Looking for Leia

San Francisco, California | Series

Documentary, Sci-Fi

Annalise Ophelian

1 Campaigns | California, United States

Green Light

This campaign raised $30,569 for post-production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

389 supporters | followers

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LOOKING FOR LEIA is a six episode docu-series that explores the culture of Star Wars fandom from the unique perspective of women, who have been a substantial presence in the global phenomenon of Star Wars fandom since its debut in 1977, but have gone largely unrecognized until recently.

About The Project

  • The Story
  • Wishlist
  • Updates
  • The Team
  • Community

Mission Statement

On and behind the camera, we're a diverse group of women committed to telling a story traditionally reserved for men's narratives. We're inspired by the creativity and passion of women in genre fandom, and committed to telling intersectional stories of gender resilience and resistance.

The Story

girls run the galaxy.

That's what I learned in 1977 when I first saw Star Wars. The moment Princess Leia schooled Han and Luke for launching a "rescue" with no plan to get off the Death Star, I met a role model for life. She was bossy and bold and inspired confidence in an entire generation of girls and women. 


Flash forward to 2018 and I remain a dedicated Star Wars fangirl. I'm now in my mid-40s, and on my way to adulthood I picked up a doctorate in clinical psychology and became a documentary filmmaker. My work focuses on stories of racial and gender justice, and in 2015 after attending my first Star Wars Celebration I was totally preoccupied with the question: Who are the girls and women of Star Wars fandom, and what stories do they have to tell?


LOOKING FOR LEIA is a six episode docu-series featuring the stories of intergenerational and culturally diverse women who discuss their love of the Star Wars universe and the passion and creativity with which they demonstrate their fandom.



The series explores expressions of fandom: From droid builders, cosplayers, saber guilds and convention goers, to women using Star Wars in the classroom, women in STEM, fan fictionalists, collectors, and multi-generational fan families. The cultural implications of women in science fiction and fantasy genre and women’s media representation in these genres is discussed by cinephiles, psychologists, scholars, artists, and authors. The series reaches far beyond the legacy of Leia to examine how stories of women’s fandom speak to experiences of gender resilience and resistance.


Want to see a bit of what we're working on? Check out our trailer, filmed at last year's Star Wars Celebration Orlando:


Looking for Leia Sneak Peek from What Do We Want Films on Vimeo.


Got your interest and want to see more? Settle into 11 minutes of interview footage that covers everything from fanzines to media representation to Jedi My Little Ponies (yeah, we said that):


Looking for Leia preview reel from What Do We Want Films on Vimeo.


Excited yet? We're not done! While it's still a work in progress, this is our preliminary episode list:


Ep1: A Long Time Ago….

Fan foremothers and how we got here; locating Star Wars within science fiction and fantasy (SFF) genre; 40 years of lining up for Star Wars movie premieres; the history of Star Wars fanzines; class of ’77 fans share their stories; how women are perceived in SFF fandom and the “fake fan girl” test.


Ep2: Playing Dress Up

From the costuming regulations and charitable work of the official costuming organizations (the 501st Legion, Rebel Legion, Mandalorian Mercs, and Saber Guild) to DIYers and YouTube tutorials. Cosplay anthropology; race bending and crossing gender in cosplay; the psychology of cosplay and identity.


Ep3: These Are the Droids You're Looking For

Droid building and the women of the Stardust Builders Initiative; astronauts and women inspired into space; a Star Wars-themed Air Force retirement ceremony; women in Star Wars gaming culture; women working in STEM who were inspired into science by Star Wars.


Ep4: Representation Matters

How representation on & behind the camera impacts women in the real world; discussion of classic film tropes for female characters in SFF; the utility of sci fi/fantasy genre for marginalized communities and women who experience multiple sites of oppression; a Bronx-based photographer creates a Plus Size Star Wars Fangirls of Color portrait project; how "shipping" Star Wars characters creates visibility for LGBTQ and asexual fans.


Ep5: Thank the Maker

Women creators in fandom. Fashion, crafting, cooking, and dolls are discussed as “feminized”  expressions of fandom that are received differently than “masculine” expressions (armor, gaming, action figures). Women-run Star Wars podcasts; a writer shares her Thrawn-inspired romance novel; an artist renders detailed character portraits in papercut; best selling authors on how Star Wars influenced their story telling.


