"Sophisticated" will finally tell the story of this great unsung heroine... Hollywood's first female director, Dorothy Arzner.
Let's "right" history TOGETHER... NOW's the time!
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Check out our project Teaser Trailer:
What's so Important about this Story?
Dorothy Arzner's accomplishments were many. Not only was she the first woman to direct in the Hollywood studio system, she was the only woman for her entire career... nearly 2 decades. She is credited with more films than any other woman in Hollywood to date. Dorothy directed the first "talkie" for Paramount, inventing the boom mic in the process, was the first woman in the DGA, launched the careers of screen legends like Lucille Ball, Katharine Hepburn and more. She accomplished so much, yet, nobody knows her name.
We all know that across the board, women have been underrepresented in leadership positions.
Things ARE shifting in politics: for the first time ever there are 20 women in the Senate. In business, according to The Wall Street Journal, just 15.6% of corporate board seats at Fortune 1000 companies are held by women (up 1% from last year – at least that’s something) but even today, in the entertainment industry, women make up only 14% in the directors chair.
If nobody knows Dorothy Arzner, is this 14% really a surprise?
It's time her story is known.
It's not politics, it's not big business, but it is the entertainment industry...the industry that affects and informs our culture in a huge way. This industry teaches us things, shows us possibility. It gets in.
Together, we can finally tell the story of this incredibly inspiring unsung heroine. We can inspire women to see that accomplishments like Dorothy's are possible... That it's always been possible!
More About the screenplay by Marilyn Freeman
Dorothy's career in the film biz started in the 1920's, when a woman's entry involved her good looks or a typewriter. Fate landed Dorothy in front of the latter, but her drive to be somebody fueled her as she pioneered her way, against the odds, to the directors chair.
Dorothy's personal life was even more rich and interesting than her professional life. As the story unfolds, we see into this complicated, unique woman as she struggles with her drive to go toe-to-toe with the system while haunted by a calling to true love, her weakness for young starlets and her challenge to have to choose.
In the 1940's, Dorothy walked away from Hollywood, never to direct for the studios again. The reason is a mystery.... or is it!
Through all the challenge, Arzner builds a prolific career, arguably still unmatched by any female director in history. She ultimately remains true to herself in love and career. She chooses personal integrity over professional compromise, love over glamor, and authenticity over conformity. The true greatness of Dorothy Arzner springs from being true to herself.
A Bit About Our Team
WENDY HAINES PRODUCER
Wendy Haines brings over 20 successful years in the Entertainment Industry coupled with an entrepreneurial background in business management. Along with her passion for collaboration, Wendy brings a visionary ability combined with practical business perspective, which makes for the combination of a winning producer. Ms. Haines’ goal is to inspire a collaborative effort to write this unsung heroine back into history.
MARILYN FREEMAN WRITER
Marilyn Freeman is a writer, media artist, and scholar. She is currently a visiting artist at The Evergreen State College and founded the digital media arts studio, Wovie, in 2000. Freeman’s screenplay, Sophisticated: The Hollywood Story of Miss Dorothy Arzner, garnered development support from Centrum, the Washington State Artist Trust (Media Arts Fellowship and Gap Grant), and The Arch & Bruce Brown Foundation. As screenwriter, Ms. Freeman brings her extensive knowledge and vision to the project and is responsible for rewrites and polishes of the Sophisticated screenplay.
RONNIE YESKEL CASTING DIRECTOR
Ronnie Yeskel has had a prolific career casting film and television since 1989. Projects of note are Pulp Fiction (1994), Bean (1997), Hope Floats (1998), Atlas Shrugged: Part 1 (2011), and The Sessions (2012), which won the Audience Award at Sundance in 2012. This merely scratches the surface of her extensive resume. Ronnie’s many awards over the years include 2 CSA Artios award wins and 7 nominations, an Emmy nomination and a Method Fest Heart of Performance Award win. She brings to the table her wealth of experience and love of independent film.
RACHEL MORRISION CINEMATOGRAPHER
Rachel has photographed 8 narrative films in the last 3 years. She will have her fourth film at Sundance in 2013. Several other narrative and documentary features, have also screened at some of the top film festivals including Sundance, Tribeca, and Camerimage. Rachel’s work has also been featured on most major TV networks including HBO, ABC, MTV, IFC, BIOGRAPHY, COMEDY CENTRAL, E!, CBS, and OWN. She has garnered numerous awards for her work and was nominated for an Emmy in Cinematography for her contribution to Riker’s High a documentary about the high school within the Riker’s Island Prison system.
