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The Project

What It's About and Why

The Stardust & Moonbeams project is the women's fiction novel (forthcoming 2018, BZB Publishing), this 17-min short film (based on scenes from the novel), a short play, Pants Only (produced at Bloomington Playwrights Project, 2011), and a feature script in progress.


The novel, written by Madelyn Ritrosky and Dena Huisman, is fun, sexy, romantic, smart -- with a serious message about real equality between women and men.  Delving into the sexual politics of romance, the novel advocates strongly and openly for sexual equality.  Deeply ingrained attitudes about masculinity and femininity remain so entrenched.  It's time to show just how sexy equality can be. 

There is a lot of buzz about the lack of roles for women in Hollywood, both on screen and behind the camera.  Our short film and we as women filmmakers are committed to adding more diverse voices to motion pictures, sharing stories about how the world works from a female perspective.  Things haven't changed much since the 1920s.  Men create the images we see; women are objects of that male gaze.  That singular view is incredibly tiresome.  We want lots of perspectives shaping our world, especially from more women— like our director Terri Farley-Teruel, cinematographer Nancy Schreiber, ASC, writer/producer Madelyn Ritrosky, and producer Kalynn Huffman Brower.  Women and men enjoy real parity with this film— in front of and behind the camera. 


Short Film Synopsis


It's the modern times of the Jazz Age.


Will, inspired by a photo exhibit of art nudes, asks his wife Beth to pose for him. But Beth realizes something is missing:  "There isn't a single male nude, and not one female photographer!" Yet she agrees to pose— if he will pose for her.


So it’s lights, camera… lose your clothes, Will! The woman is behind the camera. The man is in front. Sparks fly in more ways than one.


With their photos, Beth & Will plan a potentially scandalous art exhibit that captures their passion for sexual equality. Friends Cary, Janet, Matt, and Cherilyn are surprised but ultimately applaud the equality of imagery.  Their discussion includes the new birth control clinic the women will soon be opening, the trend of men wearing wedding rings, and other gender imbalances in the culture.

Grab the Camera - Change the View!


We shot our film at Farmer House Museum in Bloomington, Indiana, with an amazing cast and professional crew.  Post-production then shaped our fabulous raw footage into the oh so sexy yet very empowering Stardust & Moonbeams short film.



Grab the Pen - Change the Story!


Madelyn Ritrosky and Dena Huisman wrote Stardust & Moonbeams because of the double standards, rigid gender roles, reproductive injustices, male gaze imagery, and male-centered stories that still hold sway and shape our culture.  With PhDs in communication, they wanted to use their knowledge and research to make a difference, but in especially fun and effective ways. 


They chose fiction— with vibrant women who shoot for the moon and accept nothing less, intelligent men who understand the need for change, private negotiation of truly equitable relationships, public expressions of sexual equality with birth control access and cultural imagery, and tons of historical details that paint the Jazz Age in its modern tones of our contemporary colors.

WFIU "Profiles" radio interview: writer/producer/novelist Madelyn Ritrosky and producer Kalynn Brower.  Read/Listen here.
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