Bryce Dallas Howard on her short film, Hollywood's gender gap and her dad

Bryce Dallas Howard was at the Sundance Film Festival on Jan. 25 to receive an IMDb Starmeter Award presented by WhoSay in Park City, Utah.

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Bryce Dallas Howard is a bona fide movie star, with hits like "Jurassic World" and "The Help" under her belt, but she certainly doesn't act like one. The down-to-earth actress is known for buying her own dresses for awards shows and keeping her two kids away from paparazzi.

Howard is also a filmmaker, and she traveled to Sundance to pick up an IMDb Starmeter Award, which is given to breakout stars based on search behavior on the website, and promote her short film, "Solemates." She talked to CBS News about her film, feminism in Hollywood, the many lines on her resume and of course, her famous father, Ron Howard.


You have a short film out at Sundance and you're also there to receive the IMDb Starmeter Award. Tell us more about the film and your award.

I'm so excited. I'm here at Sundance with the short film I directed. It's one minute long. It's online; it's called "Solemates" -- like the bottom of a shoe sole. It's about a couple and their relationship together told in one minute through the perspective of their shoes.

I was so shocked to win the IMDb Starmeter Awards. It's based on folks clicking on your name on the IMDb site and so it's quite an honor. It means so much to me. I'm so grateful.

What's it like to be on the other side of the camera?

I've been directing shorts for 10 years. I love, love, love short films. I love that process and the limitations that come with it. I also love the freedom. I'm constantly thinking of what the next shot is going to be and how it can be put together. The producers of this film produced my first film and we did another film that was called "When You Find Me" that was nominated for an Oscar. It's wonderful to be with them. We've had a 10-year relationship. It's incredibly fun and meaningful when you're behind the camera -- and you don't have to dress up!

Speaking of dressing up, fans love that you buy your own dresses for awards shows instead of borrowing from designers; you said that's in part because it offers more options for a size 6. Did you expect that kind of positive response?

No, because I've been doing that for a while now. It was so freeing for me to just realize this is available and amazing and these opportunities to get dressed up is really not any different than if you're going to a wedding or prom or cocktail dinner. It doesn't need to have more pressure than that. I was so unbelievably appreciative, because when you go onto red carpets, you don't know if you're going to be told that your taste is horrible or terrible, so I was grateful for that. But oh my God, I hope people realize that I've never spent that much money in my life [on the Globes dress] other than for shelter!

And I don't want to put down [the designer] experience at all. I just haven't had that a lot because I've done a lot of press when I've been pregnant and shortly after pregnancy. It just sort of happened that way. I shouldn't say there's any preference but I just haven't had a lot of experiences but I can imagine that it's an incredible experience to work with someone who's a designer and incredibly creative and making couture gowns. I would never turn down an opportunity at all; it's just partly out of convenience.

You were nominated for Best Actress in an Action Movie at the Critics' Choice Awards, and you said it's an important category for women. Why is that? And what do you think still needs to be done in terms of moving feminism forward in the industry?

That category means there's a quota to fill and you can bet that decision-makers think about awards because they can actually bolster your movie if actors are being nominated for performances. For there to be a category like that means when people plan an action film and think of an incredible role, they can tailor it for a woman or actress.

The Geena Davis Institute is incredible and they have done a spectacular amount of research so they can have real statistics around what is happening with the stories that we're telling and putting out there in terms of diversity and gender. They do a lot of work making sure women are depicted in entertainment as scientists, in technology, as engineers, in math -- that's a big blind spot.

The Institute is identifying blind spots and without that information, we're not going to be as conscious of our choices. Twenty-three percent of speaking roles in action movies go to women, and having that awareness means people can take steps and action to shift it so it's more a reflection of the world we live in, as opposed to a world where only 23 percent of people who talk are women. I don't think people say, "We don't care about diversity," but I feel like these acts and statistics are essential to enlighten the decision-makers. That's why I was particularly grateful to be nominated in that category.

Last year your dad won the Critics' Choice Genius Award and you said you cried. What have you learned from your father and what about his career do you hope to emulate?

Oh my God, everything. Honestly, here's the thing I'm most proud of: When I walk around and I meet people who know him, the first thing they say is what a decent human being he is. I don't know at what point that became something that was rare, but the more examples that we can have of folks leading healthy, happy, balanced, able lives where they're good people and grateful and respectful and pursuing something artistic -- I think this is something I'm really proud of for him.

I think what's cliched is a tortured, troubled, angry, person is often an artist and that's not true. He definitely is an example of kind of breaking that stereotype, especially as a child actor who transitioned into an adult career. I'm really proud of that. Anything I've taken from him, what's No. 1 is that nothing excuses a person for walking through life as a jerk. I've never seen him be anything but someone with integrity and graciousness, and I'm grateful to be able to say that about my dad.

You've said before that you had a very normal childhood. Did your dad try to stop you when you told him you were pursuing acting?

No, because I was an adult. I was financially independent when I left my parents' home so they paid for a portion of college but not my living situation or anything like that, so I knew when I turned 18, I'd make my own way and work. They didn't need to make it happen for me or facilitate it, so I think that was a healthy way of going about it because I did feel when I started working as an actress and was able to make a living to a degree where that was my job, it was so satisfying.

What did you do for work when you left your parents' house?

I had four jobs. I worked at a daycare, as an assistant preschool teacher for 3 1/2 years, I was a nanny with a family for quite a long time and I was also a dog walker. Those were the jobs I did through college and in high school, I started working at a restaurant when I was 14 and kept doing that. When I was 17, I started working at an allergy control center, at the factory, on the assembly line -- that was actually really fun. And I got to have fun jobs on set. So I really thought that's how it was going to go until I was able to make a living as an actor or writer, and frankly it happened much sooner than I thought it would, and I was so grateful.

You can watch Howard's short film, "Solemates," below.

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