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SHORT FILM PREVIEW: throw like a girl


In 1931, a 17-year-old girl named Jackie Mitchell struck out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig back-to-back. Four days later, all women were banned from the Major Leagues and baseball declared "too strenuous” for females. A lot has changed since 1931, but gender equality still hasn’t been fully embraced. The wage gap rages on despite hopeful strides forwards.


Now, the true story of Jackie Mitchell comes to life, juxtaposed with the modern day story of Tanya Benter, a girl dreaming of playing in the Majors. We sat down with the team from the short film, ‘THROW LIKE A GIRL’ - a group of talented filmmakers who have finally given Jackie the recognition she deserves and hope her legacy can continue to inspire young women today. ’THROW LIKE A GIRL’ is the sports movie we’ve been waiting for….and “the greatest baseball story never told.”

The inspiring Jackie Mitchell, portrayed expertly by Lauren Elyse Buckley.

Flannery Maney, Kingdom of Pavement co-founder, produced THROW LIKE A GIRL, the brainchild of Gregory Shelby, who wrote, produced, and starred in the film, as Tanya’s older brother, Brian. Gregory is an LA-based actor, writer, and producer, his credits including DAYS OF OUR LIVES and STASIS, which is out on Netflix. Additionally, as a producer/writer, his series GUYS NIGHT is in talks with major players regarding distribution, and he is a producer on the PBS documentary, AMERICAN UMPIRE.


We also sat down with Seri DeYoung, THROW LIKE A GIRL’s director, a tour-de-force in Hollywood as a working actress, director, and fervid supporter of environmental and social issues. Her shorts STILL LIFE and IN TOUCH received awards at festivals. Seri has many impressive acting credits, including S.W.A.T, FOREVER, GOOD TROUBLE, and BREAKING BAD. Seri is also volunteer for Citizen’s Climate Lobby - an environmental non-profit group that’s working on passing climate solution legislation.


FLAN: Hey guys! Thanks for sitting down with me!

GREG: You’re welcome. Thank you for having us.

SERI: Hi!


FLAN: For the purpose of this interview, I’m going to pretend like I just met you guys and wasn’t involved at all in the project. So, hey! Gregory, as a dude in Hollywood, what motivated you to produce this film…actually- firstly, what motivated you to write it? How did you find this story?!

GREG: I found out about this {story} late one night when I was awake reading baseball stories in bed. I’ve played my whole life, and I am a huge fan- sometimes at night I’ll go down a rabbit hole of old players, or obscure statistics. So there I was, flipping through different pages, and the story of Jackie came up. I was almost confused at first - a seventeen year old girl who struck out Babe Ruth AND Lou Gehrig? I thought it was a joke. The skeptical side of my brain couldn’t even wrap my head around it. But, as I read on, I saw that not only was it true, but that somehow it had escaped general public knowledge all these years. The sheer scope of the story, the David and Goliath component drew me to it.


The fierce Sierra Pond plays Tanya Benter.

GREG: I was also raised entirely by a group of feminists, all of whom were on the front lines of the women’s rights movement in the 60’s and 70’s. So, when you ask about the “dude” aspect of the question, I don’t think I am turned off or uncomfortable in telling this sort of story in the way maybe some men would. I just think its is amazing, and exciting, and beautiful. When I realized that no one had told this story yet, at least not on screen or in a way that captures a narrative arc, I knew I had to do it.


FLAN: Seri, can we talk about your style as a director? Because…spoiler alert, I’ve seen the film. I can see a specific tone and style that is definitely achieved in the final cut- and it’s beautiful. I cried. Tell me about your inspiration and how it hits home the central themes of the film (pun intended).

SERI: I found the true story of Jackie Mitchell and the fictional story of Tanya Benter both so inspiring. I think it was a clever move on Greg’s part to bring this real life story of struggle and discrimination into a contemporary setting. The themes of the film are pretty heavy-handed, so I wanted to tell the story in a way that felt fresh and relatable. I thankfully had a phenomenal cinematographer, Devin Schiro, and through our collaboration, we found an approach that balanced the raw emotion of the contemporary story and the weight and the magic of the real story from the past.


FLAN: Seri, occupying a job in Hollywood that is predominantly male, have you faced any obstacles or frustrations as a director? And what advice could you offer to women in similar positions?

