DIRECTING THE NETFLIX HIT SERIES GINNY & GEORGIA IN ONTARIO

Ginny & Georgia, made right here in Ontario with DGC Ontario Members, is a certified hit, reaching 52 million viewers in just under a month of its first season’s release. The second season, which dropped on January 5th, has spent two consecutive weeks in the Top 10 most-viewed series on Netflix! 

Not only is the show popular, but it’s also a funny, charming, heartwarming series about a teen girl and her troubled but optimistic mother. Ginny & Georgia deals with everything from racism, class, abuse, self-harm, and more through a refreshingly real lens that still manages to have fun.

Below, we talk to three of the DGC Ontario Directors who directed episodes of Ginny & Georgia’s second season: James Genn, Danishka Esterhazy, Sharon Lewis, and Audrey Cummings. James, Danishka, Sharon, and Audrey share how they built on the show’s successful first season, memorable moments on set, and how this show spoke to them on a very personal level. 

How does Season 2 of Ginny & Georgia build on the enormously popular and critically acclaimed Season 1?

Director/Executive Producer James Genn: We had a lot of confidence going into the second season of Ginny & Georgia, knowing how well its genre-defiant premise had worked. The show could be a murder mystery one moment, a coming-of-age comedy the next, and the tone was tying it all together. The first season ended on a cliffhanger that audiences loved, and it left a lot of dramatic fallout to explore, with actors who were totally at home in their characters. In our opening episode, we get so much closer to them through this darker-toned side of the show, and at the same time, we could tease the lighter stuff to come.

Director/Executive Producer James Genn on set

Director Sharon Lewis: Season 2 of Ginny and Georgia amplifies the themes of mental health and their “realness” with such a relatable and heart-wrenching brilliance.

What did it mean to you to work on this series about relationships between mothers, daughters, and friendship?

Director Sharon Lewis: It was such a great opportunity to get to work on a series where I see myself reflected. Ginny moving into an all-white town and trying to fit in resonated so much with me in Season 1, and then it was taken to a whole other level in Season 2.

Director Audrey Cummings on set

Director Audrey Cummings: As a female director with a young daughter, there is an obvious connection for me with the Ginny & Georgia dynamic. I connect with Georgia’s complete, unwavering and yet sometimes misguided dedication to her daughter and family. Ultimately though, the series is about relationships, connections and friendships, and that’s what draws me in both as a director as well as a fan of the show.

Director Danishka Esterhazy: The material spoke to me in a very personal way. I was raised by a single Mom, and we lived in poverty in a public housing complex. Our relationship was loving but also difficult. Like Ginny and Georgia, we were just very different people. After watching Season 1, I really wanted the opportunity to work on this show. I felt I could draw on my own experiences to deepen my understanding of those complex mother-daughter scenes.

Director Danishka Esterhazy on set (middle), with actors Sara Waisglass, Katie Douglas, Chelsea Clark, and Antonia Gentry

Director/Executive Producer James Genn: The mother-daughter story is the heart of this show, but Ginny & Georgia has such a wide range of complex relationships that audiences can find relatable characters everywhere. I’m half Asian, and I loved telling a story about a parent who could never fully understand her biracial daughter’s experience. I’m also a fraternal twin, so the scenes we did with the twins, Max (Sara Waisglass) and Marcus (Felix Mallard), were hilarious to me, and I could easily reference ideas from my life. The show is full of these interesting specifics that are universally relatable. To me, that’s the magic of Ginny & Georgia – there’s something in it for everyone. We are creating a world that is intrinsically diverse, one that loves our flaws and differences and tries to give everyone an authentic voice. It’s meaningful for me to be a part of connecting this positive, forward-thinking worldview to such a huge audience.

What was the most memorable moment for you on set?

Director Danishka Esterhazy: My most memorable moment was filming the climactic scene from Episode 206 (“A Very Merry Ginny & Georgia Christmas Special”), where Georgia learns about Ginny’s self-harm. I knew it was an incredibly important scene that required – that deserved – extra time and attention. I worked with my wonderful AD (Chris Binney) to carve out several hours for private blocking, rehearsal and shooting. The crew understood the sensitive subject matter, and they gave Antonia Gentry (Ginny) and Brianne Howey (Georgia) the quiet focus they needed to deliver amazing and honest performances. I cried while we shot the scene, and I cried when I watched it. I’m really proud of the team effort involved in bringing that powerful moment to life.

Director Audrey Cummings: My most memorable moment is the final car scene in Episode 203 when Georgia finally reveals her true self to Ginny, and they connect on a deep emotional level. Witnessing these incredible actors bare their souls to one another was truly inspirational. It left me speechless.

Director Sharon Lewis: Imagine me (the Director), the creator of the show (Sarah Lampert), and one of the Executive Producers smushed in a corner, and there was a scene that just wasn’t hitting it. All three of us women acted it out behind the monitor and collaborated to come up with an answer together. Golden Memory!

Director Sharon Lewis on set, with actors Chelsea Clarke and Antonia Gentry

Watch Seasons 1 and 2 of Ginny & Georgia on Netflix.

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