Return with me to 1950, to the dusty town of Shawnee, to the night my grandparents decided to elope. On the walk home from a midnight movie at The Hornbeck Theater, my grandma asked my grandpa to run away with her to escape their abusive homes. Join me in bringing this night to life through film.
Inclusion StatementAs a female filmmaker, it is of upmost importance for me to have a women-dominated crew. I already have 13 female cast and crew members booked for this production, including friends from LGBTQ+ and POC communities.
About The Project
My grandparents, Delores and Johnny, eloped when she was 16 and he was 18. They used to tell me about the night they walked home from a midnight movie at The Hornbeck Theater, a theater I also grew up going to, and my grandma casually turned to my grandpa and said, "I think we should elope". And he said, "Okay". They eloped, inevitably got caught, but stayed married for 55 years until she passed away after a long illness, during which he took care of her every day.
This short film is my reimagining of how that night went.
I want to not only recreate the romance between the two of them, but also the town of Shawnee as it must have looked and felt in 1950 – in all of its magical, dusty nostalgia.
Like any other overly-romantic emo kid would have done, I idealized this story for a long time as a testament that perhaps true love does exist. I looked around the hallways at school wondering which boy I could convince to run away with me someday (*she admitted while physically cringing behind her keyboard*).
Now that I'm older, I find it less romantic than before, and I often think about how blissfully youthful and naive they were that night. I find myself thinking, "Okay, I'm 29, which means that if I were my grandma, I'd be married 13 years already... No way! Bad idea! Why would she do that to herself? Why would she voluntarily lock herself into a life of domesticity at such a young age?!"
Because she was taking life into her own hands.
You see, in addition to being young and whimsically optimistic, they were also trapped and desperate. They both came from abusive homes of varying degrees.
Delores, a wealthy girl, lived under threat of being sent away to finishing school for not being ladylike enough. Her father was physically abusive to her and her mother, Lucille.
Johnny, on the other hand, was too poor to even afford shoes. His mother tried to kill him and his siblings by gassing them, because she couldn't "afford them". Thankfully my ten-year-old grandpa busted open a window and pulled his brother and sisters out to safety – or else I wouldn't be here today asking you for money ;)
They both wanted to escape, and luckily they ended up loving one another very much for many, many decades.
I realize now that the reason their story resonated with me at such a young age, and has continued to resonate with me as I approach 30, is my grandmother's strength to take control of an otherwise entrapping, suppressive, and painful situation.
That's why I love and look up to my grandma "Delo" so much – she always said what she felt like saying, did what she wanted to do, and if she didn't like something, she changed it.
I've always admired these traits of hers, and though I've gotten myself into many situations where I've failed, miserably, I nonetheless try to emulate her boldness, her action-oriented nature, her take-no-bullshit-from-anyone attitude.
I want to tell this story because I want to bring Delores's spirit to life on screen; I want to show that oftentimes the coolest women are the ones who don't follow the status quo; I want to remind women, myself included, that there is always a way out of an abusive situation – even if it doesn't feel that way.
It's even better if the way out is love.
Special thanks to Ronny Jones for providing images of The Hornbeck Theater.
Where we are in the film process...
The film is written, scouted, scheduled, and casted.
Shooting will take place on-location in Shawnee, Oklahoma during the last week of April 2020.
What we still need...
To hire local camera crew, catering, and hair/makeup/wardrobe.
To source final props, clothing, cars, and signage from circa 1950.
We will need to hire an editor to do final color and music mixing.
The final film will be released into the festival circuit, with the goal of showing this female-driven story to the world.
Use the WishList to pledge cash and loan items - or - Make a pledge by selecting an incentive directly.
About This Team
Allex Tarr is an award-winning digital video and music video director based in Los Angeles. Her dream is to create female-dominated feature-films.
An Oklahoma native, Allex made her way to LA in 2015 after obtaining her Master's Degree in Film & Creative Media Production from the University of Sussex in Brighton, England.
Allex is currently employed as a Senior Branded Creative Producer at BuzzFeed Los Angeles, which is a title that loosely translates to: writer, director, camera operator, editor, part-time on-screen talent, and full-time office jokester.
Some clients Allex has worked with include: Universal Studios, Warner Bros., Netflix, Chase Marriott, Olay, Proctor & Gamble, L'Oreal, Samsung, GEICO, Hyundai, and TRESemmé.
Allex is the winner of Best Use of Native Advertising/Sponsored Content in the Digiday Content Marketing Awards for the 2018 “Slay with Olay” campaign, but more importantly she loves her cat, her friends, eating Italian food, and watching old Hollywood films.
