Elizabeth Hemmerdinger, a member of the board of Women’s Voices, has taken on many roles—as playwright, screenwriter, executive director of the Real Rosie the Riveter Project, and as a producer.
She is drawn to tell the true stories of extraordinary women. Her producing credits include ELAINE STRITCH: SHOOT ME, an independent film celebrating the life of the formidable Elaine Stritch; the documentary Beyond These Walls; producer/writer ofThe Girl With the Rivet Gun, a new-media project giving voice to those admirable World War II Rosies, and a short narrative film, GOOD SISTER. Now she’s taken on another project about extraordinary people.—Ed.
I really love a story about anybody who willfully does what’s not expected or sanctioned. Working to record the stories of Real Rosie the Riveters, helping an organization that teaches girls with severe challenges to dance, producing a film about Elaine Stritch, still performing and living large in her late eighties, has added meaning to my own life.
And now I’ve become Executive Producer of LOST AND SOUND, a documentary about people who have lost their hearing and therefore their ability to coexist with their passion—music—in ways the rest of us find familiar. The brilliant British filmmaker Lindsey Dryden, deaf in one ear since childhood and threatened with losing her hearing altogether, helps us “hear” the loss, feel the fright, and share the grace of a dancer, a young pianist, and a music critic who are doing the seemingly impossible.
As I face the end of summer and mark another year rolling past while celebrating my birthday with my wonderful family, I confess I fight feelings of melancholy. So every year I exhort myself to dig in again, dig deeper for the next draft of a new film script, hit Restart on a project that might have been languishing just a bit in the dog days while I’ve been gratefully distracted by a headstrong puppy. I really must take things to a new level and—oh, you know, all that blather.
But, really—my synapses fired when I received a favorite newsletter that I actually had time to read, and found myself directed to a new project that is trying to raise finishing funds via Indiegogo. This is one of the powerhouse crowdfunding websites that have, over the last four years or so, been the platforms for raising millions and millions of dollars for worthy work—films, art projects, community-based organizations and schools, personal needs. You make a video explaining your needs and post it, explaining your financial goal and choosing a deadline. Generous and ambitious folks donate money to the project and receive a perk—perhaps a copy of the film, a postcard of the photojournalist circumnavigating the world, a tee shirt, a you-name-it. If you’re interested in the phenomenon of crowdfunding, if you’re interested in wonderful filmmaking, if you’re interested in thumbing your nose at nay-sayers in general, click here: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/lost-and-sound-documentary. The times I have been moved to participate, I can feel the deadline closing in. It’s an unexpected thrill to help other seekers.
I have no doubt that Lindsey Dryden and her film partner, Kat Mansoor, will finish their film, get for it a wide distribution, and take their rightful places in the small and powerful ranks of extraordinary women filmmakers.