Magazine's directors ready for closeups

This summer, production begins in Los Angeles on Glamour magazine’s third series of Reel Moments, three short films directed by Hollywood insiders.

The shorts from 2007’s rookie directors, Kirsten Dunst, Kate Hudson and Rita Wilson, are based on true stories submitted by Glamour readers.

Past first-timers include Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Aniston, Bryce Dallas Howard and writer Talia Lugacy, whose popular “Little Black Dress” yielded a directing gig on the upcoming revenge thriller “The Descent,” starring Rosario Dawson.

In a contest in Glamour’s January issue, the magazine asked readers to submit essays of 750 words or less about an event in their lives that made them feel strong, wise or happy. After Glamour culled thousands of entries down to hundreds, Dunst, Hudson and Wilson each picked one story to adapt and shoot in L.A. with a mid-six-figure budget in just three days: no reshoots.

Hudson starts filming in several weeks in Altadena. The ’70s-period father-daughter story stars Kurt Russell opposite Dakota Fanning, comedian Kevin Hart and Chevy Chase. “I’ll get my brothers out there stopping traffic,” said Hudson, who has always enjoyed writing. “Directing is something I always thought I’d do, but not in this way.”

Wilson heard about the series from Trudie Styler, whose short “Wait,” debuted in 2005. Aniston, who shot her film “Room 10″ last year, offered support through the process, said Wilson, who has already filmed “The Trap” with director of photography Don Burgess at a landmark movie house in downtown L.A. “I called in some favors,” said the actress, who also took input from husband Tom Hanks. “It’s a story about someone getting in touch with who she is.” Jeanne Tripplehorn, Aisha Tyler, Camilla Bell and Channing Tatum star.

Dunst will shoot her short in August.

This year, Glamour will invite aspiring women filmmakers to apply for a filmmaking grant, said Glamour vice president and publisher Bill Wackermann. A committee of Glamour’s short film alumnae will select the winner, who will be announced at the October 9 L.A. premiere of the 2007 shorts, which are presented by Clinique.

The shorts will also debut at theaters in the hometowns of the winning Glamour essayists and will be available for streaming at glamour.com and clinique.com. DVDs of the individual shorts will be distributed in 2,300 Clinique stores. They will eventually be available for download at iTunes, whose customers have watched the first-season shorts some 700,000 times.

Glamour is also organizing the first Reel Moments Summit in the L.A. area in January, which will bring together series alumnae with other Hollywood women to discuss the state of women in film and what stories should be told. ” ‘Transformers’ is not the story,” said Wackermann. “These are inspiring stories for women. I hope popular culture will continue to pick up the message of these films.”

Thanks to their star power, Reel Moments shorts have grabbed gobs of media attention for Glamour, which boasts a circulation of 2.5 million. Paltrow’s “Dealbreaker” screened at the Sundance Film Festival; altogether, the shorts have played 25 festivals. The song that Styler’s husband, Sting, performed in her short, “Wait,” won a Grammy. Oprah Winfrey devoted an entire show to the project’s positive impact on women in film.

Wackermann came up with the Reel Moments concept 3 ½ years ago with associate publisher Leslie Russo. “We knew what our message about empowering women looks like inside the magazine,” he said. “What would it look like outside? We took real readers and made films about real women. And we asked A-list actresses to be part of it. After Gwyneth Paltrow, other actresses heard about it. There’s a community of women in Hollywood.”

Freestyle’s Francesca Silvestri has produced the shorts from the series’ inception.

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