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Director Martha Elcan’s Award-Winning Film “Ladies Most Deject” Wins Gold Remi Award at 53rd Worldfest Houston
- Monday, May. 18, 2020
An emotionally gripping featurette about resilience and strength In the face of overwhelming odds and broken promises
“Ladies Most Deject,” a dramatic featurette directed by Martha Elcan, continues on a roll this Spring, winning a Gold REMI Award for Short Subject Film- Dramatic/Original at the 53rd World Fest Houston. The film also won 3 Awards at the May 2020 IndieFEST Film Awards: Leading Actress Conner Wharton, Special Mention: Film Short and Women Filmmakers (for the women-centric production team). Because of the Covid 19 Pandemic, the winners will all receive their awards in the mail.
The film recently won for Audience Choice and Best Ensemble Cast – Featurette at the 2020 Idyllwild International Festival of Cinema, the top prize at the 2019 LA Femme International Film Festival, and has received accolades at PUSH Film Festival, Southern Shorts, Brooklyn Women’s Film Festival, and won for Best Screenplay at Dam Film Festival
In the tradition of “Winter’s Bone” and “Mud,” “Ladies Most Deject” is the story of 17-year-old Charlie who struggles to free herself and her three siblings from the grip of their unstable addict mother and drug dealing uncle in rural Appalachia.
The film was directed by veteran director Martha Elcan, the screenplay was co-written by Conner Wharton who plays Charlie, and ARAY Productions’ Mark Salyer; Helen Cho Anthos served as Director of Photography, and Emmy Award-winner Nena Erb, ACE, edited the film. Production Designer Kleev Guessford and Sound Designer/Music Composition Brian Hawlk complete the creative team.
Filmed entirely in the Appalachians, the film’s producers strove to represent the authentic and gritty reality of life in the mountain communities in America today. ARAY (Appalachia Right At Ya) Productions tells stories by and about the people of the Appalachian Mountains. Created by Appalachian artists Melissa Palmer and Mark Salyer, ARAY develops projects for television, film and new media.
Initially drawn to this tense coming of age story because it was set in her home state of Virginia, Director Elcan quickly learned how true-to-life this drama was. “Charlie finds herself desperate with nowhere to turn when she and her three young siblings must leave home to escape their mother and her meth addiction. Though Charlie’s kind teacher Mrs. Neeley finds them a safe place for that night, the children’s dire situation forces Charlie into adulthood before her time in this cautionary tale for a society immersed in a national opioid addiction crisis.”
Conner Wharton (Charlie and Co-Writer) is a student at UCLA majoring in English and minoring in Film Studies. She was 19 years old when she and Salyer wrote the screenplay for Ladies Most Deject, inspired by the people of her tiny hometown in Central Appalachia which is dealing with a drug crisis of epic proportions. "I want to tell stories about people dealing with extraordinary circumstances - heroes and heroines making a difference," she said. Asked how a teenage girl from the mountains ended up at UCLA making films, Conner said, "I always knew I wanted to be in California working in this industry. I may very well be the only Appalachian girl at UCLA."
Other cast members include Robin Mullins, Ben Mackel, Pepper Binkley, Ellie Williams, Sofia Adams, and Josiah Wells.
Ladies Most Deject production credits
- Director: Martha M. Elcan
- Writers: Mark Salyer & Conner Wharton
- Producers:Melissa Palmer & Mark Salyer
- Composer: Brian Hawlk
- Cinematographer:Helen Cho Anthos
- Editor: Nena Erb
- Production Designer: Kleev Guessford