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[VIDEO] From Indie to Blockbuster: Lumberjanes Director, Emily Carmichael

It's a new video series, y'all!

We love us some female directors around here, and it struck us that while there is still a huge disparity between the numbers of men and women given the opportunity to direct mainstream Hollywood films, there are some female directors coming up from the independent film world that are (very, very slowly) being given the chance to direct major studio projects. And because we’re all about shouting-out talented women, we’ll be talking about them in a brand-new video series, From Indie to Blockbuster!

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Our first From Indie to Blockbuster video will help you get to know Pacific Rim 2 co-writer and director of the upcoming Lumberjanes film, Emily Carmichael, a whole lot better. I walk you through her early career, as well as the amazing short films she’s created (and won awards for!) recently that will show you exactly why she’s the perfect choice to take on our favorite scouts. Give the video above a watch!

And for those of you who can’t watch a video right now, there’s a video transcript below for all your quiet content consumption needs. We’ve also created an Emily Carmichael playlist at The Mary Sue’s YouTube channel, so that you can watch some of her awesome work for yourselves!


Welcome to From Indie to Blockbuster, where we shine a spotlight on female directors making the jump from short films and indie darlings to big studio fare.

Emily Carmichael is a 34-year-old writer, director, and animator from New York. While she’s not yet a household name, you may have heard that she was the co-writer on the screenplay for Pacific Rim 2, as well as the director chosen to take on the upcoming live-action film adaptation of Lumberjanes for Fox.

So, how did Carmichael seemingly come out of nowhere to land these huge opportunities? Well, like most “overnight success” stories, hers was years in the making.

Carmichael is really smart. You’d have to be to attend New York City’s Stuyvesent High School followed by earning a BA from Harvard University, then an MFA in film from NYU. Throughout high school and college, she honed her storytelling creating the webcomic Whiz Kids, which started in her high school newspaper, and was eventually continued in The Crimson at Harvard.

Her first short film, 2009’s The Ghost and Us, won Best Screenplay and Best Comedic Horror Short at the Viscera Film Festival.

Then, she began focusing on animation. First came two seasons of The Adventures of Ledo and Ix, which premiered on Penny Arcade in 2011, and a spin-off called RPG OKC, both focusing on adorable and snarky 16-bit RPG characters.

However, she really started getting attention thanks to her two most recent short films, both of which you can find online (along with her animated stuff) at her production company website Her comedic magical romance The Hunter and the Swan Discuss Their Meeting was an official selection at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, while her sci-fi short film Stryka, which was adapted from her feature-length screenplay Arrow, premiered at the 2015 Aspen Shortsfest.

It was these short films that eventually landed her a spot in Time Warner’s artist incubator, OneFifty, Pacific Rim 2, Lumberjanes, and the chance to write and direct a film called Powerhouse for Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment.

Taken together, Carmichael’s work is a seamless blend of magic, weirdness, earnestness, and snark. Whether animated or live-action, and no matter what the genre, her work is hopeful about things like friendship and love while keeping its tongue firmly in-cheek and the sarcasm levels set to high. It’s likely this sensibility that made her the perfect choice for Lumberjanes, a story that requires a facility with magical stories, the desire to take the friendships of young girls seriously, and a snark-tastic sense of humor. We can’t wait to see our favorite scouts in her hands!

(music used in video by Joakim Karud, featured image via Jen Maler)

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Teresa Jusino
Teresa Jusino (she/her) is a native New Yorker and a proud Puerto Rican, Jewish, bisexual woman with ADHD. She's been writing professionally since 2010 and was a former TMS assistant editor from 2015-18. Now, she's back as a contributing writer. When not writing about pop culture, she's writing screenplays and is the creator of your future favorite genre show. Teresa lives in L.A. with her brilliant wife. Her other great loves include: Star Trek, The Last of Us, anything by Brian K. Vaughan, and her Level 5 android Paladin named Lal.

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