Anna East Biller
Kalihi, Hawaii, United States
|Known for||Feminist Films|
Anna Biller is an independent American filmmaker who has directed two feature films. Biller considers herself a feminist filmmaker, and consciously explores feminist themes throughout her work, including an attempt to insert the female gaze into cinema.
Biller was born in Kalihi, Hawaii to a Japanese-American mother who is a fashion designer and a white father who is a visual artist, and then raised in Los Angeles. She grew up watching her mother design clothes, watching her father paint with a bright color palette, and watching classic cinema, all of which has had a big influence on her filmmaking practice. She has a B.A. in art from UCLA and an MFA in art and film from the California Institute of the Arts, where she studied under Morgan Fisher and Paul McCarthy. She started making 8mm films while she was living in New York, and when she arrived at CalArts, those films were received better than her other artwork, so she decided to focus on that for her MFA.
At the beginning of her career, Biller was known for her short films and staged musicals, which played with old Hollywood genres and tropes from the 1930s-'50s, and her performance art that explored slapstick and camp. She made her first short film, Three Examples of Myself as Queen while studying at CalArts. The process took about two years because she preferred to make the film more like an artist than a filmmaker, which meant she filled most of the crew positions herself; she still uses this approach today. In the film, Biller plays Pointsettia, a teenager who turns into a princess and has the power to transform men into dogs. The film screened at small venues and film festivals. Lane Relyea of Artforum International wrote "the film's humor and graceful perplexity may not have caused any sudden shifts in the local fault lines but did crack a glorious smile on this audience member's face." John Hartl of the Seattle Times called it a "bizarre, Warholian musical fantasy."
In 2001, she directed two short films: The Hypnotist, a melodrama written by her frequent collaborator Jared Sanford, and A Visit from the Incubus, a Western horror musical. A Visit from the Incubus tells the story of a woman who is raped by an incubus, and decides to get back at him by challenging him to a singing competition. Robert Nott of The Santa Fe New Mexican called it a "must-see".
Her 2007 debut feature film, Viva, tells the story of a bored housewife who goes out in search of sexual adventure in the 1970s. It premiered at the International Film Festival Rotterdam, and won the Best of Fest Award at the Boston Underground Film Festival. The film was also entered into the main competition at the 29th Moscow International Film Festival. Reason magazine called Viva an "uncannily precise rendition of the look, sound, mood, and arch dialogue" of seventies sexploitation films, with "high-key, pseudo-Technicolor lighting and spare, colorful set design." Viva had a very limited theatrical release, and received poor ticket sales.
Biller's second feature film, The Love Witch, premiered in 2016 at the International Film Festival Rotterdam. The film is a twist on classic serial killer films, featuring a woman who kills through calculated sexuality and "love magic", causing her male victims to fall too much in love. Richard Brody of The New Yorker said of The Love Witch, "Biller puts genre to the test of do-it-yourself artistry, and puts feminist ideology itself to the test of style. The film pulsates with furious creative energy throughout, sparking excitement and giddy amazement that it even exists." In May 2016, The Love Witch was acquired for distribution by Oscilloscope Laboratories. The Love Witch was included in many lists for the best films of 2016, including those of The New Yorker and Indiewire. It won in a tie for the Trailblazer Award and Best Costume Design at the Chicago Independent Film Critics Circle Awards, and also won the Michael Cimino Best Film Award at the American Independent Film Awards.
|1994||Three Examples of Myself as Queen||Short film||Director, producer, writer, editor, production designer, costume designer, actor|
|1998||Fairy Ballet||Short film||Director, producer, writer, editor, production designer, costume designer, actor, composer|
|2001||The Hypnotist||Short film||Director, producer, writer, editor, production designer, costume designer|
|2001||A Visit from the Incubus||Short film||Director, producer, writer, editor, production designer, costume designer, actress, composer|
|2007||Viva||Feature film||Director, producer, writer, editor, production designer, costume designer, actress, composer|
|2016||The Love Witch||Feature film||Director, producer, writer, editor, production designer, costume designer, composer|
- "The Love Witch Is a Seductive Revenge Movie for the Heartbroken".
- "Female Gaze: Lana Del Rey, I Love Dick, And The Love Witch".
- "Revealing 'Viva' - Isle filmmakers bring the story of a bored housewife's sexual exploration to life". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Hawaii. 24 October 2008. Features section. Retrieved 15 August 2018 – via online NewsBank. (Subscription required (help)).
