Director Rachel Talalay has comes a long way from her start as John Waters production assistant on 1981’s Polyester. Fresh out of Yale, the still green recent grad got a crash course in filmmaking under the tutelage of the Pope of Trash so many years.
Since then, Talalay has racked up a pretty impressive resume over the years, including credits on Doctor Who, Sherlock, Freddy’s Dead and the cult hit Tank Girl.
Now over 25 years later, Talalay receives the Inspiration Award at the Etheria FIlm Night at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood.
The Etheria Film Night, which focuses on female directors of genre films, created to Inspiration Award to honor industry vets who women filmmakers. Past recipients for the award have included B-movie queen Jackie Kong, Hugo Award winner Jane Espenson, helmer Lexi Alexander and Roger Corman protege Stephanie Rothman.
On hand to present the award was Tank Girl herself, Lori Petty.
“We are here to honor the director of Tank Girl, Rachel Talalay. She is also the director of a zillion movies and television shows, from Freddy’s Dead to Sherlock to Doctor Who to that one movie…that classic movie…the one with the pretty girl,” joked Petty.
“Now, in 1995, not a lot of people got it. But guess what? Rachel made a lot of people sit up. She got it. I got it. You got it. So that is all the people that we needed in 1995. But now it is called a called a cult classic, but just called it a motherfucker before it’s time. Which if you are an artist, that is what you are…period.”
“I have never worked on a film where I had that much fun as I had on that movie,” continued Petty. “In the freezer. In the heat. In the desert. With burning tires. Falling off the tires and getting run over. Jumping off the semi because they didn’t tell me it was rigged and I thought we were going to go off the cliff. But she had my back every single fucking day. And that’s what you need to need to make art.”
Then in a special surprise message, John Water’s himself appeared on the bigscreen in a special message to Talalay to congratulated the helmer on a job well done.
“The Etheria Film Festival…Any event that has Girls & Corpses Magazine as a sponsor seems prestigous to me,” said Waters. “This event is described as ‘Only Hell Has Better Movies,’ well, let me be the first to plunge down and worship.”
“Tank Girl really proved Rachel’s directorial chops. This riot grrrl can kick ass! She clawed her way up from New Line and ended up producing my Hairspray movie and still had the nerve to whisper to me after a take that I was acting to nilly playing an evil psychiatrist…in MY OWN FILM!,” yelled Waters. “She followed that by producing my first big budget film Cry Baby for Imagine Films and survived Johnny Depp’s insane groupies, Joey Heatherton talking to her purse like it was a real person and a publicist from the studio who got busted for heroin in the middle of a shoot.”
“She’s kicked the glass ceiling in TV and film right from the beginning. Rachel Talalay. She’s my Wonder Woman. The computer nerd who was definitely was heard. A budget buster who can make a dollar holler.”
After much praise, Talalay took to the stage to accept the award and talk about the industry and creating genre films.
“I love genre and what women do with it. Because it is absolute subversiveness. It is subverting the narrative and radicalizing it. It’s ripping the guts out of the cliches. It’s telling the stories we are told not to tell and doing it in the the most perverse ways by the most creative ways. In short, it’s amazing,” said Talalay. “And dammit, women rock it. Because we have a lot of establishment to bite.”
“There it a lot that needs changing. Women of genre understand that our filmmaking is one way to do that. We can get in there and tack the old boys club and the tropes and the cliches. We can talk control of our own stories.