Her.Stories: interviews with women filmmakers, acquisitions, and the French teach Hollywood about female talent

Her.Stories is a reboot of the Women’s Stories Weekly occasional series which was started in 2011.  Visit the Her.Stories page to peruse the archives.

Round Table: Julie Delpy, Ava DuVernay and Leslye Headland on directing
in the Los Angeles Times

Cinema Libre Studio secures rights to ‘Lemon’ doc
at indieWIRE

Sophia Takal’s ‘Green’ picked up by Factory 25
at indieWIRE

Quote of the Day: Emma Stone points out sexist double standards in media
at Bitch Flicks

Mia Hansen-Love, a firmly ambiguous filmmaker
in the Toronto Star

Marjane Satrapi on ‘Chicken with Plums’ (and her other work)
at Think Progress

Mary Ann Williamson on her short film, ‘Packed’
at Westword

As Executives, Women must Stop Assimilating (How to empower women in Hollywood)
in the New York Times

Finance, Track, Research and Promote (How to empower women in Hollywood)
in the New York Times

Women directors surpass gender politics in showbiz
at Wonderwoman

Hollywood’s Unsung Scouts: THR Profiles Six Hot Casting Directors (most are women)
in The Hollywood Reporter

French film fest fetes female talent  
at SF Gate

Q+A with CampbellX (“Stud Life”)

CampbellX                                    (Photo by Robert Taylor http://www.roberttaylor photography.com/)

Biography:

Campbell is an award-winning filmmaker/curator whose films include the award-winning BD Women about Black lesbian lives and history, Legacy about the lasting impact of slavery on Black families and Fem, a butch homage to queer femininity.   Her body of work was honoured by the Queer Black Cinema Festival in New York (2009), and she curated “No Heroes” in 2010 at Iniva.  She was a selector for GFEST 2009-11 and the festival director for The Fire This Time! – Queering Black History Month.  Campbell has been published in Diva Magazine, Feminist Review, The Pink Paper, and many more publications.


Her Film:  What is your film Stud Life about and what drew you to making this film specifically?

CampbellX:  Stud Life is a film where a stud lesbian and her gay man best friend deal with what happens when she gets tight with a femme lesbian lover. “who did you wake up with? your lover, or your best friend?” The story is about how you negotiate time with your queer family when you want to be with a new lover.

I made the film as there are actually a dearth of images of masculine females – studs/butches/bois in cinema and not that many images of QPOC [Queer People of Color] anyway. The queer films tend to be from a Eurocentric perspective and whenever there are QPOC in films often our presence, whether it is the filmmaker’s intention or not, is often treated like we are giving insight into our “problems” and the issues of “gayness with our cultures”. We as QPOC filmmakers are not given the space to just tell a story where we are central to the narrative and it not be problematised.

I also made the film to show that London is very mixed and jumbled up if you live in an urban environment. So immigrants, queers, and the indigenous people are all living on top of each other and have to learn to negotiate the spaces we occupy. However we are now heavily influenced whether queer or not,  and from whatever class or ethnicity, by African Caribbean and African American culture in our clothes, language and the way we dance.

Very often British cultural product that shows this urban life is usually straight and homophobic and the ones that are LGBT are very “white”. Stud Life shows a different reality.

HF:  What has the reaction been to the film?  How do you engage with your fanbase/followers around the topic of the film to continue to build an audience?

CX: The reaction to the film has been mixed. Stud Life is not for everyone. It has scenes of sexual practice and violence some people may find triggering. The main role is that of a stud, which many lesbians who wish to have a mainstreamed image of ourselves find shameful.  It is also not a segregated film. It shows a world where genders, sexual orientations and ethnicities mix. Some queer audiences like their films gendered – boys only, girls only.

With this in mind I have been absolutely bowled over by finding the Other Audience who do not really care for this and are hungry for something different.  They have responded with love and joy at the screenings. So far all screenings have been fully booked out with many sold out screenings. The audiences have laughed, cried, screamed, groaned and shouted at the screen. I have had many tweets, Facebook feedback and posts written from audience members. Some quoting lines from the film or saying how the film related to them personally. I have found these touching, as when I wrote the film, I had no idea if anyone would even like the film or come to see it.

