STARLET is a feature film that explores
the unlikely cross-generational friendship between 21 year-old Jane (Dree
Hemingway), and the elderly Sadie (Besedka Johnson), two women whose worlds
collide in California's San Fernando Valley.
After a confrontation between the women at Sadie's yard sale, Jane
uncovers a hidden stash of money inside a relic from Sadie's past. Jane faces a moral dilemma on whether or not to keep the found money and attempts to befriend the caustic older woman in an effort to solve her quandary. Secrets emerge as their relationship grows.
Director Sean Baker continues in the naturalistic style of his
previous films, the Spirit Award nominated PRINCE OF BROADWAY and TAKE OUT,
capturing the rhythms of everyday life with an authenticity rarely seen in
cinema. There is also a dose of comedy that Baker has become known for from the Greg the Bunny series.
The final phase:
STARLET world premiered at the South by Southwest Film Festival (SXSW) this past March where it was one of the most buzzed about titles, and received Special Jury Recognition for Besedka Johnson's performance. Currently we are gearing up for what should be a great international festival run. And we are extremely fortunate to have been acquired by Music Box Films for a North American release. They are planning on distributing the film this fall theatrically, followed by a home entertainment rollout.
But first we need to complete the film and deliver it to our distributor. We need to do a proper sound mix, color correction, acquire E&O insurance, and purchase rights to the music in the film. There was also incurred debt from the SXSW premiere. This consisted of much needed PR and Sales Representation that lead to our deal with Music Box.
We are asking for $50,000, which is the bare minimum we need to complete the film. Every extra dollar over 50K will only make the film better and get the filmmakers out of debt.
Filmmaking is an incredibly expensive art-form and up to this point we've had to be extremely resourceful to get the film ready to be screened at festivals. But now we need your help in order to get the film released. If we reach our goal of $50,000 we will finish the film and it will be distributed as the filmmakers envisioned. If we fall short of the goal we receive nothing and this will delay the film's release perhaps indefinitely. Sean Baker's previous film PRINCE OF BROADWAY took over 2 long years to get a theatrical release. We don't want to repeat that with STARLET.
We can't do it without your help!
Please support our campaign in anyway you can. Every donation counts! By contributing you are sending a clear message to the industry that there is an audience for truly independent films. STARLET is most definitely a title that would never be made by the studio system.
Please post this link on your Facebook pages or Tweet about it. Send the link to your friends and family. And encourage your favorite blogs and websites to cover the campaign.
More about the film:
STARLET features the lead role debut of breakout model and actress Dree Hemingway (daughter of Mariel and great-granddaughter of Ernest), and the acting debut of 85-year-old Besedka Johnson, who was discovered at a YMCA in West Hollywood by executive producer Shih-Ching Tsou. Johnson received Special Jury Recognition for her performance at the 2012 SXSW Film Festival. Both performances were declared "exceptional" by VARIETY.
The cast also features Stella Maeve who has quickly become one of Hollywood's most sought after young actresses appearing in television series' such as GREY'S ANATOMY, and the upcoming CBS series GOLDEN BOY, and films such as THE RUNAWAYS.
James Ransone is best known for his roles as Ziggy Sobotka on the second season of HBO's THE WIRE, and as Josh Ray Person on GENERATION KILL. More recently he's been seen in HBO's HOW TO MAKE IT IN AMERICA and TREME and will be in the upcoming features SINISTER opposite Ethan Hawke and Vincent D'Onofrio, BROKEN CITY with Russell Crowe, Mark Wahlberg and Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Spike Lee's RED HOOK SUMMER.
Karren Karagulian was last seen in PRINCE OF BROADWAY as Levon, and has appeared in all of Baker's films, plays Arash in STARLET.
Reactions from SXSW:
"Full of hilarious detail and vivid supporting characters. A beautifully directed tale of loneliness and human connection that lingers long after its closing credits".
"Signals the arrival of Dree Hemingway as one to watch. Besedka Johnson is equal parts heartbreaking, lovely and inspiring in her performance. Another standout is Stella Maeve".
"Sean Baker proves again that he's one of independent cinema's brightest stars. Starlet has a timeless cinematic richness".
Hammer to Nail
"Doesn't fit into easy categories and doesn't offer Hollywood answers".
New York Times
"A provocative showcase for newcomer Dree Hemingway".
"Pairs story and setting perfectly".
The Hollywood Reporter
"Will have you laughing genuinely one minute and clutching your chest with desperation the next. Sean Baker has created a modern classic and a certain star in this intoxicating film".
"Hands-down my absolute favorite film from SXSW. Brilliant for its nuanced and complex portrayals of its characters. Dree Hemingway is stunning".
34th Street Magazine