Each year the American Film Institute (AFI) selects 8 women from across the nation to participate in their Directing Workshop for Women.  

I‘m one of 8 women chosen to participate this year in this prestigious program for filmmaking.  The program is designed to foster and support women with a proven potential in film directing. It’s indeed a great honor to make my next film “TOWING” under the guidance of the program. 

TOWING is a film about a female veteran’s struggle to make the adjustment to civilian life, one fateful night her experiences in the war comes back to challenge her as she's yet again forced to face meaningless death. Towing explores themes of gender, race and class with a feminine perspective on the emotional effects of war.

Written by friend and screenwriter Cari Callis, TOWING was a finalist in the short screenplay competitions at Slamdance Film Festival and Alaska International Film Festival.

 

Story

DANA “RED” CUMPION 35, Latina, is a recently retired ex-army sniper struggling to make the adjustment to civilian life by supporting her family as a tow truck driver.  One night, after helping out at a horrible accident, she encounters States Attorney SEAN WESTIN, 35, drunk on the side of the road after he has hit a beautiful dog.  When Red tries to convince him to take responsibility for his actions she is confronted with death yet again.


The collision between Red and Sean is a collision of character.  Red will always do the right thing, not according to law, but according to conscience.  She’s a woman who has seen everything and conquered her fear, not because she wanted to but because she had to.  She’s the opposite of Sean who has money, education, status and a job putting away the “bad guy” and getting all the accolades.  Red assumes the mantle of responsibility and morality as she has been doing her entire life for all difficult choices.  Red provokes examination of an entrenched social dilemma—who gets assigned to deal with the gritty side of life and who gets exempted.


The story illustrates a situation created by classism.  What makes it new is the perspective of a woman returning home from the military who finds her own way to heal.   Red makes sure Sean realizes that Red’s life in the American military has made Sean’s privileged life possible.  When Sean makes a quick escape in his luxury car and throws cash at Red to clean up after him, Red shoots the suffering dog and once again cleans up the mess.  Not for the first time in her life Red understands it’s more difficult to deal with the death of an innocent animal than it is for a human.


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