Grace Wilken

The MPDG Project

Mentor: Peter Huk

My project explores the complexities of writing women in literature and media, specifically the trap of falling into tropes such as the Manic Pixie Dream Girl. The Manic Pixie Dream Girl (MPDG), a term coined by film critic, Nathan Rabin, is a girl who exists solely to teach the (often depressed) male protagonist of the story a lesson. Some of the most memorable MPDG characters were played by Natalie Portman in Garden State or Zooey Deschanel in Yes Man. I investigated the trope of the MPDG in the realm of theater by studying female characters from Chekov’s The Seagull. I was then inspired by the characters to construct a 12-minute short film that exposes and subverts common MPDG elements in the characters by looking at them from the female perspective. 

See a clip from Grace’s film Days and Nights