Miss Snake Charmer is a feature documentary about - you guessed it - a beauty pageant in which the teen contestants must prove their bravery by killing, and skinning, a rattlesnake before showcasing their talents and evening wear. Set in the town of Sweetwater, TX, the film marks the directing debut of Rachael Waxler, who also cut the project. An editor at bicoastal Union, Waxler’s recent spot work includes Honda (via RPA), directed by Stewart Hendler; Kendra Scott (via McGarrah Jesse), Nicholas Jasenovec, director; and Indeed.com (in-house), helmed by Berndt Mader. The Miss Snake Charmer trailer alone was compelling enough to make it one of SPW’s most viewed videos of 2018, and now the full film is being released by Gravitas Ventures, a Red Arrow Studios company, on Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, Fandango Now and more.

“This project was a labor of love and an education for everyone involved making it,” said Waxler. “We were all changed by our experience in Sweetwater. You don’t have to be from Texas or a teenage girl to connect with these characters, there’s a bit of them in all of us. And to partner with Gravitas Ventures and distribute the film on so many platforms is a wild dream come true.”

Miss Snake Charmer is a one-of-a-kind documentary that shows off the rugged side of a unique beauty pageant,” said Brett Rogalsky, Acquisitions Coordinator at Gravitas Ventures.

The film covers the true story of an annual beauty pageant held in Sweetwater, Texas. This is not just any beauty pageant: it is also the world’s largest rattlesnake roundup, and the winner spends the weekend reigning over pits of live vipers. Waxler said the experience shattered many preconceived notions about life in a deeply red state. “We went out to shoot the story of this crazy pageant, but really tapped into the heart of the people of this town, their openness and warmth.”

Waxler and her co-director, Emily Arroyo, grew up in Texas, and wanted to depict the strength of the women in their home state. Said Waxler, “The contest is about more than beauty and snakes: the girls are all competing for scholarship money and all of them are going to college to study engineering and communications. These are educated women.”

Waxler’s commercial work spans high-profile campaigns for Ford (Team Detroit; Alex Gibney, director), and Diet Pepsi (TBWA\Chiat\Day; Tarsem, director), among others, and she acknowledged the influence of her prior collaborations in the field. “All the directors I’ve worked with have influenced me and helped me learn,” she observed. “Coming from the editorial side, I knew which scenes I wanted and where I wanted to go with the story.” Other notable projects include Carl’s Jr (via 72 and Sunny), and the award-winning “Kate and Heather” Beauty Campaign for Walgreens, directed by Rachel Goldenberg, as well as Hilton Garden Inn, starring Judy Greer (both via GSD&M). 

Ultimately, Waxler reasoned, “Different people will see different things. Some will see a fun, entertaining movie, while others will see a more delicately woven story about a town and its people.”

Miss Snake Charmer can be found on the following platforms:

About Union
Union Editorial has offices located in Los Angeles, New York, Austin, and London, where it maintains an alliance with Marshall Street Editors. The company also develops and produces original content through its Union Entertainment Group banner. Other Union companies include Resolution, which provides finishing services, vfx, graphics and mix for commercials, features and gaming. Union is presided over by Partner/Managing Director Michael Raimondi in LA, Partner/Executive Producer Caryn Maclean in NY and Executive Producer Vicki Russell in Austin. The Union roster is comprised of Partner/Editors Jim Haygood, Einar Thorsteinsson, Jay Friedkin, Sloane Klevin, Marco Perez, Merritt Duff, and editors Andrew Ratzlaff, Chris Huth, Daniel Luna, Laura Milstein, Jason Lucas, Karen Kourtessis, Kevin Ray, Nicholas Wayman-Harris, Rachael Waxler, Zach Kashkett, Andrea MacArthur, Amanda Perry as well as select projects with Teddy Gersten, Tim Thornton-Allen, Matt Chesse, John Mayes, Spencer Ferszt, Paul Plew and the Marshall Street roster.