The Amazing Manashil: Meet Director Liz Manashil
“I persevere because of the satisfaction and pride I feel each time I finish a new project.” – Liz Manashil
Liz Manashil was inspired to become a filmmaker as a teen when she saw STOLEN KISSES by Francois Truffaut when she was in high school. She’s been following her passion ever since. Growing up in the 90’s, Manashil’s exposure to Indie films was crucial in what attracted her to filmmaking and influences her style to this day. “I have a lot of love and adoration for a very specific type of filmmaking… the DIY auteurs who stop at nothing in order to make their film.”
Her first feature film was BREAD AND BUTTER (2015) starring Christine Weatherup, Lauren Lapkus, SNL’s Bobby Moynihan and former NYFA guest speaker Micah Hauptman. It won Best Feature Film in the Big Apple Film Festival and the Naperville Independent Film Festival, where Manashil also won the award for Best Director. Other awards include the Platinum Award for Best Romantic Comedy from Houston WorldFest, Best Comedy from SENE, and part of Best of the Fest at Minneapolis St Paul International Film Festival. After playing over a dozen film festivals it was acquired and distributed by The Orchard later in 2015.
“An absolute must-watch for women everywhere.” – HelloGiggles
Regarding the obstacles that women filmmakers face Manashil says, “I haven’t faced much discrimination because I control all the purse strings of all my projects.” She does admit “it’s frustrating that I don’t have representation.” Still, she won’t let that stop her from making her second feature with full creative control, in the hopes of making a third, a fourth, a fifth and onward.
Commercial and episodic directing might sound appealing to some, but for Manashil, it would be mean quitting her day job at Sundance Institute’s Creative Distribution Initiative, which she also loves. “I”m mainly interested in working on micro budget features that I write. I’m an odd duck. I want women to get more opportunities though and I think a lot of that is creating those opportunities for yourself.” Micro budget filmmaking allows her, “to bypass gatekeepers and make content you can feel proud of from beginning to end.” Manashil enjoys being her own boss and treats her filmmaking much like a business, crediting networking as one way for new opportunities to come along. However, her advice to those who do want to pursue a more commercial route would be to apply for shadowing experiences, fellowships, and to go further down the representation route.
“BREAD AND BUTTER is the rare film that tackles female sexuality head-on.” – Bustle
Manashil believes that anyone seeking a career in filmmaking should write, produce, and “have more control so you can be less reliant on others.” She encourages filmmakers to not be coy and instead, “Ask for the help you need…from the teammates you want to work with.” If that doesn’t bring the support you want, she encourages filmmakers to “do whatever the task is yourself, until you find the right teammate.” She also reminds them to not forget about the importance of social media and crowdfunding. Manashil stresses, “Go to your community and ask for help. People want to be heroes.”
Looking forward to a big year ahead, Manashil has a new short that’s about to start on the festival circuit and is set to begin shooting her second feature SPEED OF LIFE in the Spring of 2018.
Follow along on Twitter at @LizManashil for updates on all her upcoming projects and @SpeedOfLifeMV for news on her second feature. Check out more at LizManashil.com