Leah Dubuc is an interdisciplinary artist and filmmaker born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area.
In 2014, Dubuc graduated Magna Cum Laude from California College of the Arts with a BFA in Film / Animation. She currently lives and works in Northeast Los Angeles.
In 2016, Dubuc directed and animated Christopher Walken’s Coffee Shop, an improvised short film that has screened internationally. In 2018 CWCS was selected as a Vimeo Staff Pick and was featured on Short of the Week, Fast Company and WIRED. Dubuc’s second animated short, Ghosting Tips for Ghosts, was a featured selection of the HBO Women in Comedy Festival in 2018. Her branded clients include Snapchat, Girlboss and BBC.
Lately her work is based in utilizing non-traditional materials in animation and developing new representations of women in film and media.
director of photography
Liz loves to hold cameras. The only time she goes to the gym is when she wants to get stronger and hold bigger cameras.
Della Anderson is a writer and live television producer based in Los Angeles. Her dream in life is to find a way to fund her traveling addiction.
Born and raised in Chandler, Arizona, Della graduated Summa Cum Laude from ASU (Go Devils!) with a BA in film and media studies and went on to complete an MA in film + creative media production at the University of Sussex in Brighton, England.
She currently works as a television producer at Done + Dusted, a premiere live production house based in Santa Monica. Della has worked with countless brands, broadcasters, artists and public figures and her work can be found on MTV, CBS, ABC, NBC, FOX and Disney+.
In addition to being the life of the party, she enjoys new adventures, great books, live music, and every piece of media that involves Larry David.
DAN DE LORENZO
New Jersey-born, Los Angeles-based comedy writer and director Dan De Lorenzo is behind some of the most viewed, most viral commercials and branded videos to fill your screens. He’s directed tons of videos from your favorite, and not-so-favorite, brands like Purina, Amazon NBCUniversal, Gillette, Ford, Warner Bros., Kia and Hot Pockets.
De Lorenzo is one of the leading creators of viral YouTube and online video content, which also includes directing work for CollegeHumor, Funny or Die and Lorne Michaels’ Above Average Productions (Broadway Video).
A proud Webby Award loser, De Lorenzo gained his first-ever Webby Award nomination in 2012 in the Comedy: Individual Short or Episode category for his “The Man Without A Facebook” video, ultimately losing to Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, which could have been worse. De Lorenzo was also nominated for Best Branded Consumer Campaign at the 2016 Digiday Awards for his “Moving Day” video for Comcast’s Xfinity. His work has also been featured at the 2017 and 2018 New York Television Festival (NYTVF).
Roger Barrientos is an editor/assistant editor based out of Los Angeles.
Roger grew up in the Phoenix area where he graduated from Arizona State with a bachelor’s in French in Spanish. At 21, he moved to New York to work on his master’s at NYU. After graduating with an MA in foreign language education, Mr. Barrientos worked as a Spanish and Computer Science teacher at a private schoolin the Upper East Side.
Roger currently lives in LA and has worked on multiple shows including The Littler Mermaid: Live!, Fox New Year’s Eve with Steve Harvey, and The Budweiser Superbowl Music Fest.
In his free time, Roger enjoys cooking, video games, and spending time with his niece and nephew, and multiple trips to Disneyland with his boyfriend.
Raina studied Strategic Communication and Gender and Sexuality Studies during her undergraduate career at the University of Central Oklahoma before continuing on to obtain a Master of Education degree in Adult and Higher Education.
She has received leadership training from The Walt Disney Company, Seeds Training, and The Obama Foundation.
Raina’s passions include writing, photography, social media, and leadership development. Utilizing her passions, she has cultivated the Real Empire. Starting with her blog, Real Talk with Raina, she uses personal experiences and opinions to shed light on who she is as a person in the hopes of letting other people know they aren’t alone even when they feel like they are. Raina is also a self-taught photographer who uses her photography, Real Pics with Raina, to encourage acceptance and challenge social norms when possible.
Her lifelong purpose is to make the world a better place during the time she’s alive while working towards leaving a lasting legacy.
Dylan Cargill is a content creator born and raised in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Dylan received her bachelors in arts from the University of Central Oklahoma for strategic communications and marketing.
As a creator, Dylan has managed to produce viral videos, design content for businesses, and maintain a positive network.
Of many skills, action photography such as skateboarding, bmx, and motocross are her preferred areas of expertise.