Gregg Araki’s cult classic The Doom Generation premiered at the 1995 Sundance Film Festival, the acting debut of Rose McGowan. It seems very fitting that she is returning to Park City for her directorial debut Dawn, which is screening in the Shorts Competition at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. Dawn follows a quiet young teenager who longs for something or someone to free her sheltered life.
Best known for her roles in “Charmed“, Planet Terror/Death Proof, and “Nip/Tuck“, McGowan has had a solid career as an actress. But she soon found that she wasn’t quite satisfied with simply acting, and decided it was time to go behind the camera. “I’m not sure why I haven’t directed before,” explained McGowan. “I’m a cinephile, amateur film historian, and a designer–I live and breathe film—all the things that go into being a director. Instead of just being in someone else’s world, I wanted to create my own world.”
For her first project, McGowan was planning to direct a story by Flannery O’Connor but lost the rights at the last minute. Her old friend Josh (who hooked her up with her first job as an extra on a film in Seattle when she was 14) came up with a story with his writing partner, Mark Fortin.
“Josh said, ‘It’s time.’ I told them what I wanted the last line to be, and they wrote the story. And it was done.”
I asked McGowan what surprised her the most about directing. Without hesitation she replied, “That I wasn’t nervous or scared. I kept waiting for that feeling to happen and it never did. With acting, I have always been scared up until they call ‘action’. And I still am when acting today. I still am. But not with directing.”
For a list of screening times for Dawn and other festival films, visit the Sundance 2014 official site.