Chicago women film and television directors have fought their way into the national spotlight in recent years, and that momentum is stronger than ever. Jennifer Reeder is now one of the most sought-after directors in horror. Samantha Bailey is directing the highly anticipated Marvel Studios series Ironheart. Clare Cooney recently wrapped her feature film debut after a parade of festival-winning short films. McKenzie Chinn earned a seat at the Sundance Screenwriters Lab and is poised to film her feature debut in the new year. There are many more women to name, and there is a new addition to this esteemed list. Britt Boardman makes her television directorial debut in the new season of HBO Max series South Side, and she graciously stopped by SCREEN to share her inspiring journey to the director’s chair.
SCREEN: Thanks for stopping by, Britt! First things first, what will viewers – both new and die-hard – enjoy about this brand-new season of South Side?
BRITT: The upcoming season will feature so many returns of the characters you loved from the first two seasons, and some new. Simon, K, Keisha, Stacy, Jay-Mal, Allen Gayle, Goodnight, Turner, everyone is back! We also have some top-secret guest stars that you’ll love, and of course a lot of ridiculous rent-to-own furniture not getting rented-to-own.
Here is your first look at the new season of the show, and you can click here to watch the all-new season, now streaming on HBO Max:
SCREEN: Tell us about your very unique and inspiring journey to your directorial debut with South Side?
BRITT: I started out on South Side as their Script Supervisor, so I was in charge of on-set continuity [Editor’s Note: Britt’s past Script Supervisor credits include Empire, Patriot, and Parks and Recreation]. Inherent in that position is the ability to edit scenes in your head as you film, so no mistakes or bloopers are made and you are able to help the Director get the shots they need. With that background, the EPs and I felt I was qualified to move up and become a director. Throughout filming the first two seasons, I got really close with my bosses, the Showrunners and Creators of the show, Bashir Salahuddin, Sultan Salahuddin, Diallo Riddle and EP/director Michael Blieden. Through both our work relationships and friendship, they grew to trust me and were supportive in giving me the chance to move up.
I feel very lucky and now I’m South Side’s first lady director! My whole South Side family – cast and crew – have been so kind and supportive in my promotion. Also, having a comedy background and a lot of hustle definitely helped.
Here are some behind-the-scenes photos (courtesy of Britt and George Burns Photography)…
SCREEN: Can you tell us a bit more about that comedy background and your path into the television world?
BRITT: I grew up in Northwestern Indiana in a town called La Porte. It’s just outside of Chicago, so naturally I traveled to the city a lot. While I was in middle and high school, I would travel to Chicago on weekends to study comedy at Second City. I got a B.A. at Purdue and, immediately after, moved to Chicago to start work as a Production Assistant on film sets and worked my way up from there.
SCREEN: Britt, what does this directorial debut mean to you in your filmmaking career?
BRITT: I think it’s truly special to have the ability to tell stories and create as a profession. With so many terrible things happening in the world, I feel it’s so important to give people an escape from reality. To allow everyone a chance to laugh and share art and relate to other humans. Being a director has given me more of a platform to share my love of comedy and just create. My goal in life from day one was to get paid to laugh, and here we are!
Before we wrap up, here are a few more photos from Britt’s directorial debut effort (courtesy of Britt and George Burns Photography)…
SCREEN: Final question! What advice would you give to other aspiring filmmakers trying to find their way into that television director’s chair?
BRITT: I can’t even count the number of times I’ve felt discouraged on my journey to direct. If you’re feeling the same way on your journey, please don’t give up. Move up, boss up. Life is a rollercoaster.
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