I used Facebook from the very beginning to connect with an audience and later Twitter and YouTube. I think it is important in these media to share others people’s work as well. Stud Life is about building LGBT community around queer cultural product. We seek out those who are doing the same. We actively promote those whose voices continue to be silenced by mainstream straight and LGBT media.

HF:  You’ve directed a number of projects, but can you speak a bit about your experience making your first feature film?

CX:  My experience of making my first feature was like that of a virgin. I had no idea what it would be like so I went into it all wide-eyed and innocent. This is even though I have made several award-winning short films before. I had one goal and it was to finish the feature. I could not have done it without community support and by that I mean the wider filmmaking community in London, the people who live and work in East London and also the wider international LGBT world who stumped up cash for our IndieGoGo campaign. The cast T’Nia Miller, Kyle Treslove, Robyn Kerr and Simon Savory were put through a gruelling 10 day shoot in the cold and wet London weather but were always chipper and professional and put in stellar performances.

I am one of the privileged few in the UK to have made a feature film – Stud Life was the only new LGBT film made in 2012. That is a sobering thought considering we made the film “by any means necessary” and received no film grants from any of the funders who give money for film. This allowed me to have a freedom to play and to cast the leads I wanted and also choose the crew I wanted to work with.

I am no longer a virgin and now have baggage that anyone does after the “first time”.

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To connect with this filmmaker and to support her work, please visit these links:

Website:  blackmanvision.com

Twitter:  @CampbellX

Vimeo:  vimeo.com/blackmanvision

Facebook (Stud Life):  /studlifemovie

Twitter (Stud Life):  @studlifemovie

Tumbler (Stud Life):  studlifemovie.tumblr.com

Women’s Stories Weekly: Regimen of woman filmmakers, female feticide and more

Six Months On A Regimen Of Woman Filmmakers – Out The Gate With Diablo Cody
at Movies I Didn’t Get

Exposing Military Predators (about new film “The Invisible War”)
at the National Journal

Films, Literature Devote Little Attention to Female Feticide
at the New York Times India Ink blog

Sustaining sensibility (about Malayalam writer-director Anjali Menon)
at The Hindu

‘Middle of Nowhere’ finds love in South-Central L.A.
at Herald Online

SCREENING: “In Montauk” (dir. Kim Cummings)

(See below images for just the text of the release.)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 2012  

For more information, contact
kcummings@nyc.rr.com
917-922-3987

World premiere screening of IN MONTAUK at the VisionFest Film
Festival at Tribeca Cinemas on June 21 at 7 pm.

On June 21, 2012, at 7:00 pm, Siren’s Tale Productions’ IN MONTAUK will have its world premiere at VisionFest12 at Tribeca Cinemas, 54 Varick Street (corner of Laight St.) The film will be preceded by two shorts and followed by a Q&A with filmmaker Kim Cummings and actors Lukas Hassel and George Katt. Tickets are $12 and can be purchased online at http://visionfest.com/film_festival/films/2012/. For more information contact Kim Cummings at 917-922-3987 or kcummings@nyc.rr.com.

SYNOPSIS

In Montauk (2012) (68 minutes)
Written and directed by Kim Cummings

The hardest choices in life are the ones we never think we’ll have to make

Julie Wagner has everything today’s young woman thinks she wants: a successful husband who adores her, a baby on the way, a close circle of family and friends, and a career as a photographer that is about to take off. So why is she alone in Montauk in the middle of December? During the cold, stark days, Julie throws herself into capturing her artistic vision for an upcoming solo show, yielding works of deep passion and instinct; at night, she restlessly taps away at her computer, plagued by uncertainty about the impending trajectories of her life.

When a prickly but brilliant composer-musician knocks on her door with an odd request, Julie ushers in a series of events that will bring her in contact with her buried hopes and fears, and force her to make choices she couldn’t have fathomed. At once shocking and wise, In Montauk is a now-familiar story turned inside-out by a main character who can’t help but put herself into the most uncomfortable position of all—confronting life’s imperfect choices in the hopes of grasping one through which she can be true to herself.