SERI: Every project has been different in that respect. I have been hired on many jobs where I’ve felt completely valued, respected, and like I’m a member of a collaborative family and it’s a truly joyful experience. Honestly this is most of my experiences. I have been hired on other jobs, however, where I felt like I had to consistently assert my vision and value through resistance at almost every turn. I don’t know if I got resistance because I’m a woman, but it certainly is frustrating to feel like no matter how hard you try you’ll never please your team. My advice to other women, and really a reminder to myself as well, is to thoroughly consider before jumping into a job. When opportunities feel scarce, it’s easy to feel like you have to say yes to everything. You can say no to jobs that don’t feel harmonious and organized. You have that power.


FLAN: Gregory, since we’re talking about women and the challenges they face, can you walk us through the world of Tanya Benter?

GREG: Well, Tanya is in a tough spot. Growing up she has always been the toughest, the strongest, the best player on her team. Now, in high school, she is facing the inevitable. She is no longer able to compete with the boys physically. Every day she gets passed up by someone new, and no matter how hard she works she just can’t keep up. Her dream is to play in the Majors, and she is really starting to doubt her ability to do so for the first time.


FLAN: What do you hope for female viewers to leave the theaters with after watching the film? What do you hope the take-away to be?

GREG: I would hope that viewers would leave the film with the impression that yes, hard work, perseverance, and grit are important, but that sometimes being smarter by thinking outside the box and doing things your own way, can make all the difference. I also hope that people will be inspired, and that they will want to see and hear more about Jackie Mitchell.



FLAN: Seri, I’ve been super excited to talk about your involvement with this really cool show…Seri is a recurring on the ABC/Freeform show GOOD TROUBLE. Seri, I know the show is about social change and discusses similar themes as THROW LIKE A GIRL…starting conversations about gender inequality, etc. What is it like being a part of a show like that?!

SERI: It is a joy! Good Trouble is so unapologetically progressive and brings so much grit and heart to every issue addressed. One of the first scenes I filmed on that show was a scene where the women of Spekulate (the tech company where we work) all get together and create actionable solutions to workplace sexism. I know young women are watching this show, and I’m so proud to have the opportunity help provide them with examples of how they can support each other.


FLAN: For each of you, if you could make a show or a movie that spoke to current issues that you are passionate about, what’s your logline? What story would you tell?

SERI: I’d love to work on a story about the real life heroes who are working to change legislation on gun violence and climate solutions. There are so many young and diverse people getting into politics now and I am so inspired by them.

GREG: Ha. You mean in addition to this one? Hmm…ok, actually this is pretty tough. I have a sci-fi trilogy I am interested in producing. Not trilogy in a narrative sense, but in a thematic sense. Each one deals with the repercussions of the technology we are advancing towards today- not so much cautionary as exploratory. In one, a destabilized moon is on a long collision course with an earth whose leaders refuse to acknowledge the gravity of the problem (pun intended). It is an allegory for global warming. The second one is a courtroom drama/thriller that attempts to ask (and maybe answer) questions about the ethics of AI- and the dangers of ignoring them. And the third is a melancholic, existential drama about a trucker who sees the impending irrelevancy of his job when his company unveils a new driverless truck.


FLAN: Sounds like you both have some cross-over in wanting to tell stories about Climate Change! I hope to see more Shelby/DeYoung collaborations in the future. On that note, tell me about the future of "THROW LIKE A GIRL". And if there perhaps a feature version on the horizon??


GREG: Well, we are just wrapping up post production {for the short}. As soon as that is 100% finished, we are submitting to some of the biggest film festivals in the country. As far as a feature….yes, 100%. I am almost done with the script, and we have already received some interest. But we plan to see just how far up the hollywood chain we can take this. We expect this film to be a big hit.


FLAN: Can you each tell us a little about what’s on the horizon for you as filmmakers?


GREG: Ha, well, to be honest 90% of my life is this right now. It is a bit hard to think of much else when this IS the horizon. That being said, my show Guys Night has gained some traction- we are looking to push that forward in the coming months. Eventually I have a whole slate of films I am excited to get to work on.


SERI: I’m continuing work on a feature length documentary about Fibromyalgia that’s nearing completion. After that my slate is open and I am looking forward to reading new scripts!

FLAN: Well, thank you both. This was a blast. The following stills are of actors Sierra Pond and Lauren Elyse Buckley. Keep up with Kingdom of Pavement for more updates about THROW LIKE A GIRL, release dates, or for chances to get involved with the film family!


INSTAGRAMS:

@throwlikeagirl

@gregoryshelby52 (writer/creator)

@serideyoung (director)

@flannerymaney (producer)

@devinschiro (DP)

@si_pond (lead)

@laurenelysebuckley (lead)


http://www.serideyoung.com/


FACEBOOK:

https://www.facebook.com/throwlikeagirlshortfilm/


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