2009 Juanita Wilson

Irish director, Juanita Wilson has just followed up her Oscar nominated first film, “The Door”, with an equally hard hitting true story from the Bosnian War, “As If I Am Not There”, based on Croatian journalist Slavenka Drakulic's book of the same name. The film, shot in Sarajevo, Macedonia and Sweden, premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2010, receiving a very positive response from both audiences and critics alike. The film went on to win the prestigious Silver Pyramid at the Cairo International Film Festival in December 2010 and was selected for the Palm Springs International Film Festival in January 2011. She won the “Best Director” and “Best Screenplay” in the 2011 Irish Film and Television Academy Awards in February, and the film also won “Best Film”. Juanita has also been named among Variety’s top ten directors to watch for in 2011, the only woman to feature on the list.

“The Door” was shot on location in Pripyat and Kiev in the Ukraine and so far has received worldwide critical acclaim both for its moving story and its cinematic imagery. The Academy Award nomination in March 2010 followed a number of awards throughout the world including Bilbao International Film Festival Golden Medal for Fiction; Irish Film and Television Academy Award for Best Short; Foyle Film Festival ’08 Best Irish Short; Cork Film Festival Clare Lynch Award for Best First Time Director; Warsaw’s Grand OFF International Film Festival’s Award for Best Direction, The Bird’s Eye Festival in London where it won Best Short and finally it won Best Short Film at the Rome Irish Festa in November 2010.

”The Door” was in the official selection of the Edinburgh Film Festival 2009, the Telluride Film Festival 2009 and the Munich International Film Festival and, at the Sarajevo Film Festival in August 2009, Stellan Skarsgard awarded Juanita the prestigious Katrin Cartlidge Foundation Bursary which recognises ”a new creative voice in cinema, showing the independence, singularity and integrity of spirit that the actress exemplified in her own lifetime”. The film continues to be invited to festivals throughout the world.

Before she started directing, Juanita jointly developed and produced two powerful, award winning feature films: ”H3” written by surviving Irish hunger striker Laurence McKeown about his prison experience and ”Inside I’m Dancing” about the quest for independent living by two Dublin men with disability. ”H3” won the Bergamo Film Festival Audience Award in 2002 and ”Inside I’m Dancing”, starring James McEvoy in his break out role, won the Edinburgh Festival Audience Award in 2004, was in the official Selection for Sundance in 2005 and won the Irish Film and Television Audience Award for Best Film that same year.

Born and reared in Dublin, Juanita studied Fine Art in the National College of Art and Design and, after a year living and studying in Paris, she went back to achieve first place on the postgraduate Diploma in Arts Management in UCD. After a spell working in the independent production sector in Dublin, she went back to college and graduated with the top marks as a professional journalist at the Dublin Institute of Technology.

Not afraid to take on strong subjects and, driven by a desire to discover and explore what it means to be human, her work to date combines her love of image-making with her desire to tell powerful stories about the resilience of the human spirit. Juanita has recently been named among Variety's top ten directors to watch for 2011.

Juanita has just optioned the Daniel Woodrell (Winter’s Bone) novel, The Ones You Do, a book described by L.A Confidential’s James Ellroy as ‘’stone brilliant’’ and which will be adapted for the screen by Juanita. A warm-hearted, contemporary exploration of the nature of freedom and family set in the heart of America. This will be the first time for Juanita to film in America and to shoot in English. Filming is planned for Spring 2012.

The Door (Russian) Duration 16’49”
As If I Am Not There (Bosnia/Serbian/Croatian) Duration 109”