A composition of exquisite scenery and complex characters, In Montauk beautifully captures the quiet agony that arises when shoulds and wants collide, the conflict between cultural dictates and creative yearnings. It is a story for our times, the one that so many thoughtful, talented people of all ages live out in their drive for self-discovery and self-fulfillment.

~ ~ ~

BEHIND THE FILM

In Montauk was shot on location in western Queens and Montauk, NY. The specific locales serve a critical function in the film—sweeping seascapes at the edge of the continent, Long Island City’s burgeoning arts scene, the promise held by the Queensboro Bridge—grounding the characters’ sense of place and informing their actions. See the trailer at http://inmontauk.sirenstalefilms.com

~ ~ ~

Kim Cummings’s award-winning short film Weeki Wachee Girls screened worldwide in more than 70 festivals and garnered three “Best of” awards. Her other films include the shorts Flower of a Girl (dir., screenwriter) and Kate Greer’s That’s What She Told Me (dir.). In Montauk is Cummings’s first feature film and derives from her experience as a filmmaker and parent, and the never-ending balancing act required to satisfy both roles in her life.

Nina Kaczorowski (Julie Wagner) has previously appeared in the films Austin Powers: Goldmember, Minority Report, and A Simple Plan.

Lukas Hassel (Christian Nygaard) was in the reality show SOAPSTAR, on SoapNet/ABC, and recently played a lead role in Denmark’s top-rated show Anna Pihl. He is a visual phenomenon in Norway, where his image can currently be seen in print ads and commercials as part of Norway’s ad campaign for milk.

George Katt (Josh Cohen) won the “Best Breakthrough Actor Award” at the NY International Independent Film Festival for his starring role in the independent feature film Valley of Angels, opposite Danny Trejo.

Siren’s Tale Productions is Kim Cummings’s independent film corporation. Feminist filmmaker Cummings’s goal is to present three-dimensional women and girls in nuanced storylines outside of the typical Hollywood roles of wives, girlfriends, mothers, and whores. Her hope is to depict women grappling with contemporary issues in entertaining but also thought-provoking ways. http://www.sirenstalefilms.com/about.html

~ ~ ~

In Montauk is made possible, in part, by the Queens Council on the Arts with public funding from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and by a grant from the Long Island Film Foundation.

Filmmaker Updates: Where are they now?

After two years of interviewing women filmmakers and having a few guest bloggers, I thought Her Film readers might be interested in seeing where some of the filmmakers have landed.  I wrote to a first wave of filmmakers who have been involved with the blog to see how things were panning out for them.  (I’ll solicit more updates from filmmakers not included here and will post them later this summer.)  Check out a few updates below from women filmmakers featured here on Her Film since 2010:

CROSSING THE RIVER (directed by Emilie McDonald)

After a very successful shoot in South Carolina in March, “Crossing
the River” is currently in post-production and preparing for a fall
and spring festival run.  Please read more at our film’s website.

Read Emilie’s guest post about this film by clicking here.

ANNA & MODERN DAY SLAVERY (directed by Magda M. Olchawska)

Principal photography for Anna & Modern Day Slavery was completed on May 29 after nine days of shooting.  The whole cast & crew were fantastic to work with & very dedicated to the project. We worked long hours & once even had a shoot for 24 hours.  Some of the stills taken on the set can be seen on our Facebook page, and anyone interested in supporting the film should visit our website.

Read a Spotlight feature about Magda’s new film by clicking here.

ALICE WALKER: BEAUTY IN TRUTH (directed by Pratibha Parmar)

We have finished shooting and are thrilled to have added Sonia Sanchez, Sapphire and Alexis Pauline Gumb as our final interviewees. We are currently editing the film in California and also fund raising for the final money to enable the finishing post production such as hiring a composer, archive clearances, sound mix, color grade and online.  Read more about the film by visiting our website, Facebook page and Twitter feed @alicewalkerfilm.

Read an interview with Pratibha done by Marian Evans of the Wellywood Woman blog.

