Emily Carmichael (filmmaker)

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Emily Carmichael
Born New York City, New York, United States
Nationality American
Alma mater Harvard University (BA)
New York University (MFA)
Occupation Film director, writer, animator
Years active 2008–present

Emily Carmichael is an American film director, screenwriter, and animator.[1] Her short films have screened in competition at Sundance, Tribeca, SXSW, Slamdance, and other US and International film festivals.[2] Carmichael co-wrote the screenplay for the science fiction sequel Pacific Rim: Uprising, and is set to direct the film adaptation of Lumberjanes at 20th Century Fox.[3][4]

Early life[edit]

Carmichael was born in New York City and is a 2000 graduate of Stuyvesant High School.[5] In 1999 she published two essays, "Fight Girl Power" and "Acid Torches of Doom", in the book Ophelia Speaks, an anthology of works by adolescent girls which spent eighteen weeks on The New York Times Best Seller List.[6] Salon's review singled out "Fight Girl Power" as the best of the collection praising fifteen-year-old Carmichael's essay as a "sophisticated, painful, and amusing meditation on girl power."[7]

She graduated from Harvard University in 2004 with a dual BA degree in Literature and Visual and Environmental Studies.[8][9]

During her time at Harvard she wrote and directed two full-length plays and three short plays at the Loeb Experimental Theater and the Adams House Pool Theater.[10] Her comic strip Whiz Kids, which originated in her high school newspaper, ran in The Crimson over two years.[11] Seth MacFarlane, reviewing student comics for Noise magazine, commended its execution, structure, and "Doonesbury rhythm".[12] The citation for Carmichael's David McCord Prize—an undergraduate honor awarded by Harvard houses for excellence in the arts—referred to her as "...an artistic phenomenon. Or perhaps more accurately...a bizarre frightening mutant artistic freak."[13][14]

She graduated from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts with an MFA in Film in 2012.[15] In her final year she was a finalist for Tisch's Wasserman Award.[16]


The first season of Carmichael's animated web series The Adventures of Ledo and Ix premiered on Penny Arcade on February 18, 2011 and ran for eight episodes.[17] The first and then second episodes initially premiered as stand alone short films at the 2009 and 2010 Slamdance Film Festival.[18] The first episode was also included in a 2009 online issue of the Wholphin.[19] The series won a Rooftop Filmmaker's Fund Short Film Grant in 2010 and the first three episodes played as part of the Rooftop Film Festival's Summer Series.[20][21] After a successful Kickstarter campaign on January 28, 2013, production began on the series' second season.[22]

In a review of the series for Gamemoir, Sara Clemens writes "Ledo and Ix are the best game characters you’ve never played, and while it’s true viewing them on the small screen strips away the interactivity that propelled my early adventures on the NES and SNES, watching them interact with each other and various villagers gets to the heart of what made early RPGs so special."[23]

Her spin-off animated short, RPG OKC, premiered at the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival where it was nominated for Best Narrative Short.[24][25] RPG OKC won Best Short at the 22nd Philadelphia Film Festival and Audience Favorite at the 2014 Science Fiction Fantasy Short Film Festival.[26][27] Indiewire called it one of the top ten unsung films of 2013 and film critic Eric Kohn touted it as deserving of Oscar consideration in the animated short film category.[28][29] It was subsequently distributed by the online film showcase MADATOMS.COM.[30][31]

Carmichael's short film The Ghost and Us, starring Maria Dizzia, premiered at the 2009 Cinevegas Film Festival and won Best Short at Project Twenty1's Philadelphia Film-A-Thon.[32] It screened throughout North America and Europe in 2011 as part of the Viscera Film Festival, a touring horror film festival for women filmmakers.[33] During the tour Carmichael won Best Screenplay and Best Comedic Horror Short.[34][35]

Her short film The Hunter and the Swan Discuss Their Meeting premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival and was aired in the first episode of the KQED television series Film School Shorts.[36][37] The film won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2012 Science Fiction Fantasy Short Film Festival, third prize at the 2012 First Run Film Festival, and a Student Grant from the National Board of Review.[38][39][40] Filmmaker, in a review of Sundance shorts, called the film "sweet, beautiful, clever, and fun" and "magic and original".[41]

Her short films have played commercial theatrical runs in venues including the Brooklyn Academy of Music (The Adventures of Ledo and Ix/The Hunter and the Swan Discuss Their Meeting), Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center (That's My Majesty), IFC Center (The Hunter and the Swan Discuss Their Meeting/RPG OKC), and the Anthology Film Archives (The Ghost and Us).[42][43][44][45][46][47]

Carmichael's feature-length screenplay, Arrow, was named to NYU's 2013 Purple List of best production-ready screenplays by a panel of judges that included Peter Dinklage, Karyn Kusama, and James Belfer.[48] Arrow was also selected by IFP as one of its twenty-five Emerging Narratives for the 34th Edition of Independent Film Week in 2012.[49] In March 2014, Carmichael reported having completed the filming of a short, Stryka, based on characters in her Arrow screenplay starring Rupert Friend and Aimee Mullins.[50] Stryka premiered at the 2015 Aspen Shortsfest.[51]

