Commercial for the Queen of Meatloaf

Baltimore, Maryland | Film Short

Experimental

Dina Fiasconaro

1 Campaigns | Maryland, United States

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This campaign raised $6,305 for post-production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

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We're raising finishing funds to complete the post-production phase on our short film "Commercial for the Queen of Meatloaf"—an experimental narrative produced by a mostly-female crew—and we need your help to bring it to the screen!

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About The Project

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Mission Statement

This film was produced by a mostly female crew committed to pushing for more gender diversity and female-centric projects in the film industry. Your contribution will help women who are clearly invested in this mission continue to create work about women—while employing other women in the process!

The Story

 Project Summary

"Commercial for the Queen of Meatloaf" is a short film based on the play by Emilie Feldenzer. Marge is a bored housewife. Rex, her inattentive husband. In an attempt to spice up their relationship, Marge employs the Queen of Meatloaf, an ephemeral concoction that seduces Rex and Marge into a state of slumber, while permeating the homes of consumers with her enchanting aura and addicting gustatory appeal.

 

Rex returns home from work to find Marge in the kitchen, where she has been slaving all day over dinner. But this will be no ordinary dinner. Tonight, Marge is serving the Queen of Meatloaf, “a gustatory experience altogether unlike ordinary meatloaf.” The Queen of Meatloaf emerges silently from the kitchen in bedazzled, human form. Rex is taken aback. Marge regales him with the Queen’s nutritional and nuptial benefits. They are so overcome by the Queen that they fall asleep at the table. The Queen, in direct address to the camera, explains her irresistible appeal. She begins to multiply, emerging in various other human forms and wreaking havoc on consumer TV sets, before disappearing with a slow buzz and a fading dot of white light on the black screen.

 

Ultimately, "Commercial for the Queen of Meatloaf" is about bodies getting away from each other and the minds they are attached to. In the dreamlike house it is set in, everyone’s relationships with food, desire, commodity, and each other are undermined by a fundamental inability to be present.

History

Each Spring, as part of a writing showcase, I direct a one-act play written by high school students from a local literary arts program. At the 2015 performance, I was introduced to Emilie Feldenzer's play, "Commercial for the Queen of Meatloaf", and was instantly struck by its poetic dialogue, themes, subtext and visuals. I approached Emilie on the spot about adapting it into a short film, and ever since, Emilie and I have collaborated on the film version of her brilliant play as writer and director.

A Personal Note from the Director

As a Director and Screenwriter, I am attracted to stories of women, with a psychological and subtextual component. I enjoy exploring what’s beneath the surface, what we hide from others, revealing an eventual cracking and unveiling of the truth. I am particularly attracted to this project not only because it fits these parameters, but because it presents a challenge as a surreal, absurd, post-modern “experimental narrative” with multiple layers of reality. I was initially struck by the dialogue, which is, like Mad Men, faceted with symbolism and humor. We laugh at the Saul Williams inspired rhymes while at the same time nodding our heads in recognition of their deeper meaning. Beneath the glossy veneer and lyrical dialogue of the commercial, there is much to explore, particularly with Marge and The Queen of Meatloaf, two complex and multi-dimensional female characters who bring the best (and worst) out of each other. I’m attracted to these two characters because they represent parts of me, the parts that struggle to balance my roles as a filmmaker, professor and mother.
 
Is meatloaf going to solve Marge’s marital issues? No. But The Queen of Meatloaf is going to catalyze Marge’s growth as an individual, and help her “come into her own” as a strong, autonomous woman. The Queen is a manifestation of a part of Marge. The part of Marge that is non-conforming, powerful, independent. The Queen breaks Marge open, for Marge is a woman who does not fit the mold, but perhaps doesn’t know how to emerge from it without The Queen’s guidance.
 
The Queen is different things to different audience members/consumers, which will be implicit in the casting of multiple queens. The different bodies through which her voice will manifest can be seen as a symbol of her fractured self, pulled in different directions by those who seek to profit from her existence, and/or those who seek to consume her. But even fractured, she is powerful, shifting, seductive, scary, supernatural.
 