METRUK (directed by Orkide Unsur)

Metruk has been screening in different countries, and its last screening was at Montreal (as a Canadian premiere).  Orkide will soon be focusing her attentions on a feature screenplay.  Find out more about the Montreal screening by visiting her website here.

Read an interview with Orkide by clicking here.

ALL THINGS HIDDEN (written by Persephone Vandegrift)

All Things Hidden is set to film this year August 25th-29th. We will be launching our Kickstarter mid July! To keep up to date on its metamorphosis, please join the All Things Hidden FB page.

Read a guest post by Persephone by clicking here.

BONESHAKER (directed by Frances Bodomo)

Boneshaker is currently raising money for post-production and will premiere at film festivals in 2013. View the trailer here. To donate and keep yourself updated, visit our blog here.

Read an interview with Frances by clicking here.

KATE KAMINSKI (Bluestocking Film Series)

The May 20, 2012 Bluestocking screening played to an enthusiastic crowd at the St. Lawrence Arts Center in Portland, Maine.  The biannual Bluestocking accepts rolling submissions through September 15, 2012 via Withoutabox and mail and the next screening is scheduled for Sunday, October 14, 2012. Visit the BFS website here.

Read an interview with Kate by clicking here.

MICHELLE LATIMER (director of Choke)

Choke was named by the Toronto Film Festival among Canada’s Top Ten for 2011, and was nominated for a 2012 Genie Award. It will be featured this summer as part of the First Peoples Cinema Retrospective at the Tiff Bell Lightbox. She begins shooting on her feature documentary Alias for the Independent Film Channel this falland she recently joined iThentic as the Director of Short Film Acquisitions for their digital channel.

Read an interview with Michelle by clicking here.

HOW TO LOSE YOUR VIRGINITY (directed by Therese Shechter)

After a successful Kickstarter campaign that raised over $36K, Therese and the Trixie Films crew will be spending the summer finishing the edit of her film.  She  just returned from the Reel Change Workshop, an audience engagement boot camp, and is putting all her new-found knowledge to use designing the film’s outreach strategy. She continues to write the blog, curate First Person, and figure out what the heck to do with Pinterest.

Read a 2012 interview with Therese by clicking here and a 2010 interview by clicking here.

NICE & ROUGH: BLACK WOMEN IN ROCK (directed by Sheila J. Hardy)

My documentary about black women in rock is building the audience while we complete production.  We recently launched niceandrough.com, a global community for black women in rock and their fans, and now we are about to launch the concert tour.  You can join us at niceandrough.com, follow us on Facebook and on Twitter.  To support this project, visit our Contribute page.

Read a guest post by Sheila by clicking here. (She was Her Film’s very first guest blogger!)

BIG VOICE (directed by Varda Hardy)

The film is in its last weeks of production and we are continuing to develop new relationships with various distribution companies, grantors, and donors who can propel us into post-production, which will begin in the second part of June.  We are in need of additional funds for our post production and are actively inviting sponsors/investors to come on board.  Read more about the film by clicking here and following @BigVoiceMovie.

Read an interview with Varda by clicking here.

INTERVIEW: Kim Cummings (“In Montauk”)

Director Kim Cummings
(Photo by Ken Nanus)

Biography: 

Kim Cummings wrote and directed the award-winning short “Weeki Wachee Girls.” It screened in 70 festivals worldwide, earning three “Best of” awards and a nomination for best short at Taos and is distributed by Buskfilms.com. Other short films include “Flower Of A Girl” and Kate Greer’s “That’s What She Told Me.”  Cummings was a finalist for the Women In Film Foundation Post Production grant in 2010.  She received a finishing fund grant from the Long Island Film/TV Foundation and two separate grants from Queens Council on the Arts for “In Montauk,” which is her first feature.

___________________

Her Film:  Typically, short films are used as “calling cards” and stepping stones to work in features.  Can you describe your creative and professional jump from your work in shorts to making In Montauk, your first feature film?  Why was this film important for you to make?

