Nanfu Wang, Greta Gerwig and Victoria Mahoney on the struggles of starting out

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This week: leftovers! We recently heard from filmmakers who've made it in the movie business. But hitting those career highs came with serious lows. 

We didn’t have time to fit all their interesting stories into the show, but we bring them to you now. 

Nanfu Wang’s Oscar-shortlisted documentary “One Child Nation” explores the devastating effects of the Chinese policy that was aimed at curbing the country’s burgeoning population but led to forced sterilizations and abortions, and even infanticide.  

But long before Wang dreamed of becoming an investigative documentarian, she was growing up poor in rural China. Wang’s father died when she was young, and her mother couldn’t afford to send both Wang and her younger brother to school. Wang tells us about taking a nontraditional route to a master’s degree and making her family very happy by landing a stable office job, and then immediately realizing she needed to leave.

Then, Greta Gerwig. Her new take on the classic “Little Women” opened strong on Christmas Day. It’s made more than $60 million at the U.S. box office, and racked up award nominations. 

When Gerwig joined us in the studio, she shared how passionate and insistent she was about writing and directing this most recent movie version of Louisa May Alcott’s novel. 

But growing up, Gerwig didn’t see such a path ahead of her. She wasn’t even sure she wanted to work in movies. 

Plus, one final leftover from Victoria Mahoney, the second unit director on “The Rise of Skywalker,” and the first woman and person of color to direct in the “Star Wars” movie universe. 

Before she got the history-changing call from director J.J. Abrams, Mahoney had started out as an actress. When she decided to move into writing and directing, she thought working in TV would be the best bet. Mahoney learned a lot from shadowing other directors---just not what she thought she would. 

More from Nanfu Wang.

More from Greta Gerwig.

More from Victoria Mahoney.





Kim Masters


Kaitlin Parker