What She Said Movie
PHD candidate, Sam, should be nearly finished with her dissertation. Instead, she’s spent the the last year in and out of court pursuing charges against her rapist. When she receives news that the trial is postponed yet again, Sam heads to her family’s remote cabin in the Virginia woods, effectively ghosting everyone in her life. A few days before Thanksgiving, Sam’s oasis is interrupted as her brother comes barging in with Sam’s closest friends in tow, to stage a pseudo-intervention and convince her to return to the city and finish out the trial.
It’s a year after the assault, and we’re putting eight twenty-somethings in a pressure cooker of a remote cabin (with no Wi-Fi, yikes) to examine how trauma can still affect a person after they’re seemingly “over it,” and, more universally, how this trauma effects an entire community as they rally around their friend and sister, taking on her trauma as their own. Because they’re empathetic. Or narcissistic. Or bored. Or all of the above.
It’s a feature length kitchen-sink drama with a black comedy heart.
Right, ok. So why the hell are we making this?
It’s not like sexual assault is a subject that's never been taken on before. It’s the era of #metoo, after all, and everyone’s throwing in their own “too” cents. Plus, like, hello, how many seasons of SVU have there been? (Most of which were directed by men, we might add.) But that piece -- the assault piece -- is only one tiny fraction of a much larger and more complicated conversation.
Yet, it’s where most on-screen stories about assault begin and end.
We’re picking up that story a year later. A year into the life of a woman battling depression, trying to finish her PHD, and ultimately treading water. And we’re pairing that story with a tight-knit community of three-dimensional characters who have incredibly mixed, funny, sad, and human opinions about how their friend should deal with her trauma.
We’re a bunch of totally obsessed indie-philes. We’re consistently inspired by the nuanced and naturalistic work of the Duplass Brothers, Jill Soloway, Joe Swanberg, and Greta Gerwig (to name a few). But we also come from the theatre world -- garnering our sensibility for familial drama from the likes of Chekov and Tracy Letts. (People stuck in houses yelling at each other? We promise, there’s a stage/screen venn diagram in there, somewhere.)
We love movies about family and groups of friends -- people with shared history, baggage, and a whole lot of insight about what makes each other tick. But what we haven't seen is another film telling this story in this way -- a story about family and community set up against the backdrop of the judicial system.
Shallow Graves (our DIY-style boutique production company... keep up!) believes that changing social and political discourse one film at a time has the potential and the power to change the discourse of communities at large.
We want to make a social justice skewing independent film that tackles huge issues, including the legal system (and its failings), privilege, and destigmatization of mental health (namely PTSD). We are confident our little film challenges inequality and does so in a form that’s utterly accessible, humorous, and all-too-recognizably human. We hope to have the audience watching from behind their fingers as they think, “Oh God, that’s so me.”
Sounds pretty ambitious, you say. How can they possibly achieve it, you inquire? Can it really be done, you cry, shaking your fists at the heavens as you fall to your knees.
Okay, leave the drama to us from now on. Keep reading.
We’re shooting this thing in Virginia, the homeland of both our director and lead producer, in their real-life family cabin. We’re dedicated to throwing as much of our budget back into the community using local resources while we shoot.
But that means meeting our budget goals. And that means we need YOU to join our community. But not in a "give us your money and leave us alone" way. No. We want you to be a part of this movie -- in as big or as little a way as you want! This is a choose your own adventure! You’re in charge, now!
Still, we’re serious about having you along through every step. So how ‘bout we start by letting you in on the plan? (Ooo, ahhh, a graphic.)
As it turns out, you need more than a bunch of cool people to make a movie.
But we know that not all of our artist friends (heyyy artist friends!) can pledge financial support right now. And that’s okay. Because there are lots of free ways to help! For starters, if you like what we’re doing, please please PLEASE share the hell out of this campaign page so that it can reach people with big kid jobs who might suddenly have an interest in producing a film by a couple of charming up-and-comers.
We are dedicated to making a movie that will provide opportunities for up-and-coming female filmmakers. And we're gonna pay them what they are worth. And we know if we do it right, we can blow open a social and political conversation while providing solace for victims, recognition for allies, and above all, a really entertaining movie.
And we guess a couple other people think we can do it, too. We’ve already attracted support and resources like we never could have imagined. But we’re not nearly to the finish line. So the only thing left to ask is… are you coming with us?