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SEQUIN RAZE

A Film by Sarah Gertrude Shapiro

U.S., 2013
20 MINUTES / COLOR / HD
www.sequinraze.com

2013 SXSW FILM FESTIVAL
Narrative Shorts Competition
Saturday, March 9 – 11:15am Topfer Theatre at Zach Scott
Monday, March 11 – 2:00pm Rollins Theatre at the Long Center
Wednesday, March 13 – 4:30pm Vimeo Theatre

Publicity Contact:
MATT JOHNSTONE PUBLICITY
Matt Johnstone
323 938-7880 c.
mattjohnstone-pr@sbcglobal.net

LOG LINE
On  the  closing  night  of  hit  reality  show  “The  Hunk”,  jaded,  once-­‐feminist  producer  Rebecca  
Goldberg’s  moral  compass  is  tested  when  the  lawless  show  psychologist  gives  her  inside  information  
on  the  contestant  she  is  sent  to  mentally  destroy.      

SYNOPSIS
Sequin Raze - starring Anna Camp (Mad Men, True Blood), Ashley Williams (How I Met Your Mother)
and Frances Conroy (Six Feet Under) explores the dark and twisted mind of ‘Goldberg’, a jaded, oncefeminist producer on a hit reality show, as she psychologically battles and manipulates female
contestants into on-camera meltdowns, while simultaneously destroying her own psyche. Tonight,
Goldberg, egged on by disoriented and lawless show psychologist (Frances Conroy), ratchets up her
interrogation to CIA levels and wages complex mental mortal combat against spurned beauty queen
(Anna Camp) – but she may have met her match.

PRINCIPAL CREW
Director / Screenwriter
Executive Producer
Producer
Cinematographer
Editor
Production Designer
Music & Sound Design

Sarah Gertrude Shapiro
Erin Donovan, David Cress
Deniese Davis, Andrea Longacre White, Sarah Gertrude Shapiro
Ava Berkofsky
Kelly Brickner
Shaz Taylor
Barking Owl

PRINCIPAL CAST
Ashley Williams
Anna Camp
Frances Conroy

Rebecca
Jessica
Dr. Wagerstien

Lily Rains
Molly Haldeman
Beau Bonness
Jennie-Kate De Shon
Robert Sanchez
David Graf
Edward Hong

Alicia
Giovanna
The Hunk
Catherine
Camera Guy
Director
Terrified PA

FILMMAKER STATEMENT
Sarah Gertrude Shapiro
Writer / Director
Sequin Raze explores the braided, phantasmogoric power pageant that is female social hierarchy and
the role of the media in creating it - in this case, behind the scenes of a fictional Reality TV show.
I chose Reality TV as the stage on which to explore these themes because of its ever presence in our
current cultural conversation, and the multiple layers intrinsic in crafting a show within a show. Like
Foucault’s Panopticon, if we internalize the gaze of the camera then we are never alone, we are
always performing, always ready to be seen and judged. Living our lives on an imaginary Reality
show, obsessively self-documenting and rating ourselves, grappling for acceptance, power and
control.
The relationship between the main characters is a constantly shifting, strategic ballet
of psycho
dynamics. On the surface, one is beautiful and thwarted Jessica (Anna Camp), the other exhausted,
shluby and invisible-­‐ Rebecca (Ashley Williams). Rebecca acts like a handmaiden to Jessica, even
lifting her dress as they walk down the stairs, gently escorting the butterfly to the light where she will
rip off her wings.
I explore these themes of acceptance and power in all of my work. How do packs of human animals
organize themselves, how do they subjugate and manipulate? It feels increasingly relevant in our
contemporary society to explore the impact of constant documentation and self-mythologizing.
All of my films deal with this existential effort to connect and find home. I have explored these themes
in music as well and find myself spiraling back to a sense of longing, and the irony of our
contemporary’s society’s entrenched roadblocks to human connection.
My most recent film “2nd Best” (premiered at Frameline) explores our hunter-gather impulse to hoard
objects for the home even when the family is a mess. Shot with a real couple over a weekend in
Portland this film reflects, the futility of trying to connect over a cheap piece of furniture, a flimsy
symbol of home-making, when their relationship is clearly a narcissistic mirror game. In my animated
music film “I Wish I Was an Animal” humans long to give up their bodies and become wild animals to
escape the pain and isolation of contemporary life.
While the scenarios in the film are fictional, the main character is informed by my own time working in
Reality TV and the deep insecurities that that sphere unearthed for me.
My biggest inspirations are Edith Wharton for her nuanced portrayals of the abject danger of beauty
and youth and human hierarchy, Mike Mills for his patience and gentle humanity in Beginners, Fish
Tank for it bold confrontation of a two women in eclipse, Gus Van Sant’s-­‐MILK for it’s crushing
yearning, the lush maximalism and vague hysteria of the painter Kehinde Wiley and the stark
humanity of authors Raymond Carver and JM Coetzee.

