TIMES OF NORTHPORT - DECEMBER 1, 2011
Ginger Girls: The Secret Lives of Redheads
BY BRITTANY WAIT
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Independent filmmaker Alexia Anastasio, 30, of Northport is traveling the country to interview 500 natural redheads for her documentary "Ginger Girls: The Secret Lives of Redheads," with a deadline of one year.
As a young girl, people made fun of her for being a redhead but when she got older it was more of an attention-grabber. Her red hair makes her feel special and unique but unfortunately, she said, her hair color is getting darker, like her mother's.
"I think being a redhead gives you an excuse to embrace being different, being rare," Anastasio said. So, "I feel that the timing is now before my hair changes color."
The film, expected to be finished in August, would bring up the many stereotypes of "gingers" and would give her an excuse "to bring up the subject and compare notes with other redheads and empower the term of being a ginger."
The documentary will include animated segments, interviews, original songs, live-action historical re-enactments, a photo book with testimonial quotes from redheaded girls and an art show with hand-made mixed media paintings.
At age 11, she knew she wanted to be an actor. At 16, she wanted to try filmmaking and then once she graduated Northport High School and pursued filmmaking at SUNY Purchase she wanted to make her own documentaries.
Recently, she won the "10 Degrees Hotter" award at the 11th Annual Valley Film Festival in Los Angeles for her latest documentary "Adventures in Plymptoons." She also received a $6,500 grant from the Tribeca Film Institute.
"Adventures in Plymptoons" is a film on the life of Bill Plympton, known for hand-drawing every drawing and his edgy style of animation. Over the course of two and half years, Anastasio witnessed Plympton's workaholic nature, much like her own, and how accessible he was.
But what inspired her the most was that he never censored his work. Because of him, she said when she writes a poem she's not afraid to add something risque, even if it's not appropriate for all audiences.
The Academy Award nominee Bill Plympton, 65, moved from Portland, Ore. to New York City in 1968 to become an illustrator and cartoonist. He self-finances, produces and creates all of his own drawings.
The documentary, he said, "really does show the life of an independent filmmaker and it's inspiration for other young filmmakers who want to avoid that Hollywood business." In terms of Anastasio's new documentary, he said he has met many redheads through the course of his life and all of them have such interesting personalities that he thinks the film will be a success.
Having spent almost three years filming the documentary, he found Anastasio to be "a bundle of energy" and was impressed by her marketing and Internet skills. The film also helped promote the release of his new book "Independently Animated: Bill Plympton: The Life and Art of the King of Indie Animation," he said.
Although Anastasio is optimistic she will be able to finish "Ginger Girls" by August, she still needs to raise (money) to pay for studios, tape, marketing expenses, printing cards and other fees.
"Even though I'm doing things on a low budget you still need a little to get by," she said.
To nominate a redhead to be in the documentary, email a photo, contact information and why she should have the opportunity to tell her story to gingergirlsmovieATgmail.com.
So far, Anastasio interviewed 43 girls in New York. When she was invited to summer film festivals, each festival paid for transportation, lodging and food, so it was a good opportunity for her to interview "gingers."
"As an independent filmmaker and artist you find ways to get by in any fashion no matter what," she said.