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Maverick columnist Molly Ivins lampooned “politics as usual,”  dared us to care, take action and Raise Hell!
Maverick columnist Molly Ivins lampooned “politics as usual,”  dared us to care, take action and Raise Hell!
Maverick columnist Molly Ivins lampooned “politics as usual,”  dared us to care, take action and Raise Hell!
1,613 backers pledged $120,230 to help bring this project to life.

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RAISE HELL: The Life & Times of Molly Ivins

$120,230

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MOLLY & BONNIE!
MOLLY & BONNIE!

Three years ago, I learned, there had never been a film made about Molly Ivins. I couldn’t believe it. To me, she was and is an American icon in the vein of Mark Twain. She was hilarious and used a razor sharp wit to speak truth to power and give voice to those that didn’t have one. Who does that today? Molly was a pundit before there were pundits - a populist to the core. At the height of her popularity, nearly 400 papers carried her column. She was a best selling author and appeared on national television and radio programs and lectured all of the country. I couldn’t imagine Molly Ivins just becoming a footnote in history so I set out to make this documentary.  
- Janice Engel, Director/Producer

A trailblazer for female journalists how did Molly Ivins, who came of age in the 1950’s, a daughter of oil and gas privilege from River Oaks, one of Houston’s wealthiest enclaves become one of America’s greatest populists?

Early on, Molly was outraged by the disparity of wealth and opportunity between her family and those of color, so she joined the civil rights movement in East Texas. These formative experiences set Molly on her life long path of activism. Clearly a debutante destiny was not in the cards.

Molly came up through the journalistic ranks at a time when women entering the field were relegated to the “snake pit,” a misogynistic term for the women’s columns: food, fashion and gardens. She was having none of that. At the age of 26, Molly became the first woman to co-edit the Texas Observer, one of the only liberal newspapers in the U.S. She later went on to become a best selling author.

She honed her skills by standing toe to toe with the politicians at the Texas legislature where she would drink them under the table. Her prolific liver earned her welcome into the good ol’ boys club. Molly’s wry good olʼ gal Texas voice publicly sucker-punched the arrogant and the entitled and gave voice to those who suffered from their abuse. She was beholden to no one and set a tone and direction that’s been adopted by comedians Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert today.

Hers was a prescient voice, bringing attention to what she saw as a crisis in American democracy. She fought particularly hard for campaign finance reform to keep from what she called, “big bidness” from influencing political decisions. Molly wrote and said, “Either we figure out how to keep the corporate cash out of the political system or we lose the democracy.” This is an issue our nation is still grappling with.

Molly was a fighter against injustice until the very end, when breast cancer took her out of the game way too soon.

More than a biography, Raise Hell is also a socio-political commentary that will make you laugh.

The documentary unfolds through visually intimate interviews of Mollyʼsʼ childhood friends, family and colleagues. In contrast interviews with politicians, pundits and pontificators from both sides of the political spectrum will be dramatically lit to illustrate the black and white polarization of “politics as usual.”

These interviews will be juxtaposed with footage from her personal appearances and, from her personal archives, a trove of photos, writings and audio recordings never before seen and heard. Graphics will animate quotes from her columns with images of Texas iconography to visually illustrate Mollyʼs satiric writings.

There will be no narration in Raise Hell. Molly's voice is the voice we want to hear, to laugh with, learn from and be inspired by. Underscoring all of this will be regional music driving the narrative forward: Texas honky-tonk blues, civil rights anthems and a composer written score.

Molly Ivins’ story has never been told. Many of her “beloveds” lament that she is gone as do we. Team Raise Hell is concerned that many citizens especially younger generations do not know who she is and how she utilized humor to get people to pay attention to the issues of the day.

“Politics is not a picture on a wall or a television sitcom that you can decide you don’t much care for…politics is not about those people in Washington…it’s our deal, we run this country, we are the board of directors, we own it, they are just the people we’ve hired to drive the bus for a while…” - Molly Ivins

Who today can fill those large shoes? Mollyʼs death created a vacuum that has yet to be filled. Raise Hell will bring Mollyʼs larger-than-life personality back for those who are missing her and longing to hear that unique Texan voice but even more importantly introduce her to those who never knew her.

