What Kind of Planet Are We On?

Varda Hardy

How did you get into directing?
When I was six years old on holiday in Israel, I peeked through the window of a beachside motel room and discovered the giant glowing faces of a man and a woman kissing. This “vision” was Claude Lelouch’s A Man and a Woman playing on an adjacent drive-in movie screen. It was a magical moment. That’s when I decided I wanted to make movies. I’ve made short films since I was in elementary school. Eventually, I got into script supervising which opened up opportunities for me to learn from some truly remarkable directors. I stopped script supervising and leaped wholeheartedly into directing. Since then, I have written and directed award-winning branded content, web series, online video campaigns, and viral videos. I’ve discovered that combining an artist’s vision with a brand’s influence and power can result in truly creative and meaningful work.

What is your most recent project?
I co-wrote and directed a series of videos for MZA Events’ “Rock for Equality” campaign. One of the videos, “What Kind Of Planet Are We On?” went viral after receiving a “best innovation in video” award from YouTube.

What is the best part of being a director?
I really enjoy the early stages of visioning a project: facing that incredible challenge of how to realize a story so it’s fresh, truthful and resonates on an emotional level. I truly love collaborating with my cast and crew to create work larger than all of us.

Have you a mentor and if so, who is that person (or persons)
and what has been the lesson learned from that mentoring which resonates most with you?

Experimental filmmaker Gunver Nelson taught me to look at the frame as a palette of shades and colors as well as for its content. My co-writer Patrick S. Bennett taught me how important it is to be rigorously creative from start to finish. Director Rocky Morton inspired me to focus singularly on the shot at hand, to be unreasonable when necessary, and to remember to play.

Who is your favorite director and why?
I am in awe and indebted to those directors who have been able to create movies that are, in fact, works of art. When I was studying filmmaking, I was especially excited by the way Nicholas Roeg’s work consistently evoked a mysterious and vibrant reality that extended well beyond the frame.

What is your favorite movie? Your favorite commercial?
The Misfits, A Man Who Fell To Earth, Dog Day Afternoon, Picnic At Hanging Rock, Knife in the Water, A Clockwork Orange, Bladerunner, Being There, Never Cry Wolf, Breaking the Waves, Tu Mama Tambien, Talk To Her, The Matrix, Ice Storm, Magnolia, Slumdog Millionaire. Some favorite commercials: Apple’s “1984,” Motorola’s “Wings,” IKEA’s “Lamp,”, Guinness’ “Surfer,” Apple’s “Think Different,” Johnny Walker’s “Human,” Levi’s “First Time”

Tell use about your background (i.e. Where did you grow up? Past jobs?)
I was born in London and spent my first nine years living between Israel and England. I moved to the United States when I was 10. I have always made art. My first job was as a mime in a store window. I practice Zen Buddhism. I am grateful to all the people who support my filmmaking especially my husband Patrick and our daughters Paloma and Raven.