Check out our great writeup from NPR History Dept. A Fresh Look at American History.
Reenactress was on the FRONT PAGE of the Atlanta Journal Constitution Living Section. Check out the full article here:
Reenactress was featured in Cross Roads News, the weekly newspaper for and about residents of South DeKalb County, in East Metro Atlanta.
Welcome to the Reenactress Kickstarter page. We're so excited to tell you about our movie!
How did this project begin?
My name is J.R. Hardman, and I'm directing this documentary film, Reenactress. A little over 3 years ago, I went to my first Civil War reenactment in Gettysburg, PA, and someone confused me for a reenactor. I wasn't one at the time, but I was fascinated by the history of the Civil War, and I wanted to become a part of brining it to life. However, the unit commander of the first unit that I tried to join up with in my local community, informed me that his group, like many others, did not accept women as soldiers. I learned that women cross-dressing to portray soldiers was "looked down upon" in the hobby. I set out to find out why.
I discovered that the only way to figure out why people would want to keep women out was to try harder to become a reenactor myself, to infiltrate the hobby and learn from the inside. This film showcases the journey I have taken to live history as a female Civil War soldier, the amazing people I have met along the way, and the history of the real women soldiers who fought disguised as men in the Civil War that I have uncovered in the process.
Reenactress: The Battles of Jennie Reb & Betty Yank
The memory of the 400-1000 women who fought disguised as men during the Civil War is preserved in the modern day by female reenactors. Reenactress is a feature-length documentary about women who cross-dress to portray soldiers on the battlefield at Civil War reenactments in the modern day. Reenactress tells the story of women who have broken down the social and legal barriers that prevented them from portraying military roles in the predominantly male hobby of reenacting. These women also act as living historians to educate the public by brining the little-known history of real female soldiers to life. J.R. Hardman, the film’s director appears in the film and narrates the story. She began reenacting as a soldier three years ago, and the film also chronicles her personal journey from clueless spectator to avid participant. J.R. and the Reenactress team are seeking contributions from the community on Kickstarter to help complete the majority of production and post-production on the film the film by the end of 2016. They hope to distribute the film in wide variety of outlets including festivals, online distribution, educational venues, and historical preservation sites.
Why do we need your help?
Over the course of making this project, we have received lots of donations of equipment, facilities, time and expertise, but in order to finish the movie, we are now in need of financial help.
We have a treatment of what we have left to film to tell the most complete, entertaining story we can, and we have some very talented people in mind that we would like to bring on to help edit the movie, create the soundtrack and musical score, and mix the audio.
We have a budget of $27,009 that we have carefully considered to finish the majority of the interviews and event coverage and to gather archival material as well as to complete a solid cut, audio edit, and audio mix that we can be proud of, and we can show to you. We have also included the cost of creating and shipping our Kickstarter Rewards including t-shirts, posters, DVD and BluRay copies of the film, and several other items you will be able to choose from.
Here's a graph of how our budget is broken down for all you visual types out there:
Who is currently fighting the battle to make this film?
J.R. Hardman is the Senior Tour Manager for Campus MovieFest (CMF), the world's largest student film festival. She has helped to coordinate the festival for students at universities in 14 U.S. States and Washington, D.C. as well as in Mexico and the United Kingdom. She has also represented CMF at the Cannes Film Festival Short Film Corner in Cannes, France. She has produced several short documentaries and fiction films including "Muslim in Love," which premiered at the 2009 Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival, "The Coach," which screened as part of the 2011 Arnold Sports Film Festival, and “Touching,” which was featured in several festivals including the 25th Anniversary Outfest: Los Angeles LGBT Film Festival in 2007. She graduated from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, CA, with a B.A. in Cinema/Television Production and Spanish. Reenactress is J.R.'s first feature-length documentary.
O.K. Keyes recently graduated with a Masters of Arts in Media Arts with a focus in cinematography from the University of South Carolina. They have served as the director of photography for a variety of short and feature-length films, many of which focus on queer identity and range in topics from cross-dressing Civil War reenactors (Reenactress) to Buddhist-lesbian-superheroes (American Kensho, 2013). Their work has also diverged into more experimental methods, exploring the materiality of the objects they capture and the objects they use to capture. Keyes's Masters thesis project, “Phantomythography: A Young Ghost Comes of Age,” a multi-projection installation piece, which leads the audience on “ghost tour” through their experiences growing up as a queer woman in the South, was featured as part of the Indie Grits Festival in Columbia, SC. Their research interests stem mostly from production culture studies, seeking to explore how oppositional cinemas, such as DIY movies, produce fluidity in ranks and deconstruct the often hierarchal (read: patriarchal) approach to filmmaking. They suggest that these small, local communities not only create new stories but also craft new ways of storytelling. Their work has screened at venues, such as the International CMF Hollywood Week, Indie Grits and Conundrum Music Hall.
