Logline: In 1950 Thirteen Women set out on a path that changed sports forever.
Length: 88 mins
Director: Carrie Schrader and Charlie Fisk
Producer: Phoebe Brown
About the director and producer: Charlene Fisk is an award-winning videographer/editor who has won numerous regional Emmy awards for her work on Arts and Documentary programming including an Emmy for Best Documentary. She’s worked on productions for TLC, Lifetime, and the Discovery Channel.
Carrie Schrader is a writer/director whose short films and screenplays have won film festival audience awards internationally. She won the “New Voices award at the Seattle International Film Festival” and was labeled one of the “Top Ten Directors to Watch Out For” by IndieWire.com.
Phoebe Brown is an independent producer and seasoned film and television professional working in both narrative and nonfiction. Phoebe is co-founder of The Cross Stitch Project, a media production program for teen girls in Kolkata and Atlanta, and awarding winning Producer/Director of short documentaries Grounded by Reality, 99 to 1: Ovarian Cancer and Me and The Culinary Browns. The Founders is her first feature documentary project.
Looking for: buyers, distributors, film festival programmers, journalistsFunders or production company: Mighty Fine Pictures and Kaleidoscope Film Sales Distribution
Release date: April 2016.
Why did you make The Founders?
A friend showed me an article about the women who founded the LPGA. Soon after, I decided to call one of the women. Little did I know I was calling the toughest one of the group - Louise Suggs. Louise gave me an incredibly hard time, but her passion and protectiveness intrigued me and I soon discovered an intense, complicated story that not only surprised me, but touched me in such a deep and personal way.
These women were told that they weren’t good enough, didn’t have what the men had, would never, ever make it. Despite this, they decided that they were worth it. At a time when the popular sentiment was that a woman’s place was in the home, these women broke boundaries, set records and built a family. They believed that they deserved to do what they loved and make a living at it. As female filmmakers, struggling against similar odds, we can relate to that.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this Film?
This film surprises audiences every single time. They think “why would I want to watch a film about golf?” They come out uplifted, teary, and thoroughly entertained because this film isn’t about golf it’s about the redemptive spirit that is in all of us. It’s about sacrificing everything for your dreams and overcoming the odds. If for no other reason see the film because you deserve to believe that yours dreams can happen.
What led you to this story?
I had just finished another long project and wanted a film that I felt could inspire me and those who watched it. A friend who is a golf fan passed along an article about the death of one of the founders of the LPGA and in the article was the story of what these virtually unknown women had done. I was inspired and shocked that I had never known the story of these unbelievable women.
Why do you think we’ve had to wait so long for there to be a documentary about the surviving women?
Two words. Female Athletes. Not only are women under-appreciated in the sports arena, as seen by so many recent press articles about discrimination and pay disparity for female athletes, the history and achievement of women in male dominated fields of all kinds is underrepresented.
Even the women involved shrugged it off - wondering why anyone would want to hear their story. That reflects the era they came out of - if women did achieve anything they were expected to downplay it. The history and archival alone took years to uncover since few had documented these women and the “herstory”.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
The film has had an overwhelmingly positive reception. We won the Audience award at our premiere festival, the Atlanta Film Festival, and audiences have continued to reach out to us after watching the film to find out more about the story and characters. Everyday someone emails or contacts us to find out where they can see the film.
We’ve been doing interviews with NPR, ESPN/ESPNW and The New York Times. Audiences are hungry for stories of interesting women overcoming the odds. It reminds us all that - with perseverance- change is possible.
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
The feedback has not surprised us. We went into this film wanting to surprise people and leave them with a feeling of inspiration and curiosity. That is what they are taking away--hope. Hope is the message hidden deep within the frames of this film.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on this platform?
We want to continue to touch audiences and be able to celebrate these underdogs who deserve to be honored for their powerful sacrifices that paved the way for all of us.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
Our sales agent Kaleidoscope primarily focuses on International Distribution. We are looking for North American distributors. We need journalists and buyers and festival directors to see this film so they can understand why this story and this film has a place in every person’s video library.
What type of impact would you like this film to have?
We hope it inspires people to pursue their dreams and foster the dreams of others.
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or conversation about this film?
Will women athletes ever reach equality with men in the celebration of their talent and in pay?
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
What next for the key creative?
We have several projects in the works - currently, we are working on a TV pilot, shooting a short film, and pursuing our next documentary story.