Ep6: Women Built this Rebellion

Star Wars in political organizing and “geektivism”; Princess Leia as visual protest in the Trump Era; Carrie Fisher’s legacy of mental health advocacy and fan response to her passing; women using geekdom as a site of resistance and resilience; women’s experiences of trolling, doxxing, and harassment; how changing gender norms and SFF representation impact girls’ fandom expressions and how fandom inspires their life paths.


We're participating in #100DaysofOptimism!

Seed & Spark supports filmmakers by hooking us up with tons of resources, but your support of this campaign puts us in the running for thousands of dollars in grant money and post-production support through the #100DaysofOptimism campaign. 


So what's next?

As we start assembling, we're also scheduling pick-up interviews to flesh out each episode and filming huge amounts of b-roll. That means travel costs, as well as post-production costs that include artists (animators, illustrators, compositors); editors; writers; narrators; researchers; and legal and licensing fees (so. many. fees.) Our soundtrack includes a capella arrangements of some of the original John Williams score (used with permission), arranged by conductor Kate Burns and performed by singers from the Archer School for Girls.


We hire women. In fact, our production and post-production crew is almost entirely women, and prominently queer and trans women and women of color. That means your support not only supports the story, it supports women working in film.


We're not studio-backed, we're not affiliated with Lucasfilm or Disney, we're an entirely independent micro-budget production, and we'll only get this made with the support of viewers like you, who want to see these stories on your own screens. We're in love with the docu-series format and think this is the best way to tell these stories and connect with audiences around the globe. And as supporters of this campaign, you'll be among the very first to see what we've created.


We've gotten some great press coverage in The VergeThe Mary SueCNET, and the Nerdist among others, and you can hear director Annalise Ophelian on FanGirls Going Rogue and Skytalkers: This Galactic Life. You can visit our websitefacebook, and twitter to stay connected. 


LOOKING FOR LEIA is a joyous gender justice project that shifts the traditionally male-dominated narrative of “geek culture,” and highlights and humanizes stories and voices rarely centered in a series format.  Sit back, because we’re about to femme-splain Star Wars fandom.



Annalise Ophelian, creator, LOOKING FOR LEIA


* * *

Director's note: Star Wars fandom represents a massive global trans media audience, yet women’s fandom has been largely un- or under-represented in popular discussion. More than this, when women’s fandom stories are represented these tend to be normatively white, cisgender, heterosexual, able-bodied women that flatten the rich, intersectional experiences of women of color; queer women; trans women; femme-spectrum, masculine of center, and gender non-binary folks; disabled women; girls and elders; and people who live at multiple intersections of these experiences. LOOKING FOR LEIA is telling the stories of Star Wars fangirls while critically shifting the perspective of what we casually, normatively define as “women,” and this commitment to representation is reflected both on and behind the camera.


Use the WishList to Pledge cash and Loan items - or - Make a pledge by selecting an Incentive directly.

Cash Pledge

Costs $0


Costs $3,000

Airfare to get our crew & gear to pick up interviews around the U.S.

Home Away from Home

Costs $2,000

Pitch in for Camp Looking for Leia when we're on the road!

Music licensing

Costs $2,000

This is less than 1/10th of our final licensing costs, every bit helps us make it happen!


Costs $2,500

40 years of trans media history = HOURS of archival research for content & b-roll!


Costs $5,000

We're hiring women to animate b-roll & fan stories, help us pay them!

Color Grading

Costs $650

This is the day rate for our awesome color grader, we'll spend 5 days per episode in the studio.

Media Storage

Costs $500

We go through hard drives like Han fries the hyperdrive on the Falcon, they average $500 each.

Legal fees

Costs $2,500

This is 1/3 our budget for legal representation. We really hope we don't need more than this.

Closed Captioning

Costs $1,850

Yay accessibility!

Sound Mixing

Costs $3,000

Good stories deserve good sound!

Funko POPs

Costs $2,000

Just kidding. Production office administration, from supplies to utilities to keep the ship sailing.

