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Weekly Director Profile: 3 Generations' Gaby Dellal

By Elizabeth MacLeod | Film | May 5, 2017 |

By Elizabeth MacLeod | Film | May 5, 2017 |

I am still constantly amazed at the range and diversity of filmographies of directors, even those whose names aren’t as well known as the Scorseses and Coppolas of the industry. Every Friday I plan to profile the filmography of a director who has a film being released over the weekend. Some directors will be mainstream, some will be prestige and some will be indie, with my goal being to raise awareness of directors and their body of work. You never know what cinematic gems and connections one may find. First up is Gaby Dellal, whose film 3 Generations is being released May 5th, 2017.

Gaby Dellal is a British filmmaker, writer and actress, born in 1961 in London. She was previously married to Working Title Films producer Eric Fellner (The Theory of Everything, The Danish Girl). While 3 Generations is her highest profile feature thus far, Dellal’s filmography spans a broad spectrum of work.

Dellal first started out as an actress in the mid-1980s, with roles in Ken McMullen’s award winning film Zina (1985) and television miniseries Floodtide (1985). She played the role of Stenographer in Zina, which told the story of Leon Trotsky’s daughter, Zinaida Volkova. Domiziana Giordana (Interview with a Vampire) played Zinaida and Ian McKellan (Gods and Monsters) also co-starred. Floodtide followed Detective Inspector Brook’s (John Benfield) pursuit of a group of cocaine smugglers across Europe and his attempt to bring them to justice. Dellal played the daughter of Inspector Brook’s murdered friend.

Fast forward to the late 1990s, where Dellal directed and wrote one was one of the nine short films of Tube Tales (1999). The collection was based on the real-life experiences of London Underground passengers that were submitted to Time Out magazine. Dellal’s short was Rosebud, starring a young Rachel Weisz (The Constant Gardner), where a mother is separated from her daughter and experiences agonizing panic as she searches for her, while her little girl discovers a surreal wonderland.

Her feature film debut On a Clear Day (2005) starred Peter Mullan (Top of the Lake, Quarry) as a depressed engineer who formerly worked in the shipyards on the River Clyde, who while on a ‘booze cruise’ with his friends decides to swim the English Channel. The film won two BAFTA Scotland Awards for Best Film and Best Screenplay.

Dellal’s following film was the American-Canadian independent drama Angels Crest (2011). Starring Thomas Dekker (Village of the Damned) and Elizabeth McGovern (Downton Abbey) and adapted from the titular novel by Leslie Schwartz, the film delves into the disappearance of a three-year-old boy that tears apart a tightly knit community. Her following directorial project was the ITV miniseries drama Leaving (2012), about the illicit affair between a middle-aged woman and young man working in the same hotel. The forbidden romantic duo were played by Helen McCrory (The Queen, Penny Dreadful) and Callum Turner (Green Room, recently cast New Scamander’s brother in the Fantastic Beasts franchise).

3 Generations, starring Elle Fanning (The Neon Demon), Naomi Watts (Mulholland Drive) and Susan Sarandon (The Client) as an intergenerational family in New York City undergoing changes, is a well-meaning but tone-deaf attempt to explore and address transgender issues. Dellal’s next feature film is The Family Remains, following three estranged American siblings who travel to Ireland to scatter their mother’s ashes, as per her final wish. Stephen Dorff (Blade, Immortals) is set to star.