CELINE SCIAMMA is a French screenwriter and film director born on this date. A common theme in Sciamma’s films is the fluidity of gender and sexual identity among girls and women.
Sciamma’s debut film, Water Lilies, was selected for screening in the section Un certain regard at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival. The film secured three nominations for the 2008 Cèsar Awards; Sciamma was nominated for the Cèsar for Best Debut, and actresses Adele Haenel and Louise Blachére were both nominated for the Cèsar for Most Promising Actress.
Sciamma directed her first short film, Pauline, in 2009 as part of a government anti-homophobia campaign called ‘Five films against homophobia’. Her 2011 film Tomboy was written and shot in a matter of months. Sciamma wrote the script in three weeks, completed casting in three weeks, and shot the film in 20 days. It premiered at the 61st Berlin International Film Festival in the Panorama section of the festival. The film was shown in French schools as part of an educational program.
Her 2014 film Girlhood was selected to be screened as part of the Director’s Fortnight section of the 2014 Cannes Film Festival. It also played at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival and the 2015 Sundance Film Festival. In interviews, Sciamma said that Girlhood would be her last coming-of-age film and that she considered it, Water Lilies and Tomboy a trilogy. Since 2015, Sciamma has served as the co-president of the SRF (Society of Film Directors).
In between directing her own films, Sciamma continues to work as a screenwriter for other directors. She was sought after by André Téchiné, whose work Sciamma admired as a youth, to co-write the screenplay for his 2016 film Being 17.
Sciamma’s fourth feature film, Portrait of a Lady on Fire, began shooting in autumn 2018. It premiered In Competition at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, where it won the Queer Palm and Best Screenplay. Sciamma co-wrote Paris, 13th District alongside Jacques Audiard and Léa Mysius.
Sciamma is a feminist. She was a founding member of the French branch of the 5050 by 2020 movement, a group of French film industry professionals advocating for gender parity in film by the year 2020. Celine Sciamma uses her platform to speak about the restrictions of the male gaze and present movies that elevate the female gaze.
In 2018, she co-organized and participated in the women’s protest against inequality at the 2018 Cannes Film Festivval alongside other notable women in film including Agnes Varda, Ava DuVernay, and Cate Blanchette. At the premiere of her film Portrait of a Lady on Fire at the 2019 Cannes Festival, both Sciamma and lead actress Adele Haenel wore 50/50 pins in support of the movement. In 2020 Sciamma and the Portrait of a Lady on Fire team joined lead actress Adele Haenel in walking out of the 45th Cèsar Awards after Roman Polanski won the award for Best Director.
Céline Sciamma is an out lesbian. In 2014, Adèle Haenel publicly acknowledged that she was in a relationship with Sciamma in her acceptance speech for her César award. The two had met on the set of the 2007 film Water Lilies and started dating sometime after. The couple parted ways, amicably, sometime before the 2018 filming of Portrait of a Lady on Fire, which Haenel starred in.