I wrote this script as a feature several years ago. Consumed by other projects, I abandoned the script and didn’t really come back to it until a few months ago. I started reading it, and although it was unfinished I realized there was something interesting and special about the story. I showed what I had to a few people, including my friend and frequent collaborator, Serena Reynolds, and she immediately jumped on board.
I originally started writing screenplays for myself as an actor. I felt that there was not a huge supply of interesting roles for women my age, and writing for myself gave me a certain amount of creative control over my career. Now, I don’t write so much for myself anymore. I write for others. I want to share my stories. I have come to believe that film is the most powerful artistic medium. It is a visual way to tell stories and collaborate with amazing like-minded artists to create a single achievement. Film is a precious art form that lasts forever.
I was born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi. Mississippi is a culture known for it’s conservative ways, fried food and also it’s huge literary history. Many of the great writers and dramatists have come from my home state: William Faulkner, Tennessee Williams, Eudora Welty and Beth Henley were born in Mississippi. Although this particular script is not partial to Mississippi, it has inspired a great part of who I am as an artist and writer.
I started writing Polly as an exploration of myself. I wrote about a girl in a small town who doesn’t quite fit in and doesn’t really know where to go. I think I related to the character I was writing as someone in my mid-twenties, who had left Mississippi at a young age to pursue a career in the arts. Although somehow, I still felt extremely sheltered and closed off from the world. Growing up, I never really fit in. I dressed in a different way than most people and was much more interested in practicing my singing or writing than going to high school parties. I wasn’t popular, didn’t have boyfriends, didn’t make good grades, and didn’t really care. In college, I was extremely career driven and focused. I performed in several school productions and was cast in a few high-profile Off-Broadway productions. At the same time, I started an online boutique and worked as a freelance stylist for three years off and on. This is how I met Serena, and we started producing a number of fashion shoots together. Working in fashion made me realize I had skills other than acting. I seemed to be good at creating an overall visual product, often times on no or very little budget.
Last summer, I was given a random opportunity to direct an Off-Broadway show. It was a compilation of abridged Tennessee Williams plays. Somehow I managed to balance a cast of seventeen actors, direct, produce, costume design and act in the show. When I pulled it off, I felt like I could do anything. I knew I had to pursue a career in the arts. This experience led me to write my first short film Olivia Martha Ilse. I knew nothing about the world of film. I had only one film experience as an extra in Tate Taylor’s James Brown biopic Get on Up. It was fun, but I never thought I would have a career in the movies. I thought I was going to be a theatre actress.
When I wrote my first script, I didn’t really know what I was doing. I was ambitious and wrote it from the heart. My director and I had three weeks of pre-production and shot the film, a 1930s-period piece, over three days. The script attracted some great actors, including James Frain and Emmy Award winner Tammy Blanchard. It was exciting and inspiring to have them involved in my first project. Over the past year, I have worked consistently promoting Olivia Martha Ilse at various film festivals around the globe and also working in film as an actor, writer and producer. I have learned so much both about myself and about the industry.
I think, just like my character Polly, I am at a certain crossroads in my life. I have achieved a great deal in the past year and know I am capable of making great films. At the end of the month, my lease in New York runs out. Will I stay or move back to Mississippi? I can see myself a little like Polly- riding my bike down our neighborhood street in my glitter platforms.
It has taken me a long time to realize that being different is okay. Unfortunately my character, Polly, can’t accept that she is different. It has led her into a world of drugs and disillusion. Being in your twenties is definetly a weird and confusing time, and this is something I wanted to explore truthfully in my writing. I’m also very interested in adolescence, and this is how the characters of Annabel and Matthew developed.
In the story, it is revealed that Polly feels useless because she lost her first love. She can’t get over him. By dressing like a teenager and living in her childhood bedroom, she is still living the life she had when she was with him. She is constantly reminded of him: through both Matthew and Annabel, which leads her to lose control.
This story is about a confusing time in a young woman’s life. She can’t accept reality because she is so attached to her lost love. She doesn’t know who she is without him. It’s a sad story, but a relatable one. It certainly comments on where I am in my life and touches on intense feelings we have all experienced.
I am making this movie because I believe in myself and my partner, Serena, as artists. I am an extremely determined artist and filmmaker who has many stories to tell. Polly brings together my skills as an actor, writer, creative producer and production designer. Obviously, making this film will not be possible without bringing together the right team. With the budget, Serena and I are confident we can pull together an excellent cast and crew to make my story a beautiful film.
Polly, with her pink hair, little girl wardrobe and loss of reality is an intriguing character. I certainly want to see her story brought to life, don’t you?
Help us make our film, you won’t be disappointed!
Polly is an eccentric school teacher living in small town Connecticut. She is in her late twenties, still lives at home and she just can’t seem to grow up. Her only real relationship is with her younger sister, Annabel. Annabel is beautiful and popular the complete opposite of Polly.
It is the evening of Annabel’s sixteenth birthday. Polly is late. When she arrives, Annabel knows she has been up to something. Annabel is hurt since the two were supposed to spend the evening together. Polly tries to make up for her mistake by giving Annabel her present. She doesn’t open it. Polly goes to her room to try and relax. She listens to music on her record player. A few minutes later, she goes outside to smoke. Matthew, sixteen, and a student at Polly’s school rides by on his bike. The two start a conversation. Matthew asks Polly if he can come inside to use the bathroom. Polly takes him inside and joins Annabel for cake. Annabel is confused by Matthew’s presence.
Matthew goes to use the bathroom, but instead goes to Polly’s room. He discovers a treasure trove of girlhood, something totally unknown to him. At first, when Polly discovers him, she is shocked. Then the two begin to have an understanding of each other. They decide to take off on an adventure and head out of town. Before they can even get out of town, Matthew discovers that Polly and Annabel share a dangerous secret.
Premiere at an internationally recognized film festival
After the film festival circuit partner with a digital distributor such as I-tunes, Mubi, Seed & Spark, etc.
All of the backers will receive perks and thank you’s from the team