Kim Cummings: 10 years ago I made a short film called “Weeki Wachee Girls” that was my calling card film.  I had a feature-length script that went with it, although the feature ended up being very different from the short.  Although the film played all over the world and won a few awards, I didn’t get any bites on the feature.  Shortly after that, I gave birth to twins, which forced me to take some time off.  As time went on, it seemed harder and harder to get a feature made despite having made a successful short and I kept reading that if you wanted to make a feature, you needed to make a feature. I made a few more shorts, “Flower of A Girl” and “That’s What She Told Me,” then felt that it was time to make a feature.  I look around at the resources I had available to me, especially locations and wrote a script to fit the resources that could be shot with very little money.  Before deciding to go ahead, I talked to my DP, Brian Dilg, and Co-Producer, Jeremiah Kipp, who are good friends that I’ve worked with for years and asked if they were willing to take the leap with me.  Lukas Hassel, who plays Christian is also a good friend, and I re-wrote the role of the composer after he signed on.  The script came out of my frustration out of trying to be a filmmaker while still being there for my kids. It’s important because I feel that the message we get from society is that there is nothing more important for a woman than being a mother and that we should put aside our own needs indefinitely for the sake of our children.  I know for myself, that if I hadn’t made a feature, I wouldn’t have been able to look at myself in the mirror, nor would I have been a very happy mother.

Josh, Julie & Christian have an uneasy lunch together.
(Photo by Aja Niesenson)

HF:  You’ve edited short films as well as written, directed and produced them.  How has the “editor as storyteller” experience impacted or informed your “director as storyteller” work?  Has being a mother and playing that storytelling role (reading stories and teaching about life, ethics, respect, empowerment, etc.) affected how you tell stories as a writer/director?

KC: Editing short films has taught me a lot about directing and had a big influence on the shots I plan for on set.  Editing “In Montauk” and then watching  my editor, Eleanor Burke, re-shaped the film, taught me a lot about the power of juxtaposing disparate images to create a feeling.  It was amazing to watch her.  That experience opened me up to a whole new way of writing.  It was difficult, since I’m an editor myself, to admit that I really needed someone with more experience to help me get the film to where I wanted it to be.  My kids have made me much more aware of what I’m writing, especially with respect to my daughter.  I see her looking for heroines that she can relate to and struggling to find any.  My son once asked me why girls in movies always seem to be on the side.  While they both understand that women are people, they don’t see that reflected in the majority of movies available to them.  It’s made me much more conscious of how I represent women in my stories.

 

HF:  Can you describe what the experience of balancing your film career and motherhood is like, particularly as you make your first foray into feature films?  How does your life as an artist and relationship with your children change over time, given that they are growing up throughout the filmmaking process?

KC: It never feels like I’m balancing it all very well, and I’ve only been able to manage it because my husband is incredibly supportive.  While I was in the process of getting the film made, especially pre-production and production, my kids dubbed me “Mount Cranky.”  My typical day went like this: get up at 6 & get the kids off to school, work, pick the kids up, help them out with homework or take them to after-school activities, hand them off to my husband for dinner, while I went back to work until mid-night.  My husband took a week off when I was shooting in Montauk.  When we shot in Queens, my kids ate breakfast with the crew.  They even had a scene in the film that eventually got cut.  It was all it a little crazy.  It was a little better when I was editing, as I could do that on my own schedule, more or less.  As the kids saw the film come together, they started to understand what filmmaking really meant and what it meant to me.  As they’ve gotten older, they’ve started rooting for me and were very excited when the film was accepted to it’s first festival.  And, of course, they’ve begun making their own films.  My daughter writes & directs, my son shoots & edits and they both act.  It’s been amazing to see what they can do.

Julie & Christian in adjoining rooms.
(Photo by Brian Dilg)

HF:  I think it’s fantastic that your daughter participated in your crowdfunding pitch video on RocketHub, and your first feature film must be a huge part of your children’s lives, as well.  Does being a mother actually help you as a creative professional?  Are there practices or lessons rooted in motherhood that you employ as a filmmaker?

