Mary McGuckian

1963 –
Airing This is the Sea (1997) on Wednesday, Nov. 25 at 8:30 AM on TCM

Irish director-producer-writer Mary McGuckian has used her platform to create films that tell stories from the female perspective, although she admits “having to mask them constantly as something else” and to champion opportunities for women in the film industry. McGuckian studied mechanical and civil engineering at Trinity University, as one of only three women out of 120 students, before attending drama school in England and Europe, where she studied under director Mike Leigh. She wrote and produced several successful plays before setting up her own film production company, Pembridge Pictures, in Ireland. 

Her works include an adaptation of Thornton Wilder’s The Bridge of San Luis Rey (2004) with Robert DeNiro, Kathy Bates and her frequent collaborator, Geraldine Chaplin. McGuckian’s 2015 film The Price of Desire examined the real-life events of how the architect Le Corbusier stole credit for the works of his lover, the designer Eileen Gray. McGuckian’s latest film A Girl from Mogadishu (2019) stars Aja Naomi King as a trafficked refugee from Somalia who became an activist against female genital mutilation. It premiered at the Dublin and Edinburgh Film Festivals and won several awards, including the Cinema for Peace Woman’s Empowerment Award at the 2020 Berlin Film Festival.

Select Filmography

Words Upon the Window Pane (1994)
This Is the Sea (1997)
The Bridge of San Luis Rey (2004)
Inconceivable (2008)
The Price of Desire (2015)