DIRECTOR-PRODUCER JANICE ENGEL is an award winning filmmaker who has created numerous documentaries, non-fiction specials and television series including: Jackson Browne: Going Home, (Cable Ace-Award) and Ted Hawkins Amazing Grace, (Rose D’Or Special Jury prize for the film that best reflects human values); as a show-runner, the provocative docuseries, Addicted, (recipient of a 2011 Prism Award for Accuracy in Depiction of Drug Addiction).

Under her own banner, Two Rivers Productions, Janice created What We Carry an ongoing, interactive documentary series dedicated to preserving Holocaust survivors’ stories for generations to come; presented at Yad Vashem in Israel, July 2014. The common through line in much of her work is her passion for political activism, speaking truth to power and standing up for the underdog.

She is also an Adjunct Professor at the Motion Picture Television Department of the Academy of Art University, San Francisco, and sits on the Barnsdall Art Park Foundation as Vice President and Chair for the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery.

PRODUCER JAMES EGAN is a professor, producer, screenwriter, and is currently serving as the Executive Director of the School of Motion Pictures and Television at the Academy of Art University. He founded Wild at Heart Films in July 2000 to create "Media that Makes a Difference." With Wild at Heart, James has produced a number of award-winning films, including Jackpot (2001), co-produced with Participant Media the documentary Angels in the Dust (2007), with Mike Figgis. Executive produced Kimjongilia (2009), and Sound of Redemption (2014) partnered with international best seller, Michael Connelly.

Wild at Heart films has also produced The Defector directed by Oscar winner, Mark Harris. James was the editor of John Waters Interviews, a book in the prestigious series, Conversations with Filmmakers. Professor Egan serves as a National Trustee of the Wounded Marine Careers Foundation that works with entertainment professionals to train wounded members of the military, aiding them in finding careers in the film and television industry.

PRODUCER CARLISLE VANDERVOOT is a born and bred Houstonian, who returned from working in Los Angeles and New York to her roots, much like Molly Ivins. Vandervoort and Molly Ivins are cut from the same cloth – both were raised in Houston, attended the same private school, and made the rounds of debutante parties. Something deeper however, links these daughters of Texas, their family members were involved in backroom business dealings in the Oil and Gas business, and the volatile race issues that divided Texas and the South in the 1950s and ‘60s. Vandervoort’s paternal grandmother was an early advocate of school integration while serving on the Houston School Board which resulted in her vitriolic hate mail and a cross burning in her front yard. Both Vandervoort and Molly Ivins pushed back against these entrenched customs through their individual social activism and progressive politics.

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER SUNDANCE PRODUCTIONS launched and founded in 2012 by Robert Redford and Laura Michalchyshyn, Sundance Productions develops and produces innovative, compelling television content for linear and digital platforms in the U.S. and around the world. Sundance Productions partners with leading story-tellers, directors, and producers for the production of authentic tentpole series and specials across all platforms.

EDITOR KATE AMEND, ACE is the editor of the Academy Award-winning documentary features The Long Way Home, (1998) and Into The Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport, (2001) for which she received the American Cinema Editors' Eddie award. She teaches fiction and documentary production courses for USC’s School of Cinematic Arts. Amend edited the 2001 Oscar-nominated documentary short On Tiptoe: Gentle Steps to Freedom and the Peabody Award winner Beah: A Black Woman Speaks. She is a frequent advisor at the Sundance Institute’s Documentary Storytelling Lab and the National Association of Latino Independent Producers' Academy.

WRITER MARK MONROE is an award-winning documentary filmmaker whose theatrical writing credits include: The Summit (Winner, Best Editing Sundance 2013), Who is Dayani Cristal? (Winner, Best Cinematography, Sundance 2013), Sound City, The Cove (Winner, Best Documentary 2010 Academy Awards & Best Documentary Script, W.G.A. 2010), The Tillman Story, Chasing Ice (Winner, Best Cinematography Sundance 2012), Stolen Seas, Last Play at Shea, Once in a Lifetime: The Extraordinary Story of the New York Cosmos (W.G.A. nomination "Best Documentary Script", 2007), Amazing Journey: The Story of The Who, and writer-director, Morning Light, Disney Pictures. A journalism graduate from the University of Oklahoma, Mark began his career in television as a newswriter for CNN in Atlanta. Before writing for film, he produced more than sixty hours of biography-style programming for television.

