“I don’t really believe in neat, packaged endings—unless everyone blows up in the end.”
-- Zoe Cassavetes
Writer-director Zoe Cassavetes developed her screen style through first-hand observation -- from the earliest possible age. The youngest daughter of actress Gena Rowlands and actor-director John Cassavetes, she pursued a brief acting career in such early ’90s features as Ted & Venus and The Thing Called Love, before joining her brother Nick and sister Xan in the other family business.
In 1994, Cassavetes and fellow film scion Sofia Coppola created and hosted Hi-Octane, a Comedy Central sketch-variety show. She also guest-hosted MTV’s House of Style, beginning a long affiliation with fashion designers and clients.
Her short film Men Make Women Crazy Theory premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2000, as did her 2007 debut feature Broken English, starring Parker Posey and Rowlands. Her script received a nomination for Best First Screenplay at the 2008 Independent Spirit Awards. Soon afterwards she relocated to Paris, where she began directing music videos for Gossip Girl star Leighton Meester and electro band Scratch Massive, featuring her husband and frequent collaborator Sebastien Chenut, among others.
In Paris, Cassavetes began shooting print for such clients as Dom Perignon and Martel, as well as numerous international publications, including the New York Times, Elle, Stiletto, Italian Glamour, Air France Madame, and Liberation. She has directed spots for numerous fashion clients, often with her adopted city as a backdrop: Petit Bateau’s Dancing reimagines Anna Karina’s famous dance scene from Godard’s Band of Outsiders, and LaMarthe’s Handbag, aka Elettra in the City, stages a furtive romance against a backdrop of Montparnasse and the Luxembourg Gardens. Other commercial clients include Louis Vuitton, Chaumet, Juicy Couture, Old Navy, Johnnie Walker, and Disney.
In 2012, Cassavetes directed The Other Side of the Game for Bombay Sapphire’s Imagination Series, in partnership with the Tribeca Film Festival, from a script by Academy Award-winning screenwriter Geoffrey Fletcher (Precious). That same year, her narrative short, The Powder Room, served as one of the first four installments of Miu’s Miu’s Women’s Tales campaign, and premiered at the Venice Film Festival.
In 2013, Cassavetes completed a four-and-a-half-minute narrative video for Scratch Massive’s Paris, a “debauched love triangle” crafted to resemble the trailer for a ’70s/’80s sex thriller along the lines of Looking for Mr. Goodbar or American Gigolo. She recently completed principal photography on her second feature, Day Out of Days, starring Alexia Landeau, to be released in 2015.