direct the camera when women’s legs are kicking things is not even being mentioned for the directing role on EXPENDABELLES. Why?

18) Angela Robinson

The director of the all-female action/comedy D.E.B.S.’s first movie was CHICKULA: TEENAGE VAMPIRE, so I’m pretty sure she’s willing to overlook some of the inevitable camp and cheesiness in the script for EXPENDABELLES. She also directed HERBIE: FULLY LOADED and recently worked on the TV series version of CHARLIE’S ANGELS (who knew that was a thing?).

19) Jennifer Lynch

Lynch is working steadily now after a long hiatus after her first movie, BOXING HELENA. However, Lynch’s new films are startling superior to her first flick in tone, sophistication, and subject matter. SURVEILLANCE and CHAINED are just the first two in what appears to be a long line of new thrillers Lynch will be making from now on. Lynch also has quite a sense of humor. And she also has dreadlocks, did you know?

20) Deanne Foley

Deanne Foley, like Vicky Jewson, may not be on anyone’s radar yet. Foley directed the action/comedy BEAT DOWN about female wrestlers last year. Her next film is a Canadian comedy, but I’d hate to see the genre success of BEAT DOWN as an action movie be ignored for its comedic aspects instead, as comedy is something we have plenty of women doing right now.

You’ll notice some omissions from this list, so feel free to complain/suggest in the comments. I mean, I figured 20 was pretty good. I could probably come up with 100, so just be thankful I kept it short. I want to know what YOU think? Agree with my picks? Disagree? Have some more people to add?

All-Female EXPENDABELLES Should Be Directed By Lexi Alexander

So, have you been hearing the news floating around about this new all-female EXPENDABLES film called EXPENDABELLES? Yeah, I hate the name too. Anyway, it's being made as the third in the EXPENDABLES action film trilogy with actresses like Meryl Streep, Cameron Diaz, Milla Jovovich, and an entire roster of possible leading actresses. The script was penned by Karen McCullah Lutz and Kirsten Smith.

Producer Avi Lerner says the film is expected to shoot in 2014 in Bulgaria. The heroines will take on a villain in the small South-East Asian sovereignty of Brunei, one of the wealthiest countries on Earth. Lerner says, "The action movie will be spectacular – and in nothing inferior to the three male movies of the The Expendables."

Unleashthefanboy, Cinemablend, and CinemaJeuxactu all agree with me that the natural choice to direct is Lexi Alexander. Alexander has the action chops (PUNISHER: WARZONE, GREEN STREET HOOLIGANS, AIDANFX) to make this film happen AND, besides, we're using females as the theme, right? Why not have a female director? I mean, WHY NOT? There's Lexi Alexander, right there. Ask her to do it!

The Hollywood News reports that Alexander is already set to direct, but we know she isn't yet. In fact, she's waiting to see what happens next! Will the executives in charge be taking a meeting with her shortly? All the fans seem to be pushing for it! We'll keep you posted!

Lexi Alexander's Sci-Fi Action 'AidanFX' Hits The Big Screen

Lexi Alexander's action/sci webseries "AidanFX" has been optioned by producer Jan Fantl ("Beyond the Sea") for a theatrical version!

“Jan has a great reputation and an outstanding resume, especially in the Sci-Fi genre," says Alexander. "I am extremely excited to finally work with a colleague from back home and one with such prestige on top of it. I am, of course, crossing my fingers that production logistics will allow a Germany-based shoot, maybe even in one of the studios I toured as a child.”.

Fantl says, “It is a terrific time when talent can just turn an idea into reality and use the internet to present it to its audience. I was advised by a friend to check out the web series AIDAN F/X and instantly realized the ingredients for a theatrical production. With Lexi’s skills and willpower we should be looking forward to turn it into a fresh and young big screen event. In Germany? Let’s see, if it makes the utmost sense, sure.”


Lexi Alexander Talks "AidanFX", Fallen Heroes, and Her New Hong Kong Action Feature

Lexi Alexander, action director (“Green Street Hooligans” and “Punisher: Warzone”) has aligned her new action/sci-fi webseries with a company and a charity: Original SWAT boots are sponsoring the series and donating 20% of all their proceeds to GuideOn.org, which helps the children of fallen military heroes.

Opened originally for military personnel who have fallen in Iraq and Afghanistan, GuideOn now also helps the children of those those who have come back and committed suicide due to post traumatic stress disorcer.

“This has been really important to me,” says Lexi Alexander, the director of AidanFX. “Original Swat, I put those boots on The Punisher. This is a company that has already doen something called The Boots Campaign, and they hire veterans. GuideOn is one of their causes. The CEO thought this was a great idea.”

The young actors (Uriah Shelton,  Telana Lynum, Alexander Gould) in the series stomp around wearing the boots, which is kind of like a big commercial for OriginalSwat. In exchange, they donate proceeds to GuideOn.