CONTENT ADVISOR BETSY MOON is an independent political & publishing consultant living in Austin, Texas. Her work with Jim Hightower, Molly Ivins and the ACLU of Texas over the last 20 years has given her a wide knowledge of and contact with many luminaries, journalists & progressive populist organizations.

Betsy was Molly Ivins’ “Chief of Stuff” during the final six years of Molly’s life. As Molly’s researcher, scheduler and executive & personal assistant, she was liaison with Ivins' lecture agency & newspaper syndicate, public interest groups, other reporters, media outlets, journalism groups, universities, personal friends, the public, fans, medical advisors and supplicants of every sort. She researched for and helped Molly produce several syndicated columns a week, countless magazine articles and three books; Bushwhacked, Who Let the Dogs In? and Bill of Wrongs. The connections she has established in the last two decades are invaluable as a resource for RAISE HELL.

We are thrilled to accept any of the following in lieu of a cash donation:

  • MILEAGE TO FLY
  • LODGING ON SHOOTS
  • CAR USAGE
  • CATERING
  •  OUTREACH/PROMO SUPPORT
  • RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT SUPPORT

If you want to help but can't donate right now, you can use these links to share our campaign with people who may be interested or contact us about local screenings in your area. Twitter and Facebook and let your friends know using the hashtag #RAISEHELL #mollyivins

No gift is too small. By supporting this campaign, you are actually making this film with us!

Risks and challenges

Our biggest challenge will be timing. We want to make this film and tell this story as soon as we possibly can, but there may be production delays along the way because of interview scheduling and rights issues.

This will in turn delay the expected delivery for rewards associated with the film itself. If this does happen, we will be sure to update our backers and be completely transparent.

That all said, based on years of experience with film, television, and documentary production, we are confident we will overcome any obstacles we face.

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    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    TEXAS SHOUT OUT
    You'll receive a down home Texas style Thank You on our Facebook page.

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    RED HOT POPULISTS
    You'll receive a thank you credit on our “Kickstarter Supporter” page that will live on our website forever and will be posted on our Facebook page.

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    PONTIFICATOR'S DELIGHT
    From Molly’s personal stash we’ll send you a Flying Pig Postcard with her signature stamp - authenticated by Betsy Moon, Molly Ivins' Chief of Stuff!

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    MOLLY IVINS RINGTONE
    "Get in there and Raise Hell People" - In Molly's own voice.

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    BUBBA’S TREAT
    We will send you a password for a Private Digital Premiere of Film.

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    FOR THE NEWSHOUND
    Sign up and tune in to The Texas Observer with a TWO YEAR Annual subscription - It’s digital folks! (and, it's a $40 value!) We'll also send you all of the previous Molly Digital Download Rewards.

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    TAKE NOTE
    Set of note cards (5) with a series of great Molly Ivins’ photos with the following quotes:

    - “I’m not anti-gun. I’m pro-knife.”
    - “Get in there and RAISE HELL people!”
    - “I believe politics is the finest form of entertainment in the state of Texas: better than the zoo, better than the circus, rougher than football, and even more aesthetically satisfying than baseball.” 
    - “Whatever you do, don’t give up. Because all you can do once you’ve given up is bitch. I’ve know some great bitchers in my time. With some it’s a passion, with others an art.”

    The final card is a quote from our director -
    "Every little girl should know who Molly Ivins was."
    We'll also send you all of the previous Molly Digital Download Rewards.

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    MOLLY’S FAVORITE SAVORY FIXIN'S
    Written in her own handwriting we'll send you a digital download of Molly's Potato Pancake recipe - authenticated by Betsy Moon, Molly Ivins' Chief of Stuff! We'll also send you all of the previous Molly Digital Download Rewards.

