Lydia Dean Pilcher’s big moment had arrived.
After producing movies for Wes Anderson and Mira Nair, Pilcher was finally sliding behind the camera herself. “Radium Girls,” her feature directing debut, was set to open in New York City in April when the coronavirus struck, grinding the cultural life of Gotham to a standstill and imperiling the business and art form she loves.
Instead of despairing, Pilcher got creative. Juno Films, the movie’s distributor, pushed the debut back to the fall and set about fashioning a COVID-compliant release strategy for the indie drama. When it finally opened in October, it screened at drive-in theaters and had special virtual showings. To raise awareness, the distributor and filmmakers of “Radium Girls” — which documents the true story of female factory employees who contracted radiation poisoning due to poor working conditions — partnered with environmental groups like the Sierra Club and gave them a cut of the profits from special screenings that tapped their mailing lists.
"…Radium Girls proves engrossing, thanks to its powerful real-life tale and the excellent performances by leads King and Quinn, who make us fully care about their character’s fates."
— Frank Scheck, Hollywood Reporter
"A worthy entry in the category of workers’ rights movies, “Radium Girls,” like “Silkwood,” is based on actual events. Directors Lydia Dean Pilcher and Ginny Mohler reveal a little-known part of history with a loudly beating feminist heart and a narrative grounded in reality."
— Kristen Yoonsoo Kim, New York Times
“With the words "teen" and "activist" becoming increasingly synonymous, this historical drama is incredibly relevant and feels made to appeal to and encourage today's passionate youths."
— Tara McNamara, Common Sense Media
“Radium Girls” is a story based on hauntingly true events that question the themes displayed in today’s society.”
— Molly Given, AM/METRO
"Morgana" Is The Feminist Mid-Life Anti-Crisis Porn Doc You Didn't Know You Needed.
Read full review at Bust Magazine
One of the best things about Fantasia is that you can always count on finding an excellent documentary—last year it was “Phantom of Winnipeg,” and this year it’s “Tiny Tim: King for a Day.” The documentary is lovingly and efficiently put together by director John von Sydow, who covers the life story of the high-voiced, ukulele-strumming, "Tiptoe Through the Tulips" entertainer within a 75-minute run-time, while giving careful attention to each of the saga's different shades of black. As the film’s recollects Tiny Tim’s ascent to pop culture stardom and immediate fall, von Sydow’s documentary becomes all the more heartbreaking and unforgettable.
Read full review on rogerebert.com
Juno Films, the boutique distributor and world sales agent, has acquired Worldwide rights (excluding Australia/NZ) to Josie Hess and Isabel Peppard’s feature-length documentary film, Morgana. The announcement comes as the film enjoys a critically acclaimed North American launch during Fantasia Festival in Montreal (screening digitally Aug 20 - Sept 2), with a Rotten Tomatoes score of 100.
After 20 years as a dutiful housewife stuck in a loveless, sexless marriage, Morgana has had enough of her dreary life. Desperately lonely and starved of intimacy, she books a male escort for one last hurrah before ending it all.
Her final night takes an unexpected turn when her relationship with the escort opens up a new world of personal and sexual freedom. Instead of killing herself, Morgana makes an award-winning porn film about their date, moves from suburban Australia to Berlin, and becomes a celebrated feminist porn director and star.
Filmed over five years, chronicling Morgana’s journey from repressed housewife to international “sex-positive at any age” icon, and her struggles with self-acceptance and mental health, the inspiring and uplifting film takes the audience on a wild ride that is both intimate and universal.
The 71-minute feature documentary film had its world premiere in its home country at the Melbourne International Film Festival. It combines intimate interview and verite footage with Morgana Muses, handmade miniature elements, animation, archival footage, and Morgana’s own erotica films.
Morgana is produced by Karina Astrup of House of Gary. It is the first feature length film from directors Hess and Peppard.
The deal was negotiated between Elizabeth Sheldon, Juno’s CEO and co-founder, and Producer Karina Astrup, on behalf of the filmmakers. Release plans will be announced at a later date.
Directors - Isabel Peppard and Josie Hess:
"We set out to make this film because we had never seen a character like Morgana before. A woman reclaiming her sexual identity in a very public and radical way at an age where many women start to feel invisible. So many of the themes spoke strongly to us, the human need for intimacy and touch, the search for community and belonging, the acceptance of body and self, and the redemptive power of creativity and art. We are really grateful to be able to bring Morgana's story to a wider audience through Juno Films. It's incredibly exciting to be part of a team that is willing to champion age-positive, sex-positive representation in cinema."
Juno Films is thrilled to announce the launch of JUNO FILMS @ HOME to all of our theatrical partners. We know that many in our art house community are struggling during these challenging times to keep their doors open and provide critically acclaimed content to your patrons. We are here to make it easy and profitable.
Drop us a note if you would like to learn more.
We sincerely hope everyone remains safe and we look forward to seeing you at the theater when we return.
Lydia Dean Pilcher and Ginny Mohler’s feature Radium Girls has been snapped up by Juno Films, which is taking all North American rights and English-speaking territories. The pic, which made its world premiere at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival, will open April 3 at the Quad Cinema in New York followed by a national rollout.
Read more on Deadline