The Auteur Tribe
Founded by Tawny Foskett, The Auteur Tribe produces and collaborates in the making of art and media that is off the beaten path. We are filmmakers, playwrights, actors, dancers, writers, photographers and more. We are artists who collaborate on projects we’re inspired by and have a strong, visionary authorship of the projects we initiate. (Scroll below to read my thoughts on the naming of The Auteur Tribe)
One recent example, is the forming of WICA (women in the collaborative arts). When Tawny returned to California's north coast, summer of 2018, she reached out to fellow leaders in the community, who also make film, but also go beyond film into other performing arts, and WICA was born. Now that we are more than a year into WICA, the founders; Tawny, Maria, Laura and Cassandra, have moved forward with keeping this as an informal gathering we use to support and encourage each other, but we come together several times a year to produce events that include and encourage our fellow creators, here in northern Humboldt County. We can be found on Instagram as WICA Films.
Director/producer/editor, Tawny Foskett, began studying and making films in 2001, following a decade of studying and working as an actor and dancer. Her 7 shorts include the award-winning, Girls Who Smoke, which played many festivals around the US, Canada and Europe. She holds an MFA in Film Production from Concordia University in Montreal and studied narrative directing in Melbourne, Australia at the VCA School of Film and Television. She’s taught film production at Humboldt State University and workshops, along with cinematographer, Sanne Kurz, at the HFF in Munich. Her current short film, Natasha & Sam (a version of her feature-in-development of the same name) is beginning the festival circuit in 2021. She’s also in production on a documentary feature entitled, A Member of the Precariat.
I make narrative films and documentaries about women who come to find their own truths as they negotiate difficult socio-economic circumstances, class divisions, and expectations about sexuality. Women searching for themselves—whether on actual journeys, traveling in faraway lands, or staying put in familiar places—this is the subject I explore as a filmmaker. These are women and girls who, in the process of becoming the main characters in their own lives, are first only important for whom they are to others.
My approach is informed by a reliance on ingenuity using the materials available. I often blend both feminist social commentary with an experimental style and semi-fiction neo realism.
I’m interested in bringing to life the alchemical potential of these varied, vital, authentic stories of female outsiders and sharing them with art-house audiences around the globe.
Thoughts on the word: Tribe
I want to acknowledge that I’ve thought a lot about my having the word “tribe” in my website/(& company) name for some time. (Company is in parenthesis because I have yet to officially become an LLC, which is on the to-do list and waiting for the funding- hopefully 2021 will be the year for that!)
So, because I am a news junkie, I have become aware that the word “tribe” and “tribal” is most often used in a negative sense these days, to illustrate how divided we are as citizens and how we are holding firm in our beliefs and stuck in confirmation bias. I agree this has been happening and is problematic.
I chose the word “tribe” to be part of my (pseudo) company name (someday to be an official company name) for the following reasons:
Firstly, I love coming up with names, and I also believe in the power and importance of naming. Like many artists, I have changed my own name (unofficially still as well but to become official in time too!) from Tawnya to Tawny, because I feel it represents me more authentically. I spent a wonderful evening with my aunt and mentor, drinking more than one bottle of wine, to land on Girls Who Smoke as the title of my earlier film, even though I wanted to use the word “women” instead of “girls”- it just didn’t work as well.
So, in thinking of a production or creative company name, I was not digging the word “film” or “filmmakers” for the reasons you think- that it is often not on film we are producing or watching anymore, and I really have issues with the words “video” and “media” as they sound so un-artistic to me. It perhaps makes the most sense to use the word “productions” but it is so overused I find, and even though I kinda know, I’m always going to be co-producing everything I do, I am ever striving for more space and resources to focus on the directing, which the producer role is often eating up.
Man, this is getting long! So, I was thinking about names of (filmmaking) companies that I admire and Dreamworks is high on that list, or Dreamworks Pictures. But if I use the word “pictures” it seems to elevate that above “sound” (the other equal part of a film as we know) and “entertainment” sounds so spectacle-like, so I wanted a name that didn’t box me in with what I create and collaborate on.
I like The Auteur Tribe for the combination of the high and the low, the lofty and the down-to-earth. Auteur, as you perhaps know, is a French word translating to “author”. This term began being used during the French New Wave by journalists to describe the films that these directors were making, with their very distinct authorship, where you could almost know who made it without seeing the credits, where it bore the vision of the director. And then I like combining “tribe” because it counteracts the pretentiousness, in a playful sort of way. I also like that I think of Indigenous Americans with that word, and I think of living in harmony with nature and in harmonious co-creation. I also feel it represents my choice to live and work in a more rural environment. And, I just feel it is not wrong, and makes sense, for the fragile stage of creating to take place in a tribal environment amongst a group of people I feel aligned with and sharing in values and vision. Then, once completed, to bring the film child outside of the tribe, and share her with the larger world.