A documentary that takes us into the tumultuous and dramatic private life of one of America’s greatest sex icons.
“As a child I would go to the movies, and I'd tell myself the stars were backstage, right behind the screen, and someday I'd meet them. Long after I was too old to believe such things, I still pretended. Because I knew one day I would get there.” ~Tempest Storm
THE PURSUIT OF A DREAM
She captured the hearts of millions, was girlfriend to Elvis and mistress to JFK. She was a friend to Marilyn Monroe and made a movie with Bettie Paige. But before Tempest Storm became one of America’s greatest sex icons, she was Annie Blanche Banks, an uneducated girl from Southern Georgia who spent her childhood under the sweltering heat picking cotton.
She survived rape, poverty, and abuse in her youth, only to be betrayed by MGM at the height of her career and lose her contract for falling in love with an African American man. And through it all she remained a dreamer, a woman who believed she was destined for more. She learned to rise above, and found the power within herself to transform her pain into strength to become an unstoppable force.
Today, Tempest Storm is 84 years old. She is one of the last surviving sex icons of her time. In a year that has seen the passing of many of her peers in the burlesque world, this documentary will serve as a record of an undocumented history.
Tempest Storm: Burlesque Queen is a funny, intimate and controversial portrait of a provocateur, feminist, and world-renown entertainer who is ready to set the record straight.
We have exclusive access to Tempest as well as her intimate circle of friends, which includes people close to Elvis who have agreed to on-camera interviews. We also have privileged access to all of Tempest’s personal letters and scrapbooks as well as never-before seen photos and footage from her relationships and home life.
This is Tempest’s private life uncensored, as told by the Queen of Burlesque herself.
GOING BACK TO LAS VEGAS
Tempest Storm: Burlesque Queen began production earlier this year, in March 2013. The filmmakers used their savings to fund the first two trips to Las Vegas. They recruited award-winning cinematographer Lindsay George, who jumped on board and volunteered her services for production, along with celebrated photographer Matilda Temperley who is based out of the UK. Everyone on the team felt a need to act fast. While Tempest has a firecracker personality and amazing sense of humor, she has had a series of health emergencies over the last few years and is quite frail. Our team felt it was a risk to delay shooting; the time was now to start documenting her story.
We want to tell stories that matter and that will make a difference. Our films are about empowering women and we have made award-winning documentaries (65_RedRoses, Blood Relative) that advocate for gender equality and access to healthcare. Now we want to bring Tempest’s story to life, and her struggles have always been deeply connected to the rights of women. She was a trailblazer, a businesswoman in an industry run by mobsters and dominated by men. She continues to be a role model to young women today, but this is the first time she is opening up her private life to film cameras. Her story has never been made into a documentary before. We don’t know how much time Tempest has left, and while she doesn’t plan on leaving this world anytime soon, she feels this might be her last chance to tell her own story, in her own words.
Producers: Kaitlyn Regehr & Nimisha Mukerji; Director: Nimisha Mukerji; Cinematographer: Lindsay George; Photographer Matilda Temperley; Music: Ori Dagan
WHAT THIS KICKSTARTER WILL DO
This Kickstarter will enable us to return to Vegas for 4 weeks so that we can finish getting our main interview with Tempest. While there, we will also film interviews with her closest friends and capture the drama that is unfolding with her career. She wants to launch a clothing line as well as stage a comeback show in New York next year. We’ll follow her as she goes through her day-to-day life, and capture the ups and downs of her work while focusing on the larger story: how has her career effected her personal relationships with her family? She lives in Vegas alone and rarely communicates with relatives. The story unfolding in the present is one of reconciliation and forgiveness.
Filming in Vegas for extensive periods is a challenge, even with a small crew of 5. Our Kickstarter goal of $40,000 will cover airfare, lodging, transportation, equipment rentals, food for the production crew, hard drives, insurance and van rentals for our final two trips to Vegas. We’ve also budgeted in the costs of creating the rewards, shipping them to you and the 10% fee for Kickstarter and Amazon.
The more funds we raise, the better we can make this film! Right now we’re focusing on getting all our interviews and footage with Tempest, but if we can raise more than $40,000 we can travel to Georgia to interview her immediate family members, who can tell us about Tempest in the early part of her life. They have photos that even Tempest doesn’t have in her possession and we know they can give us insight into her childhood growing up in a volatile home. Their interviews will add depth and meaning to Tempest’s own struggle to escape Southern Georgia in her teenage years.
HOW THE FUNDS WILL BE DISBURSED
REWARDS FOR BACKERS
As a backer of Tempest Storm: Burlesque Queen, you'll be with us all the way through the process of making this film. You’ll receive exclusive updates, get access to Tempest Storm’s personal scrapbooks and photos, and have the opportunity to meet the Queen of Burlesque in person in Las Vegas!
We want you to know how much your contribution means to everyone involved with this film, so we’ve included rewards that are as much about providing you with a personal, memorable experience as they are about giving you vintage exclusive items.
As a backer of our project you’re not only becoming a member of our team, but you’re also bringing this remarkable history to life! This is a dream Tempest has carried with her for a long time, and with your help we can make it happen!
Follow Tempest Storm on twitter @RealTempest
Risks and challenges
So perhaps you’re thinking, what happens next after this Kickstarter? How will the filmmakers continue this project?
We are well aware that we need more than $40K to finish this film, and so far we are happy to report that after only a few months of filming we’ve seen an outpour of support for the film. There have been many donations of services, time and locations to this project. At Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend we interviewed one of Tempest’s favorite burlesque stars, Dita Von Teese, who spoke with us about the impact Tempest has had on a new generation of performers. The hit show Absinthe at Caesar’s Palace generously donated time (as well as their lighting technicians) so that we could film Tempest on stage. Some of the biggest names in the world of burlesque are rallying in support of this project!
Right now our focus is on making sure that we don’t miss any key moments in Tempest’s life and that we have our main interview with her complete. We have already been selected to present at Toronto International Film Festival’s Pitch This Forum (we were the only feature documentary selected). We have the industry’s support; they want to see this film get made. So as we are simultaneously raising the profile of the film in the entertainment world, we are also thinking about the next film shoots we will need to make in order to complete production on the film.
All funds beyond our goal will help greatly as we continue to film with Tempest and her friends and family. Later this year Tempest plans on returning to Georgia (she has not been home in over a decade and thinks it will be her last trip there).
We are so excited to keep filming and get this important story on the big screen! Thanks for believing in this project and helping spread the word!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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