Filmmaker called her one of the 25 New Faces of Independent Film in its 2013 Summer issue.[52] That same year Fox Digital Studio optioned Carmichael's screenplay The Licking County Giants.[53]

In 2015, she joined Time Warner's artist incubator, OneFifty, to create content for HBO, Warner Brothers, and Turner.[54]

In May 2016, Amblin Entertainment announced it had signed Carmichael to write and direct the film Powerhouse, based on an original story by Colin Trevorrow, to be produced by Trevorrow, Steven Spielberg, and Simon Kinberg.[55][56] On February 21, 2018, Trevorrow announced in his Twitter account that he and Carmichael would be writing the script for Jurassic World 3.


  1. ^ Planke, Mike. (May 18, 2009) Emily Carmichael Interview[permanent dead link]. Cinevegas Blog. Retrieved April 30, 2013.
  2. ^ Sondhi, Jason. (February 4, 2011) Q&A with Sundance Filmmaker Emily Carmichael. Short of the Week. Retrieved May 1, 2013.
  3. ^ Newitz, Annalee. (July 20, 2016) This Short Got Its Indie Director a Job Writing the New Pacific Rim Movie. Ars Technica. Retrieved July 21, 2016.
  4. ^ Gonzalez, Umberto. (August 10, 2016) "Emily Carmichael to Direct 'Lumberjanes' for Fox (Exclusive)". The Wrap. Retrieved August 11, 2016.
  5. ^ Emily Carmichael. KQED Blog. Retrieved May 1, 2013.
  6. ^ Opehlia Speaks. NPR Talk of the Nation. (May 6, 1999). Retrieved May 1, 2013.
  7. ^ Quart, Alissa (September 16, 1999). "Sells Like Teen Spirit". Salon. Retrieved May 6, 2013.
  8. ^ Potier, Beth (December 12, 2002). "Is That a Puppet I See Before Me?" Archived 2016-03-04 at the Wayback Machine.. Harvard Gazette. Retrieved April 30, 2013.
  9. ^ High, Emily S. (April 11, 2003). Spotlight: Emily J. Carmichael. The Harvard Crimson. Retrieved April 30, 2013.
  10. ^ Harvard Theater Database Archived 2011-05-19 at the Wayback Machine.. Retrieved May 1, 2013.
  11. ^ "Programmer's Note: 2011 Sundance Film Festival" (January 6, 2011). Youtube. Retrieved August 24, 2013.
  12. ^ "Long Before Hosting Oscars, Seth MacFarlane Thought My Cartoon Was Pretty Cool" (February 23, 2013). Kid Can Drive Blog. Retrieved August 24, 2013
  13. ^ MacNeil, Lela Scott (January 19, 2011). "Live From Sundance". Rooftop Films Blog. Retrieved August 24, 2013.
  14. ^ "Harvard University Faculty of Arts and Sciences Prize Office: Prize Descriptions". Harvard University. Retrieved August 24, 2013.
  15. ^ Sherman, Miranda. (May 24, 2012). 2012 Film Graduates Archived 2013-06-26 at Archive.is. Cine City. Retrieved May 1, 2013.
  16. ^ Jones, Kiara C. (April 2, 2012). "2012 Wasserman Finalist Announced" Archived 2013-08-24 at Archive.is. Cine City. Retrieved August 24, 2013.
  17. ^ Suzuki, Summer. (January 6, 2011). "Penny Arcade TV Showcases 'The Adventures of Ledo and Ix'". Fandomania. Retrieved April 30, 2013.
  18. ^ Wayne, Teddy. (May 5, 2011). "Interview with Sundance Filmmaker Emily Carmichael". Huffington Post. Retrieved May 1, 2013.
  19. ^ "Film: The Adventures of Ledo and Ix". Wholphin. Retrieved May 1, 2013.
  20. ^ MacNeil, Lela Scott (June 4, 2010). "Filmmaker Interview: Ledo and Ix Go to Town". Rooftop Films Blog. Retrieved May 2, 2013.
  21. ^ "The Next Generation" Archived 2016-03-24 at the Wayback Machine. (October 7, 2010). New York Press. Retrieved May 2, 2013.
  22. ^ GC Interviews: Emily Carmichael Gaming Chronicles (February 5, 2013). Retrieved April 30, 2013.
  23. ^ Clemens, Sara (August 13, 2013). "If These Sprites Could Talk: Stories in 8-BITS" Archived 2016-04-13 at the Wayback Machine.. Gamemoir. Retrieved April 24, 2016.
  24. ^ Dawson, Nick (March 11, 2013). "Tribeca Film Festival Shorts Program Announced". Filmmaker Magazine. Retrieved April 30, 2013.
  25. ^ "Awards for RPG OKC. IMDB. Retrieved August 24, 2013.
  26. ^ Drue, Cyndy (October 26, 2013). "Award Winners of the 22nd Philadelphia Film Festival" Archived 2013-11-01 at the Wayback Machine.. WMGK. Retrieved October 30, 2013.
