Virginia Madsen to defy ‘Gravity’

Actress teaming up for female ski jumper doc

Virginia Madsen is teaming with Empire 8 Prods. and Vancouver-based Screen Siren on “Fighting Gravity,” a documentary about women ski jumpers’ ongoing battle for the right to compete in the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Film, which is currently in production, follows 15 athletes challenging the Intl. Olympic Committee’s decision to bar them from the upcoming Games in Vancouver. The IOC has rejected a decade-long effort to include women jumpers in the Games, making ski jumping the only Olympic sport exclusively for men. The case is currently making its way through the Canadian court system.

Madsen and Karly Meola are producing through their Title IX Prods. shingle, which was launched last year.

Alex Mar, a former producer for MTV News and editor at Rolling Stone, will direct.

Empire 8’s Nicholas Shumaker is also producing alongside Screen Siren’s Trish Dolman. Ryan Harrington (“American Teen”) is exec producing.

“To think that in 2009, in a celebrated, international event like the Olympics, women are still dealing with discrimination is pretty shocking,” Madsen said. “We knew instantly we wanted to throw our support behind this project and get the word out there.”

Madsen, who recently starred in “The Haunting in Connecticut,” launched Title IX in March 2008. The debut title for the shingle, which is named after the 1972 law giving women equal opportunity to participate in activities that receive federal funding, is the doc “I Know a Woman Like That,” which focuses on the lives of women between the ages of 64 and 94; it’s currently in post-production.

Projects in development include a screen adaptation of author Martha O’Connor’s debut novel “The Bitch Posse” and a remake of the 1984 film “Electric Dreams.”

Gotham-based Empire 8 is in post-production on Mar’s directorial debut, “American Mystic,” a doc about twentysomethings immersed in fringe religious groups in the U.S. The company is also in preproduction on Mike Cahill’s sci-fi film “Another Earth.”

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