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.
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