Jen McGowan

Jen McGowan

Highest Rated: 100% Half the Picture (2018)

Lowest Rated: 71% Kelly & Cal (2014)

Birthday: Not Available

Birthplace: Washington, D.C., USA

When Jen McGowan premiered her debut feature "Kelly & Cal" at Austin's 2014 South by Southwest Film Festival (SXSW), critics were quick to point out her deft handling of tone, the tender, openhearted nature of the suburbia-set dramedy, and the right-as-rain lead performance from cult actress Juliette Lewis. "Lewis shines in what feels like a tailor-made leading role," said one critic about the central character, a new mother and former punk rocker who engages in an emotionally complex relationship with the wheelchair-bound teenage boy next door, "nailing every delicate shift in Kelly's insecurity over marriage and motherhood" (Variety, March 2014). This was not McGowan's first rave, however, as the former actress was no neophyte to the film festival circuit. Raised in Fairfax, Virginia, McGowan's path to the director's chair started in front of the camera. While studying film New York University's Tisch School of the Arts (Class of 1997), she trained as an actor at the prestigious Atlantic Theater Company under the tutelage of playwrights David Mamet and Sam Shepard and Oscar-nominated actor William H. Macy. Within a couple years, McGowan "found the life of being an actor very unrewarding," and soon recognized her true calling was in directing. McGowan made industry connections working at a number of New York City-based production companies including Killer Films, Propaganda Films and Quentin Tarantino's A Band Apart and filled up her resume with production assistant and assistant director gigs, most notably Kimberly Peirce's "Boys Don't Cry" (1999), she directed her first short film with 2001's "She Never." Soon thereafter, she was accepted into the MFA program at the University of Southern California in 2002, and with the support of a scholarship from Women in Film, she directed her second short, the high school comedy "Confessions of a Late Bloomer." The film played at over 60 festivals including the Cannes Short Film Corner in France. With her third short film "Touch," about two lonely people who connect at a subway stop, McGowan finally attained the acclaim she deserved and finished up a run with 23 distinct awards from 75 film festivals around the globe. Itching to break into the big leagues, McGowan participated in the USC program First Team, which connected alumni to nurture potential feature films. There, she met first-time writer Amy Lowe Starbin, who handed her an unfinished draft of "Kelly & Cal," McGowan saw great potential in Starbin's work, and after developing the screenplay for a year and spending another looking for financing, they started rolling on what McGowan described as "coming-of-age story for a woman in her late thirties." Starring Juliette Lewis, Jonny Weston and Josh Hopkins, the movie premiered at SXSW, where it earned McGowan the first annual Gamechanger Award for Women Filmmakers.

Highest Rated Movies

Filmography

Movies

Credit
100% 70% Half the Picture Herself (Character) $21.6K 2018
84% 66% Rust Creek Director - 2018
71% 53% Kelly & Cal Director $5.4K 2014
No Score Yet No Score Yet Touch Director - 2010

TV

Credit
No Score Yet 49% The Twilight Zone Director 2020

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