Female Filmmaker Dana Fykerud Explores the Difficult Topics of Conversion Therapy & Female Incarceration in Her First Film Short, Red Wine Drive

(Red Wine Drive, Photo courtesy of Wild Sunflower Films, LLC)

Writer/Director/Producer Sets Out to Raise $5K through Seed & Spark

Dana Fykerud is a first-time writer, director, producer and actor in her first film short entitled Red Wine Drive. The former choreographer (and business owner) realized that she could apply her love of storytelling through a medium other than dance, and boldly set out to produce a film she wrote several years ago. While the film delves into compelling topics and has attracted a talented cast and crew, it’s significant that Fykerud put her artistic ambitions on hold while she raised her son to adulthood and has now moved her ideas into production. For a woman in midlife to undertake a film project, with no previous experience aside from acting classes, places Fykerud in good company with many women whose career didn’t take off until later in life, such as Senator Nancy Pelosi, Julia Child and actress Jane Lynch. Now that she has filmed a portion of the film, Fykerud is launching a crowdfunding campaign through Spark & Seed, a filmmaking support organization, to raise $5,000 for Red Wine Drive’s enhancement and post-production.

Red Wine Drive is a period piece set in 1979 — in which a young nurse working in a mental institution forms a risky friendship with a patient that shares a similar condition to her long lost brother. The crew began production in December 2018, shooting their proof-of-concept trailer, and will wrap up shooting this March. Filming takes place in the beautiful town of Bend.

Two social issues have served as the inspiration for Fykerud’s film. The first is gender disparity in prison population trends, which is finding more women serving time than ever before. Secondly, thousands of LGBTQ youth, ages 13 to 17, will undergo gay conversion therapy from a licensed health care professional or religious adviser before they turn 18.  Fykerud is outraged that such practices are still legal in many states, and with Red Wine Drive, she intends to bring awareness to, and engage action upon, these issues.

Fykerud commented, “Like many women, I had to wait until a moment in life when I could  pursue such a time-intensive creative medium as film. I didn’t want to let my inexperience stand in the way of a story that deserves to be told, one that explores critical issues of our day. It’s my hope that my pursuit of this project might inspire other artists to take such a risk, regardless of age. The funding campaign I’m embarking upon, though modest, will make this a better film, and I sincerely appreciate the support I receive.”

The cast of Red Wine Drive features Tanya Janeway Thompson as Dawn Withers, actor Shelly Lipkin, Nike model Jenny Jan Meeker, and also draws upon the talents of other Portland- and Bend-based actors, including Fykerud herself. Taylor Morden serves as director of photography, and the film features an original score by Greg Dombroski.

Fykerud’s company, Wild Sunflower Films, LLC, is dedicated to sharing women’s stories through the media of film.


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