The Hollywood Women’s Film Institute will launch its Hollywood Women’s Film Festival with “Why Not Choose Love? A Mary Pickford Manifesto” as its opening title, Variety has learned exclusively.
The Mary Pickford biopic, starring Sophie Kennedy Clark as the iconic actress, will screen on June 13 at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Beverly Hills, Calif. Written and directed by Jennifer DeLia, the film also stars Cary Elwes, Balthazar Getty, Luke Arnold, Josephine de La Baume, Jane Stiles, Summer Phoenix, Adam Fergus, and Scott Haze.
“Why Not Choose Love” is produced by DeLia through her Poverty Row production banner along with Julie Pacino, Nitsa Benchetrit, and Kim Zubick (“The Zookeeper’s Wife”). The festival will run through June 18 with screenings and events centered on initiatives dealing with education and integration advocacy at Raleigh Studios in Hollywood, with additional venues including Dick Clark Productions and UCLA.
Pickford, who was known as “America’s Sweetheart,” became one of the biggest stars in Hollywood during the silent film era. She co-founded the Pickford-Fairbanks Studio and United Artists along with Douglas Fairbanks, Charlie Chaplin, and D. W. Griffith. She was also one of the original 36 founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and won the second Academy Award for best actress for her first sound-film role in “Coquette.”
“Julie and I really had it in our minds that we wanted to do something special in LA, as we see Mary as symbolizing the Mother of the Hollywood culture,” said DeLia. “We want to create the opportunity for artists in the storytelling fields to unite by paying homage to the woman who birthed the medium and industry. We are ambassadors of Mary’s values and integrity and look forward to illuminating what she represents.”
Founded by filmmaker J.R. Niles, the Hollywood Women’s Film institute is a non-profit feminist organization created to support and facilitate programs and opportunities for women filmmakers and student filmmakers in film, TV, and media.
Niles said, “I am thrilled to have Jennifer and Julie as part of the festival with their innovative Mary Pickford film. I can’t think of a better way to launch a women’s film festival, than with Pickford at the forefront, and this film will be honoured with ‘the most innovative film’ award.”