The day before school pictures, a newly transplanted tomboy’s decision to pierce her ears sparks a family crisis. A nuanced portrait of the transition from girlhood to sexual maturity, this film explores what we’ll sacrifice in order to fit in. Made as part of AFI's Directing Workshop for Women.
Mission StatementThis is a film about girlhood made primarily by women and female identifying people. In addition to gender inclusion, we are committed to racial inclusion and intend to assemble a diverse team of creatives. It is being made as part of the AFI Directing Workshop for Women.
About The Project
ABOUT THE PROJECT
Picture Day is a short film told through the eyes of a young tomboy, Casey, who becomes an outcast at her new school after her family relocates from Alaska to Los Angeles. In order to fit in, Casey decides to pierce her ears before school pictures, unwittingly triggering a family crisis.
Through the context of a mother-daughter relationship, Picture Day explores the awkward transition from adolescent girlhood to sexual maturity and the sacrifices we're willing to make in order to fit in.
*The film has not yet been cast or shot - these photos are for concept purposes only*
WHY THIS STORY?
A few years ago, I watched the strong-willed girl I co-parented morph before my eyes. She had just started middle school; her self assurance and wonder were replaced with self doubt and anxiety. It transported me to that age, I remember experiencing a similiar transformation. In fact, it’s so common for girls to lose up to 80% of their confidence between the age of 11-13, while boys’ confidence soar at that age, that social scientists coined a term for it: the confidence gap.
I was reminded again of that time when, more recently, I moved across the country. I left behind my friends, career, and home, so that I could begin a new chapter making films in Los Angeles. It’s been a daunting, thrilling, and sometimes confusing transition.
It has echoed experiences from my childhood. Growing up in a military family, we moved frequently. I had to repeatedly adjust to novel settings and even new countries. Each move challenged how I understood myself.
These are the seeds of Picture Day.
In recent years, our society has awakened to the traumatic and even violent outcomes of pervasive gender inequality. I find myself thinking not only of the people on trial, but also the culpability of our culture at large. There is great power in the subtle daily messages children receive about gender, body image, and self worth.
Today, less than 15% of theatrically released films each year are directed by women. Even fewer are written and directed by a woman. We need more women writers and directors telling nuanced stories about their experiences. By sharing underrepresented perspectives, we can validate experiences that remain unseen and help close the confidence gap.
WHAT IS THE AFI DIRECTING WORKSHOP FOR WOMEN?
I am 1 of only 8 directors selected for AFI’s Directing Workshop for Women. Founded in 1974, this is the longest-running workshop committed to increasing the number of women & non-binary people working as directors in film and television. The films will showcase for industry professionals and play festivals in 2021.
The DWW has graduated over 300 alumnae, such as Maya Angelou, Ellen Burstyn, Cicely Tyson, Tricia Brock (The Deuce, The Walking Dead, Mozart in the Jungle), Hanelle M. Culpepper (Star Trek: Discovery, The Flash, Empire), Jennifer Getzinger (How To Get Away With Murder, Outlander, Jessica Jones), and Lesli Linka Glatter (Mad Men, The West Wing, Homeland).
Past faculty and mentors who have championed the DWW mission include Ava DuVernay (WHEN THEY SEE US), Patty Jenkins (WONDER WOMAN), Kimberly Peirce (BOYS DON’T CRY), Jamie Babbit (RUSSIAN DOLL), Issa Rae (INSECURE) and Lena Waithe (MASTER OF NONE).
It's been a journey to get to the AFI Directing Workshop for Women and here is some of the work that got me here.
My latest short film, Undercut, premiered at the 2020 Palm Springs International Film Festival, won a jury award at the Austin Film Festival, and a jury award at the Anchorage International Film Festival. It also won a Gold Circle Award from the Caucus of Producers, Writers, & Directors and earned me a spot on the 2021 Austin Film Festival's "25 Screenwriters To Watch" list. It is currently still playing at festivals.
My 2018 short film, A Rose for Emily, stars James Franco and Marianna Palka. It's an adaptation of the William Faulkner story by the same name and included in the feature film, Mississippi Requiem.
My short film, Owen, won an award of Outstanding Directorial Achievement from the Directors Guild of America (DGA), Best Student Short Film at the Emerging Filmmaker Showcase at American Pavilion, Cannes Film Festival, Best Short Film at the Bahamas International Film Festival, and Best Texas Film at the USA Film Festival. It premiered online as a Vimeo Staff Pick and on television on PBS.
HOW TO SUPPORT THIS FILM
There are three ways you can join us on this journey:
1. FOLLOW: Click the “follow” button on the upper right of this page. Seed & Spark rewards us the more followers we acquire. It’s really easy and connects to Facebook!
2. SHARE: Share our campaign with your friends. Email is the most effective way to do so, but sharing on social media is awesome as well!
3. CONTRIBUTE: Every dollar really counts. We’re already months deep in preparation to create a beautiful film and invite you to join us on the next steps of our journey. Take a look at our incentives if you are considering contributing!
HOW IS THE MONEY SPENT?
We are raising $45K to make a beautiful and moving film. The $20K we raise on Seed & Spark is the minimum it will take for us to get through production. Much of our in-demand team will be donating labor and expertise, but even so, some areas where we need to spend money include:
COVID PREPARATION: To keep our cast and crew safe we will follow DGA & SAG COVID-19 production guidelines, which includes additional expense for extra days, testing, PPE, and barrier building.
EQUIPMENT & GEAR: Quality microphones, cameras, and lenses are needed to ensure high production value for the film’s look and sound.
LOCATION, PROPS, & WARDROBE: These will be essential to build the world of our film.
EDITORIAL & FINISHING: Assembling an editorial team to ensure the footage tells the best possible story and to create a polished and consistent final product for exhibition at film festivals and beyond.
MUSIC: Paying fees to license pre-existing songs, hire a composer, pay musicians and build out the soundscape of the film.
And those are just the things that sound exciting! There are also costs associated with transportation, feeding crew, hard drives, insurance, permits, accounting, legal, and more.
The American Film Institute is a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization, which means your entire pledge may be tax-deductible!
Use the WishList to pledge cash and loan items - or - Make a pledge by selecting an incentive directly.
About This Team