FILMMAKER BIOGRAPHIES
SARAH GERTRUDE SHAPIRO – WRITER/ DIRECTOR
After working on a fishing boat in Alaska, graduating from Sarah Lawrence College and interning at
Killer Films in 2000, Sarah Gertrude Shapiro's first job in New York was with photographer David
LaChapelle. In 2002 she moved to Hollywood and began working as a creative screenwriter and
producer in reality television.
After three years, she packed it in and drove north to Portland, OR. On arrival, she planted organic
kale and landed a job at advertising agency Wieden + Kennedy (Levi's, Nike, Old Spice) where she
has worked with the likes of Derek Cianfrance (Blue Valentine), Roman Coppola (Moonrise Kingdom),
Will Ferrell, Todd Haynes, John Hilcoat, Mike Mills, The Smithsonian Institute and MTV producing and
directing content.
During her tenure in Portland, Shapiro also established Sugar Shack Films LLC - wrote a feature- film
script (TREMBLE THE GORGEOUS VINE), short film (SEQUIN RAZE), TV pilot (UNREAL), auteured
the comedy short, 2ND BEST and founded the W+K Gay Club. 2ND BEST premiered at Frameline
and went on to screen in Philadelphia, Seattle, Boston, Milwaukee, Tucson, London, Amsterdam,
Brisbane, Rome, Milan, Mumbai, Helsinki, Tel Aviv and more.
In 2012, she was one of 8 women selected to participate in The American Film Institute’s, prestigious
Directing Workshop for Women- where she wrote and directed black-comedy character study
SEQUIN RAZE - staring Anna Camp (Mad Men, True Blood), Ashley Williams (How I Met Your
Mother) and Frances Conroy (Six Feet Under, American Horror Story). SEQUIN RAZE is premiering
at SXSW and going on to ND/NF.
Additionally she is a visual artist and musician whose hand-animated films for her album "I Wish I was
an Animal" have garnered worldwide acclaim.
Shapiro splits her time between Los Angeles and Portland and is currently developing a television
series and her feature-film “Tremble.”

DAVID ALLEN CRESS – EXECUTIVE PRODUCER 

David Cress is an optimist and an award winning media producer who has
worked in all genres of
filmmaking. He is currently producing the 3rd season of
 Portlandia. This year the show won a
Peabody award. Before Portlandia, David
 was executive producer on Gus Van Sant’s feature film
“Restless”. He also
produced Van Sant’s American Spirit Award nominated “Paranoid Park”.

ERIN DONOVAN – EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
In 2009, she produced Andy Blubaugh's feature debut The Adults in the Room. She is currently the inhouse producer for Field Recordings, a production company founded by Lance Bangs (Jack Ass, The
Lazurus Effect and Where the Wild Things Are). She is also the chief film programmer for the annual
Siren Nation Arts Festival in Portland, Oregon.

DENIESE DAVIS – PRODUCER
Deniese Davis is a graduate of the American Film Institute Conservatory (MFA, Producing ’12), where
she received the Disney/Jerry Bruckheimer Scholarship and was singled out as the only young
producer in the country for The Producer’s Guild elite Debra Hill Fellowship. She produces the web
series “The Mis-Adventures of Awkward Black Girl”, and is developing her first feature-length film with
“Awkward Black Girl” creator and star Issa Rae.

ANDREA LONGACRE WHITE – PRODUCER
Andrea Longacre-White is a film producer and fine artist whose work straddles the
photography/technology/digital mediation nexus. She has shown in galleries and museums throughout
the US. She has a background in film production and as a story editor/consultant. Recent film
consulting includes: 50/50 (Will Reiser), Beginners (Mike Mills) and The Future (Miranda July). This is
her film producing debut project.

AVA BERKOFSKY - CINEMATOGRAPHER
Ava Berkofsky is a New York and Los Angeles-based cinematographer.
Her work has been screened at numerous festivals including the THE THING at Sundance and
FLOOD TIDE at Telluride Film Festival and Rooftop Films; art venues including the Whitney
Museum and the Venice Biennale; and on numerous TV networks, most recently PBS.
With a solid foundation in documentary photography and film, Ava’s recent projects include FLOOD
TIDE, a feature length narrative/documentary hybrid; numerous narrative short films; and the
documentary project POSTCARDS FROM HERE, which offers a visceral portrait of the former Soviet
Republic of Armenia and was made in conjunction with feature film HERE (nominated for
Independent Spirit Award in Cinematography.)
Ava was born in Wales, UK and raised in California. She holds a BFA in Photography from the School
of Visual Arts and is a fellow in Cinematography at the American Film Institute.