- "L.A.-Bred Filmmaker Anna Biller Made a Witchy Retro Masterpiece That Straight Guys Will Misread".
- "Les Biller: Rosamund Felson Gallery".
- "Birth.Movies.Interview.: Writer/Director Anna Biller On THE LOVE WITCH".
- "About Anna Biller".
- "Calendar". Deerfield Review. Illinois. 29 October 2009. Entertainment section. Retrieved 15 August 2018 – via online NewsBank. (Subscription required (help)).
- Klorfein, Jason (31 January 2010). ""Myself as Queen": A Profile and Interview with Anna Biller". Bright Lights Film Journal. Archived from the original on 4 August 2018.
- French, Philip (17 May 2009). "Review: Critics: Other films: Anyone for another helping of papal bull? The Da Vinci Code sequel is all very well, says Philip French, but for a real treat, catch Eric Cantona instead: Angels & Demons (140 mins, 12A) Directed by Ron Howard ; starring Tom Hanks, Ewan McGregor, Ayelet Zurer, Stellan Skarsgard, Armin Mueller-Stahl". Observer. London. p. 15. Retrieved 3 August 2018 – via Infotrac Newsstand. (Subscription required (help)).
- Gorfinkel, Elena (2011). ""Dated Sexuality": Anna Biller's Viva and the Retrospective Life of Sexploitation Cinema". Camera Obscura. 26 (3 78): 95–135. doi:10.1215/02705346-1415443. Retrieved 3 August 2018.
- Bale, Theodore (13 September 2003). "DANCE REVIEW - Performance artist Pierce needs to leggo her Ego". Boston Herald. p. 34. Retrieved 15 August 2018 – via online NewsBank. (Subscription required (help)).
- "Best & worst: 1994". Artforum International. December 1994. p. 64+. Retrieved 3 August 2018 – via General OneFile. (Subscription required (help)).
- Hartl, John (17 September 1995). "Asian-American Film Fest Rivals 1994 with Roster of Not-to-be-missed Movies". The Seattle Times. p. M4. Retrieved 15 August 2018 – via online NewsBank. (Subscription required (help)).
- Nott, Robert (29 November 2002). "THE NEW WEST". Santa Fe New Mexican. p. 65. Retrieved 3 August 2018 – via General OneFile. (Subscription required (help)).
- Modenessi, Jennifer (9 Feb 2007). "IndieFest ventures back to the East Bay - Aspiring filmmakers welcome Q&A sessions; film fans just want to watch as many as they can". Contra Costa Times. Walnut Creek, CA. p. f3. Retrieved 15 August 2018 – via online NewsBank. (Subscription required (help)).
- "29th Moscow International Film Festival (2007)". MIFF. Archived from the original on 2013-04-21. Retrieved 2013-04-22.
- "Win Free Sex! The never-ending charm of sexual revolution nostalgia".
- "'The Love Witch' (2016): Serial Killing Meets Sexual Politics in Occult Thriller".
- Brody, Richard. "The State of Independent Film in 2016". The New Yorker.
- "Oscilloscope Laboratories Picks Up Anna Biller's Spellbinding 'The Love Witch' – Exclusive". Indiewire.
- "The Best Movies of 2016". The New Yorker.
- "The 25 Best Movie Moments of 2016, According to IndieWire Critic David Ehrlich". Indiewire.
- "Top Chicago Critics Circle awards go to 'Moonlight,' 'La La Land'".
- "'Krisha' Sweeps the Inaugural American Independent Film Awards".
- Patterson, John (2 March 2017). "The Love Witch director Anna Biller: 'I'm in conversation with the pornography all around us'". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 September 2018.
- Kurutz, Steven (7 November 2012). "Robert Greene on Renovating Like a Master" – via NYTimes.com.
- Anna Biller's official website
- Anna Biller on IMDb
- Anna Biller's Twitter Account: https://twitter.com/missannabiller?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor
- Anna Biller's Blog: http://annabillersblog.blogspot.com
- Los Angeles Times interview
- Bright Lights Film Journal profile and interview
- Interview on The Love Witch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_x4awb_fS84
- Interview on The Love Witch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PpeB7UsZOPU
- Interview on The Love Witch: https://film.avclub.com/director-anna-biller-on-the-radical-pleasures-and-subve-1798259618
- Interview on Viva: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-aq6WbxuwR4
- Films and Lists on MUBI: https://mubi.com/cast/anna-biller
- Interview on Classic Cinema: https://www.publicbooks.org/anna-biller-on-classic-films-and-twitter-feminisms/