Episode Eighty-Three: Directing with Varda Hardy
As we near the end of the production season we circle back to the topic of directing. Varda Hardy started in this industry as a script supervisor and worked steadily until she made the switch to directing five years ago. Varda recently won $100,000 for her 1 minute film about Los Angeles for the On Location: The Los Angeles Video Project. Varda’s Kickstarter campaign for her new documentary Big Voice is the focus of this month’s Support from Start to Finish feature this month.
Varda Hardy- Writer/Director/Producer
I was born in London, England. A year after I was born, my parents moved to Israel where my father served in the army. My mother is South African and my father is Romanian. He had moved to Israel to escape the communist take-over of his native land. My mother was on holiday in Israel when she fell instantly in love with the young soldier–my father. I fell in love with “the movies” one summer night in Israel when I caught sight of A Man and A Woman screening at a drive-in theater nearby my window.
Following six years in Israel, my mother brought my older sister and I back to England where we remained for several years until we moved to San Francisco. It was in San Francisco that I started to make my own 8mm movies with a camera my 8th grade English teacher Mr. Mohan lent to me. He believed that there is different kind of learners and some people learn best by making things…like movies. He was right about me. I love to make things, especially movies. I lose myself in the creative process, the germs of ideas bubbling up like and catching on fire like lava rising from the mysterious inner earth.
Following San Francisco came a short stay in Los Angeles and then we were off to the “big apple”. I went to High School at Dalton New York City, where I fell in love with dance and theater. Then I went to Cornell University where I re-discovered my passion for filmmaking under the tutelage of Cultural Anthropology Professor Robert Asher. Like Mr. Mohan, Prof. Asher believed in alternative forms of learning and expression. He encouraged me to pick up an old super-8 camera to create a report instead of writing it. I went to NYU for a semester where a screening of Nicolas Roeg’s Don’t Look Now got under my skin. That’s when I knew I would pursue directing.
I studied directing at Cornell University, received my MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute, worked as an assistant director and then script supervisor of numerous film projects both for television and theatrical until about five years ago when I shifted into directing. My husband Patrick S. Bennett and I are enjoying raising two lovely daughters Paloma and Raven, the rest is icing on the cake.