Meet Etta Devine
Written by Annette Palmer
“I’ve never had a shortage of ideas or willingness to jump into something with both feet.” – Etta Devine
Devine’s background is in theater, but she always wanted to move into film and television. With a “if I don’t do it, no one else will attitude,” Devine has lent her talents to writing, directing and acting. Best known for her portrayal of Mary Olson in GIRLS NIGHT OUT, the short film that garnered over 1.3 million hits on YouTube, and inspired the web series MARY OLSON.
After playing a small role in FREAKSHOW, directed by Drew Bell in 2007, Devine starred in Emily Lou’s, THE SELLING later that same year. Then in 2016, she partnered with Gabriel Diani to produce and act in the critically acclaimed DIANI AND DEVINE MEET THE APOCALYPSE.
“…[T]he film’s sneaky, borderline low-key genius is due to the fact that Gabriel Diani and Etta Devine are that rarest of comedy commodities: a perfect team.” – The Austin Chronicle
Devine has also lent her talents to many characters at the Antaeus Theater Company, doing multiple voices for the cartoon BEE AND PUPPYCAT as well as, Greta/Angie in TOP GIRLS, Phyllis in PEACE IN OUR TIME, and Ismene in the LEGEND OF OEDIPUS with Getty Villa.
Although her career has spanned far and wide, Devine recognizes that when she is with Diani, “everyone assumes he’s the director even when we are both introduced as directors. This can even happen on set. He’ll get asked, ‘was that ok for you?’ and I’ll either answer really loud or let it go because I’m thinking about the shot…” Devine is often forced to juggle directing and institutional sexism, which she admits can be difficult.
However, not all of the industry is blind to women. Devine notes that there are many organizations, such as the Geena Davis Foundation that is doing an amazing job with conquering these preconceived notions. Although, there has definitely been a lot of talk on the subject, Devine doesn’t feel words have achieved the desired results. “I think we need to look at other social justice movements and see what has worked there.” She wonders if it’s time to seriously consider pressuring studios and production companies, “…asking them to commit to a percentage of episodes being directed by women…” Despite the issues that women still face in the industry, Devine is both hopeful and optimistic.
Her advice to up and coming women in the industry is to “create your own work.” She thinks working with people who want to be there for you, and work with you is key, as well as, comparing notes with other people who are doing what you’re doing. Many times, life feels like a big race, but Devine is quick to point out, “we’re not each other’s competition, we’re all in the show.”
Currently, Devine is attending film festivals for DIANI & DEVINE MEET THE APOCALYPSE, and hopes for a 2017 release date.