Female Filmmakers, Writers, and Directors, and Producers have a notoriously hard time getting projects off the ground in Hollywood. The good ‘ole boys club is still in full force in Tinsletown. Here a respected Filmmaker (and GirlieGirl Army loyalist,) Cami Delavigne, shares the struggle of getting a project off the ground, and seeks the assistance of our GirlieGirl Army Lieutenants to go to CHURCH.
I’ve woken up all week in ninth place. Out of ten. I’m going nuts.
Last month, Film Independent and Netflix chose CHURCH, my feature film script to be a semi-finalist in the Find Your Voice Film Competition. On June 5th, ten films started competing for five star votes in the Netflix Find Your Voice Contest and for the past week, I have been as nervous as I was in the fifth grade, trying out for cheer-leading against the perky Jill Harpenau and the sultry Casey Woodthorpe. The Netflix competition is just as fierce.
CHURCH is a script that I wrote for the dad of my soon-to-be baby, Ivan Hurzeler. We were mutually obsessed with Evangelicals in America, especially after having their ideology shoved down our throats by loyal Bushies. Ivan and I spent six months interviewing Christian pastors and noticed that, with some, there was a creepy thread of loneliness and fear. That was my inspiration for CHURCH, a thriller about a pastor with a secret (spoiler alert: he’s gay) who gets a vision to murder a very annoying “gay-curing” person. But there’s an exciting twist to which even my lama would approve.
But what do you do with a finished script? I’m the co-writer of BLUE VALENTINE, a romantic drama starring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams that is currently shooting in NYC. Even though it won two million bucks in the Chrysler Film Competition and had insane talent attached, it still took seven years to get made.
Enter my good friend and killer producer Alexis Fish (SHORTBUS) who demanded that Ivan and I submit CHURCH to the Netflix Find Your Voice Film Competition. We did. We forgot about it. We got a call. We were in. Ten semi-finalist submit short work and “America decides” which five filmmakers move onto the finals. But really, the Girlie Girl Army decides. I mean, please.
Film Independent said we could a) make a trailer b) shoot a scene from the feature or c) make a stand alone short film with a similar theme. We chose the later. We were the only ones.
I quickly wrote a sexy little short called HATCHET MAN that shares a theme with CHURCH. I based HATCHET MAN on a real life story of a sex scandal at a New York ad agency (see Gawker article here.) Both HATCHET MAN and CHURCH are about lonely guys who always do the right thing, but find unexpected freedom when they do something bad for the first time in their lives. Not that I’m advocating badness, just breaking from habituation that makes one miserable.
You can watch the short below, but please go and vote online as soon as you are done. It takes less time than skimming Perez Hilton, and is a guilt-free way to help an independent female filmmaker. Sisterhood in effect!
Alexis was on board as a producer. So was Julian Katz, a terrific commercial producer and Ivan’s college buddy. We needed a leading man. I called my friend Daniela Sea of “The L Word.” I had just completed writing her debut feature called HETEROPHOBIA. She was having a reading of it in LA and really excited about the cast. She told me who was reading for the roles. Wha-wha-what? Matt Boren is going to be there? MOMMA’S MAN Matt Boren? Girlie Girl Army Founder Chloe Jo’s BFF Matt Boren? Love Matt Boren.
Cut to two weeks later. We’ve shot HATCHET MAN with Matt and Billy Warlock of “Baywatch” fame, followed the Netflix rules to letter and submitted our film. Now, for one month, we have to get as many five star votes as possible to make the top five to get a shot at a $350,000 production budget.
We are stuck at ninth place in the competition. (Update: we just jumped to #8!) We obviously are competing against filmmakers who employee underage children to vote with stolen emails. Actually, there is a ton of talent. And if we stay in 8th, then at least it’s better than 9th. Oh, bad karma. If we stay in 8th, I will still feel lucky to be a part of this crazy dance.
So please support me, I promise the chick karma will come back around twelvefold.
Cami Delavigne co-wrote BLUE VALENTINE, a feature in production and starring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams. Her newest screenplay called HETEROPHOBIA stars Daniela Sea (“The L Word”) and is produced by Alexis Fish (SHORTBUS) and Heather Rae (FROZEN RIVER). She is also the co-creator ofwww.owoto.com, the first ever choose your own adventure sitcom. Pretty please, Go to www.netflixfindyourvoice.com and click Ivan Hurzeler CHURCH.