Mary Pickford Biopic To Open Inaugural Hollywood Women's Film Fest At The Academy June 13th
Founded by writer/director, JR Niles, The Hollywood Women's Film Institute has announced that they will host a film festival and panel series, with the film WHY NOT CHOOSE LOVE? A Mary Pickford MANIFESTO set as the opening night event at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on June 13th.
Written and directed by Jennifer DeLia, the film stars Sophie Kennedy Clark (Nymphomanic; Philomena) as the iconic actress and United Artists studio co-founder, with a cast that includes Cary Elwes, Balthazar Getty, Luke Arnold, Josephine de La Baume, Jane Stiles, Summer Phoenix, Adam Fergus, and Scott Haze. Angela McCluskey, Lulu Jovovich and Jeroen van Koningsbrugge round out the cast. WHY NOT CHOOSE LOVE? A Mary Pickford MANIFESTO is produced by Poverty Row's DeLia and Julie Pacino, as well as Nitsa Benchetrit (My Old Lady) and Kim Zubick (Zookeeper's Wife). The Hollywood Women's Film Institute will run its full schedule of screenings and events, centred on initiatives dealing with education and integration advocacy, from June 13th-18th at Raleigh Studios in Hollywood, with additional venues including Dick Clark Productions and UCLA.
A few of the organizations that share the vision of illuminating Pickford's story and preserving the United Artists mission of artistic integrity are Art of Elysium/ Elysium Bandini, The Ace Hotel/ United Artists Theater, and Women Make Movies who align with female driven stories and female filmmakers.
The film is an unconventional biopic based on the life Mary Pickford. She was the first 'America's Sweetheart,' a Co-Founder of United Artists (celebrating its 100th birthday this year), the only businesswoman in early Hollywood, and was "The Girl with the Curls" before audiences knew her name. The film was shot by Dan Kneece (Blue Velvet; Lost Highway), supported by Daniel C. Gold and Mitch Dubin (Bridge of Spies; Saving Private Ryan), with renowned designers in the various departments, such as Oscar-winner for La Vie en Rose, Jan Archibald and Production Designers Colleen O'Halloran and Michelle Patterson (Mad Whale) and Costume Designer Amit Gajwani with Diane O'Halloran.
"Julie and I really had it in our minds that we wanted to do something special in LA, as we see Mary as symbolizing the Mother of the Hollywood culture... We want to create the opportunity for artists in the storytelling fields to unite by paying homage to the woman who birthed the medium and industry... We are ambassadors of Mary's values and integrity and look forward to illuminating what she represents. This event is an amazing opportunity to participate in something fresh and innovative, in the spirit of Pickford, her friends and fellow artists, and the original United Artists philosophy. Mary embodies universal love, as she was vocal about holding space for artists to create, in order to provoke questions and reflections amongst audiences. Mary portrayed over 200 characters of a variety of ages, ethnicities, and genders, standing by the importance of diversity and integration... Thus, she became the first adored by audiences on such a massive, global scale. We are honored to lift the veil to this incredible life at the Academy and with the Hollywood Women's Film Institute. Collapsing time between Mary's Hollywood and our Hollywood is vital in the process of unity as Hollywood is a mirror into what societies suffers from... It is a time to re-evaluate identity and the values of the medium and industry today and to be accountable for the images and messages we project into the world. Storytelling is the most ancient form of passing along wisdom and the key is artists uniting to uphold that sacredness and responsibility. The event is June 13th and will be the first time the film will screen for a public audience. The screening will take place in the Goldwyn Theater. This is the 100th year of United Artists. This 5 day event is full of beautiful panels and screenings - conversations and content on a high level and really about integration - much beyond purely feminism. We are extremely excited," said De Lia.
"I am thrilled to have Jennifer and Julie as part of the festival with their innovative Mary Pickford film. I can't think of a better way to launch a women's film festival, than with Pickford at the forefront, and this film will be honoured with 'the most innovative film' award," said J.R. NILES.
The Hollywood Women's Film Institute's mission is to provide affordable, quality film festival programs to empower women filmmakers from all over the world, in all aspects of motion pictures, television and media. Through their screenings, educational panels, festival events and guest speaker programs they will help filmmakers broaden their scope of knowledge, visibility and opportunity. Their focus is also to provide a forum for women from all countries to come to Los Angeles to tell their stories, and show their films to the public and industry professionals. The festival's goal toward change is to engage both men and women in raising awareness through working together and participating in filmmaking, panel discussions and workshops to balance the power scales and end gender and racial inequity.
Poverty Row's first feature Billy Bates, written and directed by DeLia, premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and garnered a theatrical and nationwide digital release. Poverty Row also produced a sold-out Off-Broadway run of PHOENIX, starring Julia Stiles, directed by DeLia and co-produced with the Rattlestick Theater Company. Poverty Row produced several music videos directed by DeLia for prolific artists in varying genres - artists such as Dr. John and Bobby Rush with Blinddog Smokin', as well as Amadou & Mariam. The videos were recognized by Rolling Stone, MTV, VH1, etc.
Festival passes are only available through the institute website, and will not be sold at the door for any venues. A Premiere Pass will include a ticket for the opening night Academy screening. For further event information and passes, contact: https://hollywoodwomensfilminstitute.org/
About the Hollywood Women's Film Institute:
Founded by filmmakers J.R. Niles, the Hollywood Women's Film institute is a non-profit feminist organization created to support and facilitate programs and opportunities for women filmmakers and student filmmakers in film, TV, and media. Together with our sponsors and celebrity hosts, our goals include helping women to create, distribute, screen and promote their works in various formats and to provide educational workshops. Our panels and workshops are designed to educate and inform woman in film financing, distribution, writing, directing and producing. Additional panels and workshops are designed to help support women in navigating within the industry, fighting sexism, racism and homophobia, in order to balance the scales of power and opportunity.