About This Team

Annalise Ophelian, Psy.D. (Director/Producer/Cinematographer) is a San Francisco-based documentary filmmaker, psychologist, and consultant whose work focuses on decolonizing the documentary filmmaking process by centering participants as key collaborators in the storytelling process. Her film MAJOR! (2015) received 20 awards for Best Documentary, including Outfest LA, Wicked Queer Boston, InsideOut Toronto and Queer Screen Sydney. She’s a white, queer, cis woman. www.annaliseophelian.com


StormMiguel Florez (Co-Editor/Location Sound) is a trans Latinx multi-media producer and editor whose previous work includes MAJOR! (2015) and I’ve Been to Manhattan (2012). He's currently at work on The Whistle, about secret codes used among young Albuquerque lesbians in the 1980s. StormMiguel and Annalise are a husbynd and wyfe team who regularly collaborate on each other's productions while raising three chihuahuas. www.stormflorez.com


Catrina Dennis (Assistant Producer) is a Jill of All Trades writer, producer, host, and social media strategist whose work has appeared on Geek & Sundry, SyFy, and starwars.com. www.ohcatrina.com


Emilia Quinton (Camera) is a cinematographer, photographer, and writer. She is proudly mixed race and transgender, attempting to navigate a complex quilt of identities through art. www.emiliaquinton.me


Gwen Park (Camera) is a freelance cinematographer and photographer based in San Francisco. Her work has appeared in print and online in publications such as Where Magazine and the Bay Times. Gwen is a past Executive of the San Francisco Trans March’s Board of Directors, and is frequently found documenting arts events and public demonstrations for the San Francisco trans and queer community. www.gwenpark.com.


Amy Richau (Research) is a writer who currently contributes to the official Star Wars website. She has worked as a film archivist and preservationist at the UCLA Film & Television Archives, YCM Laboratories, and the Lucasfilm Film Archive. Amy is currently working on a project highlighting a Star Wars character, actress, writer, or film crew member every day at 365starwarswomen.com


Alyssa Bradley (Art Department) is an illustrator, designer, videographer, podcaster, and photographer with a penchant for the whimsical and nerdy. During the day she’s a media production specialist at Michigan State University, but at night she’s frantically drawing fan art and weeping over fictional characters. Learn more about her work and fangirl with her over at www.whimsydesignandillustration.com


Crystal Chandler (Location Assistant Producer) is a Boston-based media mogul in the making. She's co-host of the award winning local radio show "Boston Come Through" on Boston Free Radio, and the creator of the recently-launched live web series  The Dear Little Project, which aims to flood the internet with positive affirmations for black boys and girls. You can learn more about Crystal, including her love of media, social justice, travel, and youth empowerment, at The Crystal Lens.


Zach Prewitt (Co-Editor) is a film editor based in Seattle whose company, Plot Point Productions, specializes in film marketing. He loves a good supercut, movie trivia night, and his older sister Annalise, who was his first Star Wars friend.


Luis Gutierrez-Mock (Production Assistant) excels at being miscellaneously useful on set. In his free time, he dances with In Lak'ech Dance Academy and works as a trans health researcher at UCSF.

Maria Breaux (2nd Unit Director / Camera) is a writer, director, editor, cinematographer, and producer who’s had films screened internationally. Her focus is on marginalized characters in unique predicaments. Her work includes Funcle and Socorro (both premiering at the San Francisco Transgender Film Festival),Mother Country (winner, Silver Remi, WorldFest-Houston), 99% - The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film (contributing cinematographer, world premiere at Sundance), and Lucha (Winner, Frameline Audience Award). She also received a grant from the Theatre Bay Area New Works Fund for her full-length play, The Mark Ten’s Fantastic Parade. www. mbreauxsia.com @mbreauxsia


Alice Doye (B-Camera) is a U.K. based camera woman and motion graphics artist; she recently graduated from the University of Winchester with a BA(Hons) in Film Production and, is currently working towards completing a Masters degree in Digital Media Design. A Rey cosplayer, and lover of Star Wars, Shakespeare, and coffee.


Joceyln R.C. (B-Camera) is a New York City-based, West Coast-raised, left-handed, right-brained, gold-hearted art director with a background in live-action-based visuals and narrative. www.jocelynrc.com

Dakota Billops-Breaux (2nd Unit Location Sound) is an Anthropology student and long-time Star Wars fan. She accredits her extracurricular interest in film and photography to her mom, an indie filmmaker and her partner in crime on the set of most projects in Dakota's film experience, including Looking for Leia. A Bay Area native, she grew up in the Mission District of San Francisco and the Dimond District of Oakland, and is currently working on finishing her degree in Boston, Massachusetts.


Christy Carew (Original Score Composer) is a composer for film, TV & multimedia who's been a verified Star Wars fangirl for 30 years. When she's not composing music for a wide variety of visual storytelling, you can find her on Tumblr blogging meta-analysis about John Williams & the music of Star Wars, or in the back yard teaching lightsaber forms to her kids. www.christycarew.com

Current Team