Set in a quiet beach town in grunge-saturated 1994, Pans puts a feminist twist on the classic, Peter Pan. Wynne Darling, 15, is physically broken, socially displaced, and emotionally torn between her newly separated parents.
With nowhere to turn, Wynne hooks up with a new crowd led by bad boy skateboarder, Pete, and his riot grrrl sister, Belle. Surrounded by "lost boys” and with the help of found friendship, Wynne learns what it means to grow up of her own free will...
Thematically, PANS is a deeply personal story about sexual assault and the isolation and shame that keeps many young women and girls from sharing their stories and outing their assailants. It's also the story of unlikely sisterhood, solidarity, and the timeless and systemic complexities of growing up girl.
In this vert ramp meets surfer-bro Neverland, the “lost boys” are the skateboarders and the “pirates” are the surfers and Wendy/Wynne and Tinker Bell/Belle are teenage girls who must break out of their archetypal “mother” and “mean girl” molds in order to redefine who they are to each other and themselves.
I wrote PANS to empower and validate teenage girls and embolden young women to be unapologetic in their art, awareness, and necessary rebellion.
I spent much of my childhood LOVING Peter and the lost boys while despising Wendy and Tinker Bell, who were depicted in the book and Disney adaptation as overly protective/maternal-to-a-fault/wet blanket (Wendy) and jealous/vindictive/mean spirited/mean girl (Tinker Bell).
In Peter’s world, as well as in my learned experience, boys were curious adventure-seekers who slouched and got dirty and had all kinds of fun being irresponsible and boyish. They were curfew-less mischief-makers, digging their tools into trees and their heels onto gas pedals. They crashed into each other with their bodies and everyone applauded. They were allowed to be WILD.
Over the years I drew parallels between the story of Peter Pan and my own adolescence. I grew up, in the way Wendys do, and in doing so realized there was much more to this story—that in so many ways, Peter Pan represented what was lacking in fairy tales and bedtime stories and all works of art written, directed and conceived by men.
I read Barrie's Peter Pan several times through the years, always looking for a Wendy I couldn’t find. It became clear to me that while Wendy was intended to be the heroine all along—the protagonist—she remained practically invisible. Ubiquitous, yes, but also unnecessary—a girl transported into a world of boys only to be used as a sort of tool for contrast. Wendy's practicality and realism gave Peter and the boys that much more appeal. As for Wendy, we never got a chance to see her magic. And I realized I had been living my story within the pages of other people's manuscripts -- appeasing the stories of others, at the risk of losing my own.
I wrote PANS to change the story—to change OUR story.
The Future is Female
Over the last decade, I have marveled at teenage destination sites like Teen Vogue, Rookie Mag, School of Doodle—all fearless in their exploration of issues pertaining specifically to teenage girls. I have also worked personally as a blogger on the Internet, uniting with women and girls in my community to support, elevate and empower female-driven storytelling. If girls and women are successfully finding and embracing themselves and each other on the Internet, why aren’t they seeing themselves on the big screen? Where are the films portraying the trials and triumphs of sisterhood, of girls fearlessly and shamelessly telling their truths? PANS is the movie I wished we had as teenaged girls. It's also the movie I wish we had now.
So much kismet happened while working on PANS -- reminders at every turn that making this movie is not only important for me and countless other women, but young girls who don’t have the opportunity to watch their stories on the big screen -- specifically stories about what it means to rise up against rape and resist the culture that supports it.
In PANS, Wendy reclaims her power after being stripped of it by her assaulter and her female community who didn’t believe her side of the story. This theme resonates now more than ever.
In the last few months, I have looked to myself and other women in my community to be the leaders. I have looked to my peers and a younger generation of outspoken young people who are unafraid and unapologetic in their dissent. I have repeated ad nauseam to my children, to my family, to myself, that maybe it was never about one woman leading the free world but MILLIONS OF US leading ourselves and each other. Maybe WE ARE THE ONES WE'VE BEEN WAITING FOR.
Sometimes it takes the rise of a villain for us all to become superheroes. And sometimes it takes writing fictional stories for us to realize our truths. If more women could tell the stories...if more women could cast more women, could hire more women, could explore more women’s stories, maybe we wouldn't have to fight so hard to be heard.
Hollywood certainly prides itself on being a liberal mecca but pay attention and you'll see that toxic masculinity, whitewashing, racism, misogyny and chauvinism (showvanism?) are Hollywood institutions. Female directors STILL make up only 7% of the top 250 grossing films and the vast majority of films lack female representation behind the camera.
ED: In 2014, 85% of films had no female directors, 80% had no female writers, 33% had no female producers, 78% had no female editors and 92% had no female cinematographers, according to the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University. And while sexism is CLEARLY a problem behind the scenes, on-screen storytelling ripples WORLDWIDE. Consumers have always been in control. We don't have to eat what is put on our plate. We can (and I believe we should) demand better.
As well as casting an inclusive and female led cast, we are currently crewing up with the goal to employ as many women on set as possible.
And also to Danielle Hull for designing our T-shirts and pins!
You can snag your own by backing our campaign and strutting down the street in all of your unapologetic glory because YESSSSSSSSSS.
We love you. We need you. (We are so grateful for your help!)
Beyond donating to our campaign (THANK YOU SO INCREDIBLY MUCH!) we SO appreciate your support in helping us get the word out about this campaign.
Crowdfunding is a grassroots effort and in order to make this campaign successful, we need YOU and your social media prowess!
We would love for you to follow us on twitter, here, like us on Facebook, here, and join us on Instagram, here. PLEASE SHARE FAR AND WIDE with anyone you think might be interested in supporting our campaign! And also with people who might not be interested because YOU NEVER KNOW, YOU KNOW!?
Thank you! We love you! SO much.
Risks and challenges
Raising money to fund a film about teenage girls rebelling against the nuances of rape culture is a bit of a challenge. The subject matter is something we take very seriously and our first priority is to support our teen heroines as well as women and girls who relate to the universality of Wynne and Belle's experiences.
By supporting our project you are giving us the autonomy to tell our story authentically.
Riot Grrl and Bikini Kill front woman Kathleen Hanna famously stood on her stage, microphone in hand and screamed, “GIRLS TO THE FRONT!” before playing her shows. She did this because she wanted girls and women to feel safe in the mosh pit. She wanted to create an atmosphere that empowered women and girls to find each other and help each other grow into better versions of themselves. And that is exactly what this film aims to do.
Thank you so much for helping make our film come true.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (29 days)