Stephanie Meyer, the creator of the incredibly successful ‘Twilight’ universe– which originated as a bestselling YA novel series, which was then translated into record-breaking movies and has gone on to become a global pop culture phenomenon– was dismayed at the lack of female directors in Hollywood. So she decided to do something about it.
Meyer, working with Lionsgate, Women in Film, and the crowdsourcing platform Tongal created ‘Storytellers: New Voices of the Twilight Saga,‘ which served two purposes. One, it gave Twi-hards additional material, something that’s been sorely lacking since ‘Breaking Dawn’ the final chapter in the epic arrived in book form in 2008 and was adapted into two movies, the second of which arrived in 2013. But two, Meyer hopes to inspire a new generation of female filmmakers and give them a platform upon which they can hopefully build successful careers with distinct voices.
Seven finalists*– by filmmakers Kailey and Samantha Spear, Nicole Eckenroad, Maja Fernqvist, Amanda Tasse, Cate Carson, Yulin Kuang and Lindsey Hancock Williamson– have crafted short films based on 1,300 scripts that were submitted by fans. (*Technically eight, since one film was created by two directors.) These seven are the top choices out of 150 who submitted pitches and were granted $50,000 each to craft their shorts, working closely with Meyer and producer Cathy Schulman of the Women In Film organization, using Meyer’s ‘The Twilight Saga: Official Illustrated Guide’ as a guideline.
You can watch their finished films below and then vote for your favorite.
The Mary Alice Brandon File by Kailey and Samantha Spear
Writer and Director: Written and directed by Kailey and Sam Spear.
Plot: By far the darkest of the mini-movies, this film once again places Alice in a mental institution being forced to undergo electric shock treatment for her “delusions.” In a series of increasingly troubling flashbacks, we are shown Alice’s childhood and learn about the horrifying circumstances of her mother’s death.
The Groundskeeper by Nicole Eckenroad
Plot: Set during Alice’s human days at the Pearl River Lunatic Asylum, a vampire groundskeeper looks out for Alice’s best interests as she is haunted by her gift of foresight. Alice is tormented by visions of her own death at the hands of vampires, and when the groundskeeper is convinced there is no other way to save her, he turns her into a vampire.
Consumed by Maja Fernqvist
Writer and Director: Written by Cullyn Doerfler and Megan L. Reese; directed by Maja Fernqvist.
Plot: A young Jane and her twin brother Alec are viewed in suspicion by their 9th century village and eventually blamed for crop failure, child deaths and pestilence. The young children are dragged to be burned at the stake, but there is hope in the distance in the form of the vampire Aro, who they met when they were younger.
Sunrise by Amanda Tasse
Writer and Director: Written by Alanna Smith; directed by Amanda Tasse.
Plot: This succession of flashbacks takes us back to Benjamin’s human past in Egypt and breathes life into the epic love between him and Tia. We follow Benjamin through mastering his conjuring powers, becoming a vampire and surviving his tough youth pickpocketing on the streets of Cairo with Tia by his side. We are also treated to the moment when Tia decides to becoming a vampire to escape her unhappy life and spend an eternity by his side.
Masque by Cate Carson
Writer and director: Directed by Cate Carson.
Plot: After her transformation, Esme’s thirst for blood is intensified by her painful memories, but Carlisle refuses to let her feel alone and guides her hand through this turbulent time.
We’ve Met Before by Yulin Kuang
Writer and director: Written by Thea Green; directed by Yulin Kuang.
Plot: A romantic comedy that centers around Alice’s second sight, this sweet short is for all Jasper and Alice shippers. During what appears to be their first meeting, Alice uses her powers to manufacture the perfect date, and a carefully calculated kiss saves the day and seals the deal on their love at first sight moment.
Turncoats by Lindsey Hancock Williamson
Writer and Director: Written and directed by Lindsey Hancock Williamson.
Plot: Set in 1781 in Yorktown, Virginia during the war, this story traces the beginnings of Carlisle’s long-standing relationship with Garrett. A tale of battlefield injustice and the brotherhood of being a vampire is a touching, albeit bloody, tribute to friendship and integrity.
Meyer discussed her own experience in Hollywood. Out of her seven movies (the five ‘Twilight’ movies, ‘The Host‘ and ‘Austenland’) only one, the first ‘Twilight,’ was directed by a woman, Catherine Hardwicke, who is serving as a judge for this project. Said Meyer, “In any given room you are talking to 50 male directors and one female director pitching for the same project.”
Schulman added, “This was the perfect opportunity to show the work of our philanthropy, which is to support and bring eyeballs to the work of female filmmakers.”
Fan votes will make a big difference in the contest, but will not make the final decision. Meyer and Hardwicke are also judging along with judges from WIF and Lionsgate, actresses Kate Winslet, Kristen Stewart, Octavia Spencer, and Julie Bowen and Jennifer Lee, the writer/director of Disney’s ‘Frozen.’
Cast your vote at Tongal’s ‘Storytellers’ site.
Are you glad to see more ‘Twilight’? What do you think of this platform for aspiring female filmmakers?
Source: Entertainment Weekly