It has never been true that sci-fi or Star Wars in particular was a hobby “only for guys”, but among general public, it has been long perceived as such at least partly. “Looking for Leia”, a feature documentary film focusing on Star Wars “fangirls” – including girls and women of all ages – wants to offer a contribution to overcoming that stereotype.
Looking for Leia is a project started by an award-winning documentary filmmaker and psychotherapist Annalise Ophelian. Its aim is to offer a look into the lives of female Star Wars fans and show how the saga has impacted their lives.
On the project’s official website, lookingforleia.com, Annalise Ophelian explains: “For many of us, Star Wars was the first time we saw a female character holding her own on screen, and the first time we had permission to geek out on a genre previously reserved for boys. And the most recent Star Wars films, comics, books, and animated series have had unparalleled numbers of female protagonists and women in central story roles. On screen and behind the scenes, women are driving Star Wars like never before.”
This is obviously true. For a long time, female role models on-screen have been limited mostly to the character of Leia. Now, with the arrival of Rey, Jyn Erso, the characters in Rebels and elsewhere, there is a start for achieving some balance. The “new” generation of fans who are looking for female role models have much wider range to pick their favourites from, but even the old-timers, like Annalise herself, princess Leia alone provided more than enough inspiration. Picking her name for the project’s title comes therefore as natural choice.
The Kickstarter Campaign
The project started filming in March 2017 and currently is running a campaign on Kickstarter to cover part of its expenses. Because it is a completely independent initiative and not in any way affiliated with Disney or Lucasfilm, it needs the fans’ support – therefore if you like the idea and are able to support, you can do it even with a small sum. The campaign runs until 24th June and is part way through, but still needs more. Of course, if you contribute more, you can get yourself some fancy rewards offered at the Kickstarter site under different backing options.
You can also participate in other ways. If you identify as woman, you can get in touch via the project’s website and if you are one of the “Leias” the makers are looking for, you can get interviewed and offer your perspective. But you can also offer your skills in post-production or if you are an artist, the team will be interested to feature your fan-work.
Annalise Ophelian started her work in the U.S., but she would like her documentary to offer as diverse perspective as possible. One of the purposes of the funding is also to allow covering travel expenses around the U.S. and to at least two cities outside U.S./Europe. In line with her previous work, the author aims at diversity and showing the topic from different perspectives. She wants to highlight “the voices of women of color, immigrant women, Muslim women, queer and trans women, youth and elders, disabled women, poor women, Deaf women, and women who live at the intersections of one or more these experiences.”
It is always good to know that Star Wars fans are being active. Looking for Leia, when it comes through, can show how Star Wars is more than a story and how significant it was for a wide range of female fans.
If you are interested to learn more about the project, support it or get in touch, you can read about it on the kickstarter site (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/lookingforleia/looking-for-leia), the official website (http://www.lookingforleia.com/), or follow it on facebook (www.facebook.com/lookingforleia), twitter (@LeiaFangirlFilm), and Instagram (@LeiaFangirlFilm).