“We just said we really want to make this and not just to say, ‘look how cool we are,’ but we wanted to really shine a light on a really good cause. And it worked out really well. Believe it or no,t these are really popular  boots and 20% of them is going to come up with a lot of money for GuideOn.”

Alexander decided to make her own webseries after having been hired to direct “Execution Style,” an episode of the “Anthony E. Zuiker Presents” anthology web series .

“What if I were to do something like that for myself?” Alexander asked. “And take one of the script idea that I have, but rather than do a pitch or a demo reel, actually create a web series and find someone who would be willing to invest and really make it much more about the cause.”

“AidanFX” is about a group of teenagers who play Airsoft, and who find themselves running from an alien invasion while still holding their airsoft guns. It’s a fast-paced, energetic, and PG-13 sci-fi series that is indicative of Alexander’s fondness for all things action.

“Ever since ‘Green Street [Hooligans]’, I never get to do anything with kids unless I do it on my own, which really bugs me. I am really a fan of the family movie, but exciting! Like ‘Super 8.’ I would love to do a ‘Super 8’ and this is kind of my version of it. I have had this pitch for a long time. Everyone has always said, ‘This is your best idea, Lexi. You really have to turn it into a feature film.’ So I was really excited about doing something like this. In an environment in which I have the freedom to do it as I want to. Now, the only thing is it is not as easy to do action on a limited budget. But you can be inventive. I think I have watched the first episode 100 times by bow. I kind of think it works in this medium.”

The action series will have five episodes this first season with a new one premiering every two weeks (So, May 30th, June 6th, June 20th, and July 1st, 2012) on Youtube. The last episode is “open ended”, but there are hints at a love triangle in season two. Will there be a season two?

“We are really hoping this opens the door for a second season, maybe a new sponsor, maybe original swats, maybe bring a couple of other companies in. Who knows? Frankly, before I do get involved in any kind of studio situation, I would just love to do another couple seasons independently.”

Alexander would definitely prefer to do things independently.

“As you may know,” she hints at “Punisher: Warzone”, “I didn’t have great studio experience. A studio has the power to get a movie seen. You can make a great independent movie…a few years ago I made a movie called “Lifted”, which is one of the most positively reviewed films on Netflix, I’ve been told. It really is one of those films people love, but the distribution wasn’t there. That’s what you get with a studio.”

She goes on to explain why a bad experience with a studio isn’t necessarily uncommon, or the end of the world: “Guillermo del Toro, who is one of my favorite directors, you think he has one of the most blessed careers on the planet. But then you hear him talk about 'Mimic' and you realize how close he was to never working in Hollywood again. I’m kind of thinking, you learn it, you understand it, you learn you need a strong producer who really stands behind you, you learn that there are just certain things you shouldn’t argue about, and there are certain things you have no control over, For example, a release date.”

As far as how webseries are becoming more viable ways to create and distribute content to fans, “I think it would really allow the market to open for ideas people want that maybe the gatekeepers in Hollywood haven’t allowed through.”

Alexander’s next film is an action movie, a martial arts film called “Without Limits” starring Peter Davis, a real MMA fighter who is also a model:

“It’s totally bizarre,” comments Alexander on how great a fighter AND good looking Davis is. “But he reminds me of Brandon Lee; he’s gorgeous, he’s a great martial artist. And they’ve asked me if I want to come out to Hong Kong and direct this action movie. I don’t know if you know this, but they barely ask Western men to come out to direct, let alone a woman, so I had to say yes! Before I even read the script, I was like, yes I’m coming.”


Lexi Alexander's 'AidanFX' – Aliens Battle Airsoft Players

Lexi Alexander ("Green Street Hooligans",  "Punisher: War Zone") is directing a new webseries called "AidanFX" – about a sports team who play something called "airsoft" who also battle aliens.

WTF is "airsoft"? I looked it up on Wikipedia, which says:

Airsoft is a sport in which participants shoot round non-metallic pellets launched via replica firearms.

I'm not trying to be pessimistic, but that airsoft team doesn't really stand a good chance against an alien invasion, what with the replica guns and eeny pellets, and all.

That's all the info there is on the webseries! To find out more you have to watch the first episode, embedded below for your enjoyment.

 "AidanFX" stars Uriah Shelton,  Telana Lynum, and Alexander Gould and premiered today on Youtube:

Lexi Alexander Explains "Punisher II" on "How Did This Get Made?"

Not many people think that Lexi Alexander's Punisher sequel, "Warzone," was very good. And it wasn't. On the radio show "How Did This Get Made?", Lexi is joined by several hosts and comedian Patton Oswalt to descibe how the heck "Warzone" got past the various stages of development and into shooting and finally, into our theaters.

Alexander weighs in on  unfortunate timing, poor marketing, and mixed expectations (as well as Freddie Prinze Junior's audition. ?) You can listen to the radio show here.