  27. ^ "Science Fiction + Fantasy Short Film Festival 2014" Archived 2014-02-22 at the Wayback Machine. (January 12, 2014). EMP Museum. Retrieved February 16, 2014.
  28. ^ Kohn, Eric (December 24, 2013). "Critic's Picks: 10 Movies That Deserved More Attention in 2013." Indiewire. Retrieved February 16, 2014.
  29. ^ Kohn, Eric (February 3, 2014). "Are These the Best Short Films of 2013? Reviewing the Most Offbeat Oscar Nominees." Indiewire. Retrieved February 16, 2014.
  30. ^ "RPG OKC: Part 1" (May 1, 2013). Madatoms. Retrieved May 2, 2013.
  31. ^ Hickey, Jr., Patrick (April 25, 2013). "Review Fix Exclusive 2013 Tribeca Film Festival Coverage: Interview With ‘RPG OKC’ Director Emily Carmichael". Review Fix. Retrieved May 2, 2013.
  32. ^ "Filmmaker Interviews: Part 3" (April 14, 2010). The Ticket Stubs. Retrieved April 30, 2013.
  33. ^ Dart, Allan (April 28, 2011). "Viscera Film Festival Reveals 2011 Lineup". Fangoria. Retrieved May 1, 2013.
  34. ^ "Short Films Honored in Vancouver Archived 2012-02-10 at the Wayback Machine.". (January 19, 2012). Stranger With My Face. Retrieved June 14, 2014.
  35. ^ Sipos, Thomas M. (September 20, 2011). "Ghosts, Demons Whoop Zombies, Serial Killers at 2011 Tabloid Witch Awards". Hollywood Investigator. Retrieved June 14, 2014.
  36. ^ "New Series Film School Shorts Brings Award-Winning Films to Public Television". KQED Pressroom. Retrieved May 1, 2013,
  37. ^ Wiegand, David (April 13, 2013). "'Film School Shorts' Review: Future Greats". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved May 3, 2013.
  39. ^ Fox, Adrienne (February 15, 2012). "Geek About Town: Science Fiction and Fantasy Short Film Festival". Geek Girl Con. Retrieved May 8, 2013.
  40. ^ "Student Grant Awardees 2012" Archived 2013-01-16 at the Wayback Machine.. National Board of Review. Retrieved May 11, 2013.
  41. ^ Maurino, Marc (August 4, 2011). "A Day at the Sundance Shortslab". Filmmaker Magazine. Retrieved June 14, 2014.
  42. ^ "Enchanted Brooklyn: Fairytale Films" (May 9, 2011). The Brooklyn Arts Council. Retrieved May 10, 2013.
  43. ^ "Young Love at the Pioneer Theater" (August 14, 2008). Kid Can Drive Blog. Retrieved May 10, 2013.
  44. ^ Lewis, Anne S. (March 16, 2009). "SXSW Film Review: Reel Shorts 1". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved May 10, 2013.
  45. ^ "Sundance Theatrical and VOD Releases Planned" (January 5, 2011). Movie City News. Retrieved May 10, 2013.
  46. ^ "Event Calendar" Archived 2013-11-01 at the Wayback Machine. (September 24, 2009). Planet Fury. Retrieved May 10, 2013.
  47. ^ Dawson, Nick (September 27, 2013). "'25 New Faces' Screening Next Wednesday at NYC's IFC Center". Filmmaker Magazine. Retrieved October 30, 2013.
  48. ^ Dawson, Nick (March 14, 2013). "Second Annual NYU Purple List Announced". Filmmaker Magazine. Retrieved May 1, 2013.
  49. ^ Cox, Gordon (August 10, 2012). "IFP Sets Film Week Details". Variety. Retrieved August 4, 2013.
  50. ^ "Rainbow Brite with Emily Carmichael" (March 1, 2014). Breakfast Quest Podcast. Retrieved June 14, 2014.
  51. ^ "Ones to Watch at Aspen Shortsfest" (April 7, 2015). Aspen Times. Retrieved April 13, 2015.
  52. ^ Bernstein, Paula. (July 18, 2013) "Filmmaker Magazine Names 2013's '25 New Faces of Independent Film'". Indiewire. Retrieved July 18, 2013.
  53. ^ Salovaara, Sarah (July 21, 2013). "25 New Faces of Independent Film". Filmmaker Magazine. Retrieved August 24, 2013.
  54. ^ Irving, Ashley. (February 26, 2015) Time Warner Spotlights OneFifty, a New Incubator for Fresh Storytelling. Time Warner Blog. Retrieved May 15, 2016.
  55. ^ Kroll, Justin. (May 17, 2016). "Steven Spielberg, Colin Trevorrow Reteam on Family Action Movie 'Powerhouse'". Variety. Retrieved June 20, 2016.
  56. ^ Calvario, Liz. (May 18, 2016). "Emily Carmichael to Write and Direct 'Powerhouse'; Steven Spielberg and Colin Trevorrow Producing". IndieWire. Retrieved June 20, 2016.

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