TAMARA MEEM EDITOR
Tamara Meem has edited numerous feature films including Fox Searchlight’s 'Sound of My Voice' (2011), seen at Sundance and South by Southwest, 'I Am I' (2012), 'Mammu, es Tevi milu' (2012), and 'Subject: I Love You' (2009). Awards include the Dendy Award at the Sydney Film Festival, a SMPTE award, the Peoples' choice award at the Bondi Film Festival, as well as many award-winning short films, which screened at the Tribeca Film Festival, Annecy FF, and was awarded Best Film Editing at the St Kilda Film Festival, Australia, 'Shadowplay' in 2008. Tamara has also worked as an Assistant Editor in film and television
Letter From Wendy
For four years, I served as Artistic Director for a non-profit that brought together a diverse cast of teens from all over LA. Over the course of 8 months, we explored the stories of these kids' lives. We learned about racism, sexism, ageism and by combining social change and the performing arts, we created an original musical based on their lives and their discoveries and ideas for how to create more harmony in a diverse world. It was here that I truly learned the power of story.
We all have a story. Stories can create change... Dorothy's story is not only powerful in what she accomplished, but, at the heart of it's message, we discover, as did Dorothy, that "true greatness lies in being true to yourself". Inspiring.
As I have spearheaded this project as Producer, my passion has been fueled by Dorothy's quest to do what no woman had done before. And the idea to create this "movement" hit me like a light bulb. Making this accessible to everyone, by asking $1, and sharing forward the message to bring 10 friends on board. Creating a movement for Dorothy. Inspiring.
We ALL desire to be inspired.
We ALL want to be a part of something.
We ALL can understand the power of seeing one of our stories that should have never been forgotten.
Think of the how amazing the power of your $1 and then getting ten friends to do the same can be.
Together, we can do this! Let's make history together.
PS(if you have more questions about the project, feel free to contact me - link is up and right - under my name)
How's your buck gonna help? We are at the stage of making this film where we are ready to “attach” talent. The talent is critical to the success of a film. Our goal of $100,000 positions us to make this happen. Is $100,000 a lot of money? Yes. Is it ambitious? Yes. In the complex world of independent filmmaking, a lot of strategy comes into play... Strategy that includes timing, momentum, relationships and yes, money. This is your chance to give this project the lift that it needs to come to fruition. Have more questions about this stuff? Cool! Contact me (under my name in upper right corner) and I will be happy to go into more detail! What's the RUSH? With a Kickstarter campaign, here's the deal: YOU must REACH YOUR GOAL WITHIN the TIMEFRAME, or the project receives NONE of the donations. IT'S AN ALL-OR-NOTHING CHALLENGE! **WE HAVE UNTIL JANUARY 10TH AT 11am**
Risks and challenges
Anyone in the movie biz will tell you, getting a movie made is a miracle unto itself. And one of my big challenges along the way, has been the balance of pushing things forward when necessary and having patience, when it's due.
The "attachment" phase is going to challenge my patience-meter. The script will be going out to talent, and then... we wait. Ugh. And the next major step in the project hinges on getting the right talent attached, so, it's a high-stakes, patient process. Exciting and a bit daunting.
Film making is a risky business. I understand that now in ways I never knew I would. There's the risk of the project never taking off, never being completed, the risk that no one will see it... there a lots of risks.
Thus far, I've also been at this on my own... pouring my time, passion and resources into "Sophisticated". It feels risky to invite others to jump on board with me... "Am I crazy?", "is it just me that is so intrigued by Dorothy?", "will other people really support this?"
In those scary moments, I remember how many times I've seen faces light up when I talk about Dorothy, how people lean in to hear more and how jaws drop when they learn of her and can't believe they don't know her name. This passion for Dorothy's story that captivated me seems contagious.
There has also been a ton to risk, a TON to learn. And with every new stage of the project, there is always more. But there's not a day that I regret taking the reins of this project. I just SO believe in it.
Every time I'm at an impass, or need guidance, I reach out for answers and find incredibly, established, generous people who are more than willing to give me their time and encouragement. I am thrilled with how far this project has come. I promise to continue to bring all of my resourcefulness and passion (and willingness to take RISKS) to the table to make this project a reality.
It has been a wild ride and I'm not goin home til it's DONE! Until YOU can proudly walk into a theater to see "Sophisticated", knowing YOU were a part of making it happen.
- (30 days)