with the ‘Suffragette’ Team
by Susan Kouguell
At a private screening at the Director Guild of America Theatre in New York City on October 10, Academy Award nominee Alison Owen (producer), Golden Globe Award nominee Faye Ward (producer), BAFTA Award winning director Sarah Gavron and Emmy-Award winner screenwriter Abi Morganspoke, following the screening of their new film “Suffragette.”
The four women met when working together on the 2007 film “Brick Lane,” and soon after began discussing making a film on the suffragette movement and the women’s fight to win the right to vote in Britain a century ago.
“Suffragette” centers on Maud, a working wife and mother, who is secretly recruited to join the U.K.’s growing Suffragette movement. Galvanized by the outlaw fugitive Emmeline Pankhurst, Maud becomes an activist for the cause alongside women from all walks of life. When increasingly aggressive police action forces Maud and her dedicated fellow Suffragettes underground, they engage in a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse with the authorities, who are shocked as the women’s civil disobedience escalates and sparks debate across the nation.
MORGAN: “ I had done a number of biopics before and it’s so hard to squeeze in a whole life –it’s so difficult; you’re trying to find a prism.”
GAVRON: “Maud, a fictional character, played by Carey Mulligan, was a composite character based on three women we read accounts on.”
MORGAN: “We wanted to capture the moment when the suffragettes move from pacifism to activism and as a result there were four of five amazing historical events, such as the Night of Broken Panes. Then we started reading about the testimonies of the working women and that’s when it profoundly changed for me.”
OWEN: “The subject of the film was less fashionable when we started out with the project six years ago. It’s a sexy subject now. As we were preparing during the past year for the release of “Suffragette,” suddenly Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, Emma Watson and others were and saying, ‘I’m a feminist’ and they were making it a sexy subject — which is great.”