Canadian actress-turned-filmmaker Marianne Farley‘s latest critically acclaimed short film Marguerite received multiple accolades across the globe before scoring an Oscar nomination for Best Live Action Short. Weeks before Farley took the red carpet for the 91st Academy Awards, she invited S/ to Montreal for an exclusive look at her fitting with stylist Stacy L. Troke and shed light on future projects, who inspires her, and what it means to be a flourishing female director in the film community.
Tell us your creative process for your film. Where did the inspiration for Marguerite come from?
“Marguerite is the story of an elderly woman and her caregiver who bond despite having had polar opposite life experiences. Their relationship takes a dramatic turn when Rachel (the nurse) tells Marguerite that she has a girlfriend. That revelation shocks Marguerite at first but it slowly opens her up to the changing times and inspires her to unearth unacknowledged longing. They find a way to connect deeply and learn from each other. It is a film about regret, love, kindness, and desire. I was inspired to write Marguerite when I came to realize the advantage I had to have been born at a time (and in a country) that allows me to be who I am and love who I want. I wasn’t raised in a house where there were any taboos about sexuality or women’s rights. But for my grandmother and the generation she was born into, it was quite different. They were raised to believe that women should marry and have children and that their primary focus was to make their husband happy. The women’s needs, desires, and aspirations were of no importance. I wanted to write a story about a woman who breaks free from the shackles, the rules, and conditioning that society has imposed on her, even if only for one moment.”
What does it mean to you as the only female director amongst the nominees for Best Live Action Short?
“I am extremely proud to be representing women in this category but also disappointed that only one out of five films is female driven. Although things are slow to change, I am convinced that parity will soon be a common thing in the industry. I truly believe that there is a shift happening when it comes to women in film. Our time is coming.”
Who do you admire in the film community? Are you looking forward to meeting anyone on the red carpet?
“I admire so many actors and directors. In the actors’ category, I would say Viggo Mortensen, Cate Blanchett, and Adam Driver. In the directors’ category, I would say Andrea Arnold, Lynne Ramsay, and Paul T. Anderson.”
Can you describe your approach to red carpet dressing?
“*laughs* I don’t really have an approach to red carpet dressing. I think that I have to feel classy with a bit of an edge. I also absolutely need to feel comfortable. Definitely comfort before glam, even though I do like a little bit of glam once in a while.”
What is the next step for you? Can you reveal details on future films or projects you are working on?
“I have a feature film in development (North of Albany, co-written by Claude Brie and co-produced by Benoit Beaulieu) and another short film in the works (Seize, produced by Charlotte Beaudoin-Poisson and Sophie Ricard-Harvey). Hopefully, both will be shot this year. I also co-produced a feature film that will be coming out this year (Les Nôtres, directed by Jeanne Leblanc and co-produced by Benoit Beaulieu). I play one of the lead roles alongside Émilie Bierre, Judith Baribeau and Paul Doucet.”
Stylist Stacy Troke shares her inspiration for Marianne’s red carpet moment.
What was your inspiration behind Marianne Farley’s red carpet look? Can you tell us a little bit about the process of finding the right dress?
“Marianne had a custom dress made by Maria Karimi, a really fabulous couture designer in Montreal. I had worked with her in the past and I knew she would be perfect for this occasion. We did a few sketches, explored a few colours and fabric options. What we came up with in the end is the perfect dress for Marianne that everyone was happy with. It was a very collaborative process! I also styled Marianne for all of her events leading up to the Oscars which was really fun. It’s so rewarding for me to share with clients how the right clothing can make them feel powerful.”
Can you share your go-to brands for red carpet events?
“I obviously like to work with Canadian designers but it really depends on the person, their body shape, their taste, etc. In the past, I’ve had great success with Greta Constantine, Gabriela Hearst, and Maria Karimi.”
What is your golden rule for red carpet dressing?
“It’s really a collaborative process and the person I am dressing has to feel comfortable. I want the person to wear the look, not the look to wear the person. I think that’s a golden rule to follow on and off the red carpet, to really know yourself.”