Recently, I had the pleasure of talking to Samantha Kolesnik and Vanessa Wright for Scindie Magazine about their film adaptation of Stephen King’s Rainy Season. I was immediately impressed with the pair. They have both received recognition from film festivals for their script writing prowess, they have clear vision with the determination needed to bring it to life, and they expressed genuine interest and respect for the process of creating art. They have created an organization, Above the Line Artistry, that focuses on supporting and promoting its members; it is filmmaker centric, but they let me in and are welcoming to any dedicated artist.
You might be asking “what does this have to do with publishing and poetry?” Well, nothing really. But Samantha and Vanessa are full of that independent creative spirit that I admire. And I believe that they have great stories to tell and compelling films to make and I want to be a part of it in any way that I can. So, I’ve signed on as a Production Assistant for another project of theirs.
Turning the Girl has the potential to be a landmark production for women in independent film. The script, written by Kolesnik, is designed to provoke conversation while simultaneously telling a thrilling, mysterious tale. Wright, who wrote the screenplay for Rainy Season, will sit the director’s chair.
Here’s what Vanessa had to say about meeting Samantha and the story of Turning the Girl: “I met Samantha at the 2015 Shriekfest Horror Film Festival in Los Angeles, we both had short scripts that were finalists, hers was The Price of Bones and mine was The Time Changer: Close at Hand. We hit it off immediately and I asked her to join my group on Facebook, Above the Line Artistry. During this time, her script TPOB was being produced and she was wanting to be more involved in production so I offered for her to come on board to produce Rainy Season with me. As we got to know each other she told me a bit about her production company and her feature thriller that she wanted to produce this fall. I was intrigued by the little information she divulged to me and I asked to read the script.
“I was immediately drawn to the story, and I knew, that even though it was a fictional story, the message was very real and very important. It’s hard to find roles like these for women, each character is extremely dynamic and we are really going to push some boundaries…and buttons. I think this film is going to start a lot of conversations and make audiences squirm…Controversy makes for great art and great films.”
The actresses in the film echo the same sentiment. Kristin Samuelson, who will play Headmistress Collins, says: “There’s the whole feminist aspect to the film. I am a member of Women in Film and Television (WIFT). When I was a classical singer, I had a lecture/recital I did about women who composed music over the centuries. They usually don’t get attention in the history books, even though they were amazing! I feel strongly that women need to use their intelligence to be out there getting equal opportunity, equal pay and equal treatment in our society. A film with a female writer and director telling a female story is fantastic!! We need more films like this! Overall, I cannot say enough positive things about this film! Very excited to be participating in it’s creation.”
“The thing that initially drew me to this project was the idea of a psychological thriller featuring an all-female cast.” says Christine Nelson (Cameron) “Once I read the script I really understood why it was so important for women to tell this story. The film sheds light on difficult subject matter that is often considered to be taboo. I am incredibly proud to be a part of this project.”
And Jennette Nelligan (Lindsey) is all-in, saying “I’m beyond ready to get to work with this talented group of women. Samantha and Vanessa, two powerhouses for women in film, were the two faces I encountered walking into the audition. It was refreshing to say the least. Female voices are often filtered through men in film, but not for this project. This is the direction film will be heading towards and I’m ecstatic to be a part of the conversation it’s creating.”
While there are prominent figures doing work on a bigger stage (see Amy Poehler, Lena Dunham, Samantha Bee), films like Turning the Girl – women like Samantha and Vanessa – will be integral in achieving equal footing for women in film and entertainment and beyond.
I assume that by now you are thinking “this sounds great! I’m in. But I know nothing about making a film! How can I help?” You, my friend, go to the Indiegogo Campaign for Turning the Girl, you look over the perks, and you contribute at any level that fits your budget…from a single dollar up to the entire collection of gold doubloons that you and your rag-tag band of friends stole from One-eyed Willy. Then take a moment to leave a comment letting them know that PunksWritePoems sent you. That’s it. Done. Sit back and watch history happen!