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    MOLLY'S FAVORITE SWEET FIXIN'S
    Written in her own handwriting we'll send you a digital download of Molly's special cornbread recipe - authenticated by Betsy Moon, Molly Ivins' Chief of Stuff!. We'll also send you all of the previous Molly Digital Download Rewards.

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    FOREVER "BELOVEDS"
    You will be forever listed by name in OUR FILM CREDITS and on our WEBSITE with a special thank for your contribution and for being one of Molly's "BELOVEDS". We'll also send you all of the previous Molly Digital Download Rewards.

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    "HELLRAISERS" PACKAGE
    We'll send you a full set of Molly’s books (paperback collection)

    - “Molly Ivins Can’t Say That, Can She?” (1991)
    - “Nothing But Good Times Ahead” (1995)
    - “You Gotta Dance With Them That Brung Ya: Politics in the Clinton Years” (1998)
    - “Shrub: The Short But Happy Political Life of George W. Bush” (2000)
    - “Bushwacked: Life in George W. Bush's America” (2003)
    - “Who Let The Dogs In: Incredible Political Animals I Have Known “ (2004)
    - “Bill of Wrongs: The Executive Branch's Assault on America's Fundamental Rights” (2007)
    We'll also send you all of the previous Molly Digital Download Rewards.

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    "HELLRAISERS" PACKAGE - Take 2
    We'll send you a full set of Molly’s books (paperback collection)

    - “Molly Ivins Can’t Say That, Can She?” (1991)
    - “Nothing But Good Times Ahead” (1995)
    - “You Gotta Dance With Them That Brung Ya: Politics in the Clinton Years” (1998)
    - “Shrub: The Short But Happy Political Life of George W. Bush” (2000)
    - “Bushwacked: Life in George W. Bush's America” (2003)
    - “Who Let The Dogs In: Incredible Political Animals I Have Known “ (2004)
    - “Bill of Wrongs: The Executive Branch's Assault on America's Fundamental Rights” (2007)
    We'll also send you all of the previous Molly Digital Download Rewards.

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    CHRISTMAS IN JULY - Molly’s favorite holiday was Christmas. Every year Molly decorated her 12-foot tall tree with a posse of her pals. With that in mind we’re offering a little holiday cheer this summer with an exclusive Christmas photo of Molly along with a set of 3 of Molly’s favorite ornaments — hand picked by Molly’s little elves!
    We'll also send you all of the previous Molly Digital Download Rewards.

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    MOLLY IVINS RAISE HELL T-SHIRT
    RAISE HELL with this EXCLUSIVE T-Shirt designed especially for our film and drawn by Pulitzer Prize winning Cartoonist, Ben Sargent. This is a Limited Edition design — Get ‘em while they're hot!

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    FOR THE 99%
    Receive a copy of the DVD at the same time the film premieres and we'll send you all of the previous Molly Digital Download Rewards.

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    STIRRING IT UP WITH MOLLY IVINS
    A Memoir with Recipes By Ellen Sweets
    Foreword by Lou Dubose
    In this delicious memoir, Molly Ivins' long-time friend and fellow cook offers an intimate, fascinating portrait of the private Molly behind the "professional Texan" through stories of the fabulous meals she prepared for friends and family. We have a limited number of these books signed by the author. We'll also send you all of the previous Molly Digital Download Rewards.

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    HARD COVER COVER-UP
    Hard cover books are making a come back! This combo of "Molly Ivins Can't Say That, Can She?" hard cover edition, from her personal stash, and Raise Hell T-Shirt will inspire you to read Molly's book on the beach and cover up in style with this seasons latest political wear. We'll also send you all of the previous Molly Digital Download Rewards.

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    LITTLE ASS KICKER'S SCREENING
    One Ticket to a Screening in Los Angeles, Texas or New York (travel and Lodging not included). We'll also send you all of the previous Molly Digital Download Rewards.