Although "Commercial for the Queen of Meatloaf" is a period piece, it’s also a social commentary on today’s world, and the 1950s housewife is a lens through which we can view modern issues regarding gender roles and the proliferation of consumerism and media. This is what makes it attractive to a modern audience, in the same way that Mad Men was so relatable and relevant, via its universal and timeless themes, wrapped in an eye-catching period setting. This film has a strong voice, narratively and visually, and I look forward to creating, as Marge would say, “a gustatory experience altogether unlike ordinary meatloaf.”
 

Wishlist

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Audio Mix

Costs $3,000

We need this film to be an immersive experience—which can be achieved through a professional mixing session!

Color Correction & Finishing

Costs $2,000

We need this film to look as enchanting as it should—with the help of color correction!

Marketing & Distribution

Costs $500

We need this film to reach as many people as possible—and that starts with marketing and distribution!

Editing

Costs $1,000

We need to compensate our Editor for her efforts—you wouldn't be seeing this film at all if it wasn't for her!

Festival Submission & Travel

Costs $500

We need the ability to submit and travel to as many festivals as possible—help us reach our audience directly!

Visual Effects

Costs $500

We need this period film to truly look like one—with the help of a Visual Effects Artist!

Cash Pledge

Costs $0

About This Team

Leah Meyerhoff, Executive Producer

Leah Meyerhoff is a New York based filmmaker whose debut feature film I Believe In Unicorns premiered in the narrative competition of SXSW 2014. Her previous short films have screened in over 200 film festivals, won a dozen awards, and aired on several cable networks. She has been shortlisted for the Gotham Awards and received high profile grants from IFP, the Tribeca Film Institute and the Adrienne Shelly Foundation. Her short film Twitch was shortlisted for a Student Academy Award, won a Slamdance Grand Jury Prize, and was picked up by IFC, PBS, Hulu, and Skandinavia TV. She directed a commercial for Converse and music videos for Triple Creme, Joan As Police Woman And Luff, which aired on LOGO and MTV.

Leah participated in both IFP’s Emerging Narrative Labs and Narrative Finishing Labs. She was one of ten filmmakers chosen for the New York Film Festival’s Emerging Visions program, one of eight filmmakers in the 2013 Tribeca All Access Labs and was recently honored with the Adrienne Shelly Director’s Award. Leah is a Tribeca Film Institute mentor and the founder of Film Fatales, a female filmmaker collective based in New York. She holds a BA in Art-Semiotics from Brown University and is a Dean's Fellow in Graduate Film at NYU.

Melodie Sisk, Producer

After starring in Zach Clark's Modern Love is Automatic (SXSW 2009), Melodie Sisk quickly found a love for producing. Since then she has produced and appeared in Clark's Vacation! (Edinburgh 2010) and White Reindeer (SXSW 2013) and is a Story Creator and Producer on Clark’s newest feature Little Sister (SXSW 2016). Melodie also produced and can be seen in Onur Tukel's Summer of Blood (Tribeca 2014), and produced Tukel’s following film Applesauce (Tribeca 2015). Forthcoming projects include: Her directorial debut Ms. Guidance (a web series co-directed with Van Hansis), and Dusty Bias' The Great and the Small, starring Melanie Lynskey. Other credits include: The Ladies of the House (Sarasota 2014), and Drew Tobia's See You Next Tuesday.

Dina Fiasconaro, Director

Dina Fiasconaro is a Baltimore-based filmmaker. Her feature documentary, Moms and Meds, was recently picked up for distribution by Janson Media and Alexander Street Press. Her short films have screened at a variety of festivals, including Portland Underground, BlackStar, and NYC International, and she is a recipient of the ‘Generation Next’ screenwriting grant. Dina has a MFA in filmmaking from Columbia University, and a BS in TV, Radio and Film from Syracuse University. She is an Associate Professor of Film and Moving Image at Stevenson University, and recently co-founded the Baltimore Chapter of Film Fatales, a national organization working towards gender parity in the film industry.

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