COMPAÑERAS
THE FILMTHE MAKING OFTHE FILMMAKERSTALKBACK
Around Independent Lens

The Filmmakers

From Co-Director/Producer Elizabeth Massie:

I hope people who see COMPAÑERAS are as enthralled by the music as Matthew and me. As a result, I hope it greatly expands the popularity of mariachi music, bringing it to new audiences. I also hope that it provides a more candid, nuanced view of American women as artists, workers and mothers, that it encourages women to seek out ways to pursue their artistic passions in spite of their professional and family commitments and that it fosters a deeper respect for the way in which women pursue multiple priorities.

From Director Matthew Buzzell:

I hope that it will hip audiences unfamiliar with mariachi music to its stirring emotional possibilities. And, ultimately, I hope it will lead to continued success for the ladies of Mariachi Reyna de Los Angeles.

Their three favorite films:

Liz:

Tender Mercies
Lawrence of Arabia
The Black Stallion

Matthew:

I have to list five!

Chinatown
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
From Russia With Love
Zabriskie Point
The Little Fugitive

Their advice for aspiring filmmakers:

Liz:

Make sure you have an idea you can love for five years. Once you start, you’ll decide to give up at least 10 times. Just know that and keep going. It will one day be finished and it will always have been worth the effort, no matter what.

Matthew:

Make your films personal and personally.

Their most inspirational food for making independent film:

Liz:

Mexican, of course! The guacamole at the restaurant where the band performs is made at your table and is the most delicious I’ve ever had.

Matthew:

In the case of this particular film, it was chicken flautas and tequila frio!

Bios

Elizabeth Massie
Co-Director/Producer

Elizabeth Massie is a documentary producer, director and writer. Over the past seven years, she has written and produced shows for more than 35 non-fiction television series, including the top-rated History Channel series, Cities of the Underworld; Lock Up: Inside America’s Prisons for MSNBC; A Face for Yulce for TLC (winner of Freddie, Hugo and CINE Golden Eagle awards); On The Inside for Discovery; Lifetime’s Final Justice with Erin Brockovich and many others.

She co-wrote and co-produced Out of the Shadow, a feature documentary about a woman’s lifelong battle with schizophrenia and the mental health system. The film was aired on PBS affiliates nationwide and was featured in People magazine. She also was the writer for Emmanuel’s Gift, a feature doc narrated by Oprah Winfrey which tells the inspirational story of Emmanuel Yeboah, a disabled cyclist from Ghana. The film received the 2006 Media Access Award for Outstanding Documentary.

Massie founded CHC Productions with partner Matthew Buzzell in 1999 to create provocative documentaries about complex social topics, with a special focus on women’s issues. Their first film, Who Cares About Girls?, was selected by the Council on Foundations as one of the 10 best foundation-funded films of 2000. This film explores the impact of media culture on the self-esteem of pre-teen and teenage girls. Their next film, What A Girl Wants, delves more deeply into these issues, and was featured on Oprah in 2002.

Massie holds a MFA in directing from the American Film Institute.

Matthew Buzzell
Director

Matthew Buzzell earned his MFA in Direction from the American Film Institute in 1999. His thesis film, 6 and a Half, received The Martin Ritt Foundation Award and Buzzell was honored as conservatory’s 1999 Director of the Year. In 2001, he collaborated with filmmakers Elizabeth Massie and Jacob Bricca on the Teresa Heinz Foundation-commissioned documentary What A Girl Wants.

After winning a number of film festivals, Buzzell's feature-length portrait of a jazz vocal legend, JIMMY SCOTT: If You Only Knew, received its broadcast premiere on Independent Lens in 2004, winning the Audience Award.

In 2006, two of Buzzell’s films premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. Tell Me Do You Miss Me chronicles the bittersweet final bows of the critically acclaimed NYC indie-rock band Luna as they mount their farewell world tour. Putting The River In Reverse documents the historic collaboration between music legends Elvis Costello and Allen Toussaint as they embark on the first major recording sessions to take place in New Orleans in the weeks post-Hurricane Katrina.

In 2007, Buzzell created a number of promotional films, electronic press kits and music videos for artists including Diana Krall, Joe Henry and Bad Religion. He is developing a number of new projects in both the documentary and narrative arenas.

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