It isn’t often you see a movie with such caliber created by so many amazing women about such a huge part of world history. When I was invited to New York to attend a special screening and High Tea with the creators of the film I was honored and humbled. This is the second time that Focus Film had extended an invite for me to cover one of their award winning movies (this one will win too…I am predicting)! Suffragette was a great movie and much better than I had expected. I don’t usually cry at movies and I needed tissues for this one!
After screening the movie we attended a High Tea at the beautiful and historical Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Manhattan.
Helen Pankhurst’s great grandma actually fought for the right to vote and she sat with us during this inspiring press junket! We were also joined with some other great and talented women: Writer Abi Morgan (The Iron Lady) and director Sarah Gavron (Brick Lane), with producers Faye Ward (Jane Eyre, The Other Boleyn Girl) and Alison Owen (Saving Mr. Banks, Temple Grandin).
It took 6 years for them to finish this movie! It was six years ago they went through memoirs, news articles, videos, workingwomen, and learned very quickly how do they create this story. By very quickly, we are talking six years. The lives of the working women became very interesting…the stories and conditions were very fierce. Abby shared some of the details with us during our Tea.
Sarah was very passionate about telling the story because there had “never been a big screen moment”. She was very keen in telling the story and how it connects today and the ongoing fight for equality. They spent 6 years on finding new ways to create this movie. Everyone really wanted to contact the relatives.
Helen, the great granddaughter of one of the Suffragettes was part of our interview. “I saw the script and loved it!” It focused on the story and not the personalities–“the issues really appealed to me. I have always been asked at my heritage. There is a reason for peoples reactions when I am dressed up.” Helen talked about how she has been a spokesperson and sometimes she tells stories dressed as a suffragette and peoples’ reactions and emotions are much different.
During our interview we spoke of the costuming. I had to ask about this because I thought it was amazing. The research for the costumes was easy because they did have photography and video in the early 1900s. There are actual live video clips in the movie at the end. They found that outfits were passed down several generations. Plus, we learned that Meryl Streep wore her own shoes from Africa! I learned that women would even cross dress around the period. They used to make cardboard armor on them to wear under their clothes. Also, in the movie they found the actual business that created the Suffragette medals that were given to women every time they went to jail for fighting for their rights to create the medals for the film. The WSPU gave medals each time you went to prison for a hunger strike. They looked up the original business and they had the mold on how to make them. Now the museum of London will have them too.
The film was created to promote change. Alison said, “We knew the topic was important and we began to realize how important this story is and how often the women sacrificed so many things.”
Be sure to check out this movie in theaters! I am seriously thinking an Oscar nomination will happen! It was so great!