Liesl Tommy is the kind of creator and film director that we need to hear more about. She’s conquered Broadway, transformed the stories we know like the back of our hands into something modern, and is set to tell the story of Trevor Noah in the feature film Born a Crime. She’s a stand out, a visionary, and our next #FemaleFilmmakerFriday profile!
1. Liesl is an award winning director breaking barrier & winning those awards.
Liesl is a multi-award winning stage director who has garnered six Tony Award nominations for her work. Yes, you read that right. SIX! She also became the first African-American female director to have received a best directing nomination at the Tony Awards for Eclipsed, written by The Walking Dead star Danai Gurira.
2. Liesl is known for being racially inclusive in her work.
Liesl reinvisions classics based on her life experiences and the communities that she spends time in. That’s why Frozen the Musical had a man of color as the love interest and why classics like Les Miserables are given modern day twists that not only speak to our generation but confront our woes, fears, and everything in between.
3. Liesl believes that actors should drive every piece she works on.
Liesl’s brand of directing might not be like others and its what makes her stand out. Instead of being on her actors like white on rice, she lets her actors become fully immersed in the characters they are playing. Because to her, she wants the directors hand to be an invisible force or helping to help actors who feel like the characters are theirs.
4. Liesl directed the first ever all-female-cast written.
Not only was Eclipsed, written by The Walking Dead‘s Danai Gurira, the first ever all-female cast written on Broadway. It was also the first ever all-female cast directed by a female on Broadway. Keeping in mind the way that she lets actors drive every piece she works on and the fact that Lupita Nyong’o stars in this play, you know you’re in for a hell of a ride!
5. Liesl is a female filmmaker.
Now, take everything we’ve told you about Liesl Tommy and think about what that means for Born a Crime by Trevor Noah. This autobiographical take on Noah’s life is now in the hands of Tommy and will start Lupita Nyong’o. This right here is a woman reaching new heights, telling a story she can relate to, while opening the door to the women that come after her. Now that is a woman, a female filmmaker, everyone should know about.
Know any other female filmmakers you think should be featured for our #FemaleFilmmakerFridays series? Let us know in the comments below!