If only 2% of women believe they are beautiful, 98% of women have a fundamental misperception of their own bodies.
This documentary film, directed by Tim Piper (2008 Time Magazine’s Most Influential People for his film work on "Dove Evolution," a Cannes Lion Grand Prix Winner and viral web film based on this subject matter) featuring Sally Gifford Piper (the model in Body Evolution) and produced by AFI award winner (Spike Lee's INSIDE MAN) Daniel Rosenberg, will be a social commentary about society’s obsession with achieving an unrealistic standard of beauty and how this standard, represented in beauty, fashion, and celebrity culture, is universally and negatively affecting the lives of young girls and women. The film will make noise, connect with women, empower them and make them laugh, and ultimately make a difference in the lives of women and girls.
Told through provocative and personal interviews with women in different stages of their lives, media experts, plastic surgeons, and cultural icons, the film will document the reality of the pressures women face while simultaneously satirizing society’s unrealistic standard of beauty with funny scripted moments designed to enlighten and entertain.
My wife, Sally and I, interviewed and filmed many girls from England, Australia, Asia and the Americas while working on the Dove Self-Esteem Fund and have a very clear vision of what is required to make a truly great film on the subject. In fact, Oprah saw some of these interviews and wanted to do a show about it and William Morris Endeavor (one of the biggest agencies in Hollywood) wanted to help me turn it into a feature for Sundance. In the end, finishing funds fell through, but it was mostly shot on SD - before HD cameras were easily accessible for low budget docs. Today, less funds are needed to make this film work.
Thanks to Kickstarter, an important film on this subject might see the light of day.
The plan is to interview several subjects from every age demographic on the subject of beauty pressure - where it comes from, how it makes them feel, what makes a difference, etc.
From experience I can say without a shred of doubt that the juxtaposition between editing a 6 year-olds comments next to a 60-year-olds comments makes for remarkable insights and enlightenment into this subject matter.
It would be predictable to follow the lives of a few people and I think we can do better by creating a film that's more about society's journey - not an individual's. And the reason for that is that everyone watching can relate with their OWN personal feelings - as opposed to having someone else's feelings forced upon them by a filmmaker. This will set this film apart from other documentaries.
A single small camera (HD DSLR) and lav mic feeding into an unobtrusive ZOO MH4 mic means the subject experiences a very personal conversation with Sally, without any crew being visible. Interviews will last one to two hours. Long enough to get truths that media interviews don't usually stick around long enough to get. And Sally is a professional at getting honesty from people. Having exposed herself so completely in Body Evolution makes her a trustworthy confidant for subjects.
We will also interview experts in eating disorders, fashion, psychology, film and education to see where the interest in the subject matter mostly lies. Industrial food will come into it. Politics. There are a lot of factors to consider here.
We will also shoot Phantom camera footage (or equivalent) to create beautiful cinematic vignettes set to haunting, powerful music, in an effort to show the world for the first time how "ordinary" is strikingly beautiful.
To keep the audience moving through ups and downs, I plan to engage the help of female comedy writers - think best-selling author Jill Karman ("Sometimes I Feel Like a Nut") - who are capable of poking fun at society's obsession with beauty. It's important for humans to laugh at themselves sometimes and a film that has this much depth deserves some contrast in the form of light humor and sharp, witty segments, filmed with cinematic lenses to make it "pop" from the documentary-style footage. This element could even be a thread, although I suspect it's a film that will use the "chapter" technique to show the life stages of beauty culture's influence.
Risks and challenges
Realistically, from a creative point of view, it will be about finding great subjects and getting them to appear on camera and speak about personal subject matter, or it might be about getting beauty industry professionals to tackle the subject. But since Tim is one of the most influential people on the planet, it shouldn't be too hard to convince them ;-).
Our plan is to spend 6+ months sending a great cameraman/DP and Sally around the country (and maybe a few International destinations) and thread a fascinating narrative together...but if we feel we need to spend more time finding the story, we may, as we think this subject matter is too important not to do that.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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