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The New Hollywood North: Deborah Chow

The Mandalorian director on her big break, her favourite films and what movie she’d make with $1 billion

The New Hollywood North: Deborah Chow

Known for: The Mandalorian, a Star Wars spin-off series

First filmmaking experience: “When I was in my final year at McGill, I made a short based on the 1920 German silent horror film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.”

Why you decided to become a director: “I’ve always gravitated toward books and storytelling. And, at McGill, I studied art history. I feel like filmmaking combined those things.”

Your big break: “A few years ago, I took a meeting with Lucasfilm, not knowing what it was about. That’s when I was offered to direct The Mandalorian.”

Something every young director should know: “The only thing you need is a passion for storytelling.”

Desert island movie: “One of Akira Kurosawa’s films, perhaps Seven Samurai. There’s such strong storytelling—they’re classic.”

Movie you’ve watched the most times: “Probably the Star Wars prequels. I’ve had to rewatch them for my work on The Mandalorian and Obi-Wan Kenobi.”

Favourite director: “Kurosawa. He’s a powerful storyteller.”

Most memorable celebrity interaction: “Zach Braff. I worked with him on my first feature, The High Cost of Living. He was really lovely.”

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Favourite cinema snack: “Popcorn.”

Toughest part about directing: “There’s never enough time to get everything done in a day.”

One simple fix that would improve the film industry in Canada: “I’d love to see filmmakers take more risks, even if what they’re making is different or weird.”

Someone gives you a $1-billion budget. What movie do you make? “An original fantasy or sci-fi film. Definitely something visual and world-building.”

Would you rather win an Oscar for best director or direct the highest grossing film of all time? “Best director. At the end of the day, as a director, you’re really focused on the craft.”

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Your next project:Obi-Wan Kenobi, which recently started streaming on Disney Plus.”

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