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    A VERY MOLLY CHRISTMAS - We’ve packaged up a few of Molly’s favorite things into this one-of-a-kind spectacular “Blue Christmas” Package that includes Molly’s Xmas CD collection, an exclusive Christmas photo of Molly and her tree, Molly’s Santa Hat (featured in the picture), her treasured Elvis ornaments and a Wise Man Tree Topper. We'll also send you all of the previous Molly Digital Download Rewards.

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    ASS KICKER'S SCREENING
    Two Tickets to a Screening in Los Angeles, Texas or New York (travel and Lodging not included). We'll also send you all of the previous Molly Digital Download Rewards.

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    ASS KICKER'S SCREENING - TAKE TWO
    Two Tickets to a Screening in Los Angeles, Texas or New York (travel and Lodging not included). We'll also send you all of the previous Molly Digital Download Rewards.

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    ASS KICKER'S SCREENING - TAKE THREE
    Two Tickets to a Screening in Los Angeles, Texas or New York (travel and Lodging not included). We'll also send you all of the previous Molly Digital Download Rewards.

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    LISTEN UP MOLLYITES #1 - We have a special RAISE HELL offering - "Just Guns” - an 11x17 iconic limited edition image of Molly signed and numbered by Photographer Alan Pogue. Each print is museum quality and made from the original negative. We'll also send you all of the previous Molly Digital Download Rewards.

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    LISTEN UP MOLLYITES #2 - We have a special RAISE HELL offering - “Molly Sexy” - an 11x17 iconic limited edition image of Molly signed and numbered by Photographer Alan Pogue. Each print is museum quality and made from the original negative. We'll also send you all of the previous Molly Digital Download Rewards.

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    LISTEN UP MOLLYITES #3 - We have a special RAISE HELL offering - “Molly Editing” - an 11x17 iconic limited edition image of Molly signed and numbered by Photographer Alan Pogue. Each print is museum quality and made from the original negative. We'll also send you all of the previous Molly Digital Download Rewards.

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    BUBBETTE'S EDIT SESSION
    Jump into the edit bay with our director, Janice Engel and our editor, Kate Amend, ACE. This is a rare treat to get to see this talented duo at work. (travel and lodging not included)

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    THE PEOPLE ARE THE DECIDERS!
    We’re kicking off the summer with the “Collective Kick” cartoon - signed by cartoonist Mark Streeter. This political cartoon memorializes Molly Ivins’ “Big as Texas” boots that she loved to wear. (11x17 print) We'll also send you all of the previous Molly Digital Download Rewards.

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    MOLLY'S AMERICAN HERITAGE DICTIONARY
    This dogeared, worn dictionary is signed by Molly and was at her side at all times - authenticated by Betsy Moon, Molly Ivins' Chief of Stuff and Content Advisor. Betsy has given us this treasure to share with you, Molly's "Beloveds." We'll also send you all of the previous Molly Digital Download Rewards.

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    FREEDOM FIGHTER’S PREMIERE - Two Tickets to a Premiere Screening in Texas, Los Angeles or New York and a reception with the Filmmakers. (Travel and lodging not included) We'll also send you all of the previous Molly Digital Download Rewards.

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    PUNDITS & POPULISTS take down your awards and trophies and replace them with this Signed, Limited Edition, Political Cartoon of Molly Ivins by Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist, Ben Sargent. We'll also send you all of the previous Molly Digital Download Rewards.

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    WEDGWOOD ALL THE WAY - When your conservative friends and relatives are forced to eat crow, serve it to them on Molly's Wedgwood China! A full set of 8 place settings - we’ll package it up for you and send it to you in time for the holidays! We'll also send you all of the previous Molly Digital Download Rewards.

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    PONY UP Y'ALL
    A Molly Fan Favorite - The Filmmakers will travel to your town and MC a private screening of Raise Hell for up to 50 of your closest friends. We'll also send you all of the previous Molly Digital Download Rewards.

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    JOIN US AS WE RAISE HELL
    Donate at this level, and you’ll become one of our associate producers, listed as such in the film credits. And, we'll send you all of the previous Molly Digital Download Rewards.

    Want to pledge at this level (or above), but have something else in mind as a special reward? No problem! Contact us at mollyivinsfilm@gmail.com to talk more!

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Funding period

- (47 days)