KELLY BRICKNER – EDITOR 

Kelly Brickner is a Brooklyn-based film editor and motion graphics artist. She has contributed to NBC's
"Saturday Night Live", IFC's "Portlandia", to and myriad other short films and TV Pilots. SEQUIN
RAZE is Brickner’s second film with Shapiro and through many late nights, a lot of cheap Thai food
and one pencil thrown (at Shapiro) in well-earned frustration – has become one of her most trusted
collaborators.

KEY CAST BIOGRAPHIES
ASHLEY WILLIAMS (Rebecca)
Born in Westchester County, New York, Ashley has been an actress her entire life. She began her
professional career – while juggling classes at Rye High School – working for two years on the soap
opera “As the World Turns” and shooting commercials. After attending Boston University’s College of
Fine Arts, Ashley worked in the prestigious Williamstown Theatre Festival in Massachusetts. She
appeared in several shows, including “Street Scene” directed by Michael Grief (“Rent”). Soon after,
Ashley moved to New York City to do Off-Broadway plays, performing lead roles as the understudy to
Rachel Weisz and Gretchen Mol in Neil LaBute’s “The Shape of Things”.
The catalyst to Ashley’s thriving television career was her starring role in NBC’s sitcom, “Good
Morning, Miami.” From there, Ashley has gone on to numerous recurring arcs on TV, including
“Saving Grace,” “Warehouse 13,” and “How I Met Your Mother.” In the world of film, Ashley’s credits
include “Margin Call,” opposite Zachary Quinto, Jeremy Irons, and Kevin Spacey. She also recently
starred opposite John Krasinski and Ginnifer Goodwin in “Something Borrowed.”

ANNA CAMP (Jessica)
Anna Camp is one of Broadway’s most successful young actresses, recently starred opposite Daniel
Radcliffe in the critically acclaimed revival of Equus on Broadway. She is also known as Sarah Newlin
in the HBO series True Blood. She also appeared on Broadway in “The Country Girl” directed by Mike

Nichols with Frances McDormand and Morgan Freeman. Anna was nominated for a Lucille Lortell
award for her incredible turn in Second Stage Theater's "The Scene" opposite Tony Shaloub and
Patricia Heaton." Other New York theater work includes "columbinus" at New York Theatre Workshop,
"Flesh and the Desert" at Playwright's Horizons, and "God Hates the Irish" at Rattlestick Theatre.
Other Film and Television credits includes "Pretty Bird" (2008 Sundance Film Festival Selection), “And
then Came Love”, and ABC's “The Cashmere Mafia." She has had recurring roles in the fourth
season of Mad Men (2010) and the third season of the CBS legal drama series The Good Wife
(2011–2012), as well as a supporting role in The Help (2011) and Pitch Perfect (2012). She currently
has a recurring role in FOX comedy series, The Mindy Project.
Anna graduated with a BFA in theatre from North Carolina School of the Arts.

FRANCES CONROY (Dr. Wagerstien)
Frances Conroy, an acclaimed veteran American actress, is a graduate of the Juilliard Drama Division
and a member of The Acting Company. She won a Tony Award nomination for her performance in the
Broadway hit "The Ride Down Mt. Morgan". Her other Broadway credits include "Ring Round the
Moon", "The Little Foxes", "The Rehearsal" (Drama Desk Nominee), "Broken Glass", "In the Summer
House" (Drama Desk Nominee) and "The Secret Rapture" (Drama Desk Nominee). Conroy's
numerous off-Broadway plays include "The Dinner Party", "The Skin of Our Teeth", "The Last Yankee"
and "Othello" (Drama Desk Nominee).
Frances is also known from her work on the HBO series Six Feet Under. Frances won a Golden
Globe in 2004 as Best Actress in a Drama, followed by a Screen Actors Guild Award in the same
category later that year.
She is also known for playing Moira O'Hara on the television mini-series American Horror Story, which
garnered Conroy her first Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress on Television nomination, and as
well an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie.

SCREENING HISTORY
World Premiere:

SXSW Film Festival, March 2013 (Austin)

Upcoming Screenings:

New Directors / New Films, March 2013 (NYC, Museum of
Modern Art)
Additional Film Festival Screenings will be announced shortly.