KC: Being a mother has definitely made me more focused.  It’s also made me more ambitious.  Before I had kids, I felt like I had all the time in the world.  After, it felt like time passed so much more quickly, and I had to learn to say “no” to things that weren’t directly related to filmmaking or to raising my kids, which was very difficult for me.  My husband would tell you that I’m still not very good at saying “no.”  Being a mother has taught me patience, as well as the need to slow down and be in the moment every once in a while.  And kids are so naturally curious, that just talking to mine gives me a ton of story ideas.

 

HF:  The way you describe the production of In Montauk in your Women and Hollywood guest post, it sounds like a bare bones shoot.  You also talk about the re-shoot in one of your Facebook notes.  Is there anything you would change about the way you made the film, if you could?  Do you think that the circumstances actually helped the process?

KC: It was a very bare-bones shoot, by necessity.  I didn’t have a lot of money, but I wanted to pay everyone something for their time.  So that meant having a very small crew, where everyone did multiple jobs.  My cast & crew were terrific and very motivated which made for a wonderful working environment, despite the fact that no one had any down-time on the set.  I did re-shoot a scene that wasn’t working in the film and the re-shoot didn’t work either.  I was basically trying to make a scene work that had never worked in the script.  If I’d been able to hear that in the script stage, I could have avoided that.  I would also budget more for contingency. I learned things doing this film that I don’t think I would have learned if I hadn’t shot the film.  And working under-the-gun definitely made all of the crew think creatively at all times.  While I wouldn’t like to shoot that way again, it was definitely an invaluable experience

 

HF:  You are crowdfunding your film festival campaign through RocketHub.  Why did you decide to use that crowdfunding platform?  And can you update us on your festival status?

KC: I chose RocketHub, because a colleague knew one of the founders, Brian Mecce and suggested I meet with him.  Brian was terrific and gave me concise guidelines for running my campaign, as well as convincing me that I would get more personal attention by going with a smaller organization.  They also have an agreement in place with Fractured Atlas, my fiscal sponsor, so all donations would be tax-deductible for my donors.  They were terrific to work with and I would definitely recommend them.  Since then, my film has been selected to screen in four festivals this summer: VisionFest12 in Tribeca, Long Island International Film Expo, World Music and Independent Film Festival in DC and another that hasn’t been announced yet.

Director Kim Cummings, DP Brian Dilg and Gaffer Thomas Perry getting a long shot of the beach entrance. Needless to say, it was cold!  (Photo by Aja Niesenson)

HF:  Putting together financing for a film is an incredibly difficult process.  Can you give a brief overview of your general financing structure?  What are the benefits and drawbacks of fiscal sponsorship?

KC:  This film is essentially self-financed. I probably went about it a little backwards.  I had a fixed amount of money and I made a budget and shooting schedule and hired crew based on that budget. (I also had a fairly simple script with minimal characters.) I had enough to get through production.  I always assumed that I would do the final edit of the film, but when I got to what I thought was a final cut, it became clear that I needed to bring on an outside editor.  My husband and I made the decision to hire an editor, and while she edited, I wrote grants.  I was awarded a few grants, which helped defray those costs.  When it came time to finish the film, I needed more money for color-correction and sound mixing, so I launched the crowd-funding campaign.  I initially signed up for Fiscal Sponsorship to be able to apply for grants that required a fiscal sponsor.  I think Fractured Atlas is a terrific organization and it’s been great to be able to accept money through a fiscal sponsor and know that my donors can get a tax-deduction.

 

HF:  How important is professional strategy to you?  I don’t mean contrived, opportunistic networking (which I think is a mistake a lot of people make), but forming meaningful creative and professional relationships and moving forward on a particular plan of action.  Do you strategize your career at all?

KC: Setting goals and reviewing them periodically is very important to me.  You have to take yourself seriously as an artist and recognize that in addition to being a creative, you are also a small business owner, especially when you’re producing your own work. I find it sometimes difficult to know what the right next step is, especially as common wisdom changes about the best way to launch your career. There are a lot of established people who will tell you that cream eventually rises to the top.  I don’t think that’s true.  There are a lot of talented people who’s work is not being recognized because it doesn’t fit into current trends or the characters and/or filmmakers aren’t the right gender or race. But being unafraid to ask questions and treating everyone you meet with respect are crucial to being successful.  I work hard to forge long-lasting relationships with people in the business who’s work I respect and admire.  My DP, Brian Dilg, and Co-Producer, Jeremiah Kipp, are both people that I met in an ad hoc filmmaker’s group over 10 years ago and we all work together whenever we can.  We’ve learned how to make films together and have grown together and I love working with them because I know what to expect.  In the past few years, I’ve worked with several talented people who I hope to work with again and again.