A native of southeastern, Idaho, Peter graduated from Idaho State University with a degree in Theatre and went on to earn an MFA in film production from the USC School of Cinematic Arts. Peter has answered JJ Abrams’ phones, produced web content for various companies, and been a writer for reality television (yes, that’s a thing). The director of several award-winning short films, his project, The Night Caller, aired on WNET Channel 13 and was featured on Ain’t It Cool News. Between writing and film projects, Peter serves as the Associate Producer of On-Air Promotions for TVG, America’s horse racing network. He lives in Los Angeles.
A native of southeastern, Idaho, Jacob has been a professional cowboy, a construction foreman, and a marketing director for a tech startup. His first feature film as a producer, Craters of the Moon, won the Sun Valley Film Festival Gem State Award and a RNCI Red Nations award for outstanding actor in a leading roll. Jacob is currently the Supervising Producer for Jump Creative, an entertainment marketing and production company. He lives in Los Angeles.
Rachel De Urioste is an artist/ fabricator/ designer who works in a variety of mediums including wood, oil, resin, watercolor, felted wool, and digital illustration. She collaborates with individuals and organizations to help bring form to their creative visions. Her personal work is both playful and grotesque, exploring an imagined world of kind monsters, cynical cupcakes, and oysters with teeth. Rachel received her BFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and now lives and works in Atlanta.
How can you join the cause?
We know some people's budgets are tight, but we hope you will contribute as much as you can afford to help us reach our goal. If we don't hit $27,009, we don't get anything!
You can also share the project with your friends and neighbors by sending them a link to the Kickstarter page, mentioning it at the water cooler, or joining us online.
Here are links to our Website and Social Media platforms:
Tag @Reenactress and #WomensHistory to follow the conversation.
What's in it for you?
You will get to help us tell the stories of the women who reenact in a community that isn't always supportive of their efforts, and you'll get to help those women preserve the memory of real female soldiers who risked life and limb and sacrificed their true identities to fight for their cause.
We also are have a lot of rewards, like this movie poster designed by local Atlanta artist, Rachel De Urioste, which we will are creating so that you can show off your invaluable role as part of the Reenactress team.
Here are the Reenactress t-shirt designs for people who contribute at the Captain level of $150 or more!
Who is talking about Reenactress?
We've already had some wonderful press coverage on Slate.com, Smithsonian.com, and recently on the front page of NPR Digital, but if you would like to help us spread the word, it can only make this project bigger and better!
Thanks for being a part of this movie!
Risks and challenges
Challenges we may encounter include unforeseeable circumstances like the flooding which has just postponed this year's Gettysburg reenactment. Events like this could delay the completion of the production phase of the movie. Because this is a documentary, we want to portray the characters and events that occur as faithfully as possible so we will take the time we need to do this right.
We want to hire the best people for the project within our budget, which means we will have to search diligently for our remaining crew members. Everyone who is working on this project already has connections within the film and media industries. J.R. has spent the last 5 years helping to run the world's largest student film festival, Campus MovieFest, which has made it possible for thousands of college students to fulfill their dreams of becoming filmmakers. She hopes to use her contacts with those students (past and present) to identify the additional crew members for the project.
Another challenge we may face is representing reenactors of diverse backgrounds in an unbiased fashion. We hope to show the roles of reenactors of color and of foreign origins as well as the contributions of male reenactors who have supported women in the hobby. We also want to show reenactors that represent both sides, Union and Confederate, so that we can create a balanced view of opinions about the Civil War and the modern hobby of reenacting. We will do our research, and we will keep an open mind throughout filming and editing of this movie. We will do our best to be ethical custodians of the information that we find, regardless of whether it tells the story we set out to uncover or evolves into something different from what we envisioned. We will strive to show the truth of this story.
Lastly,we could run into unanticipated costs on the project. So far, our team has been working for the love of the game, and we are all committed to seeing this project through to the end. We have already been maximizing our own resources and have put lots of our personal time into to the movie. We will continue to do so until it is finished. If we need to seek additional funding for distribution or publicity for the film, we hope to reach out to foundations for documentary grants. However, it would be extremely difficult to do that without reaching our initial Kickstarter goal.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)