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To learn more about this filmmaker and her work, please check out these links:

Website (includes trailer for In Montauk): inmontauk.sirenstalefilms.com
Blog (“Filmmaking, Motherhood and Apple Pie”):  sirenstalefilms.blogspot.com
Facebook (In Montauk)facebook.com (Sign up for the mailing list!!!)
Fractured Atlas (for tax-deductible donations to help fund the festival run for “In Montauk”): facturedatlas.org

SPOTLIGHT: Little Miss Jihad

Little Miss Jihad is a narrative short film written by Toronto-based writer and filmmaker, Stephanie Law.  Inspired by her experiences dealing with the September 11, 2001 attacks, she has nurtured and developed this project for many years.  This spring, she and filmmaker Jessica Wu moved into production and directed this film, and are currently in post-production. Stephanie is a vibrant and passionate filmmaker who has crafted an insightful and important film; she was a finalist at the 2011 Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival’s ‘So You Think You Can Pitch?’ competition.  Stephanie and her dedicated and talented team are currently raising funds for the film.

Stephanie Law (writer/producer/director)

Find a lot more information below, and please help spread the word about Little Miss Jihad!

Check the links at the bottom to connect with Stephanie and help support this important film.

Courtesy of S. Law

Teaser trailer:

 

Crowdfunding through: LMJ website (currently in post-production stage)

Campaign goal: $6,000 (currently 46% funded)

Campaign ends: August 2012

Logline

When 10-year-old, Afghani-American, Sally Khan, discovers that the father she never knew disappeared on September 11, 2001, she becomes convinced that he is a terrorist.  Now if she could only figure out what that means!

Production still. Jasmine Chan as “Sally Khan.” (Courtesy of S. Law)

Synopsis

LITTLE MISS JIHAD is a dark comedy, yes, comedy, about faith, tolerance, and a child’s imagination running away with her.

After her shocking declaration, Sally is not prepared for the backlash that follows.  I mean, who knew wanting to be a terrorist… would make people so mad?  Sally’s Aunt grounds her, leaving Sally cut off from her usual, reliable source of intel: Wikipedia.  So Sally enlists her best friend, Daniel, to help her prove that her Dad was a terrorist; it’s the only logical explanation why he hasn’t tried contacting her.  He obviously went into hiding.  So convinced of her belief, Sally ignores the impact of her Jihad for the truth on her paranoid community, friends, and family.   Nothing is going to get in her way, and if it does, she’ll just blow it up!  Kidding.  Sorta.  Sally has figured it out, and by becoming a terrorist too, her Dad has to come back for her.  But when mysterious men in black suits appear in her neighbourhood, Sally becomes even more convinced that she’s hit the truth…  She was so right! 

But then… where is her Dad?

Production still. Martin Lindquist, Lisa Robinson, Davis Ryan. (Courtesy of S. Law)

On the LMJ website, director Stephanie Law shares how this film came to be, and says:

“It comes out of my own memories of 9/11—where I was when we found out about the attacks (having our school photos taken)—and that clear loss of innocence.”

Read about the history of this film here

Production still. Melanie Leon as “Farah Khan.” (Courtesy of S. Law)

Production still. Rahim Hajee as “Agent Finch.” (Courtesy of S. Law)

Credits

Stephanie Law (Writer/Producer/Director)
Jessica Wu (Producer/Director)
Adam Crosby (Director of Photography)

(Complete crew credits are available on the LMJ website.)

Connect with this filmmaker and learn more about this new film:

Facebook: /LittleMissJihad

Twitter: @LittleMissJihad

Website:  LittleMissJihadFilm.com
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Do you have a film you are trying to finance that you would like to feature here?  Send us an email with a website and social media page(s) for your film.