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Friday, 07 February 2014 10:04

‘Selfie’: Area Native Debuts Film At Sundance

By | News

PARK CITY, UTAH – Sharon Liese, a Saratoga Springs native daughter and proud Blue Streak graduate received another accolade in an impressive film producing career as her short film ‘Selfie’ made its debut on January 20 at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival. 

 

The film itself is a result of collaboration with the Dove Corporation’s long-standing “real beauty” campaign and the Sundance Institute. Sharon’s partner on the film is Director Cynthia Wade.  

 

‘Selfie’ was filmed at Monument Mountain High School in Great Barrington, Mass., where Ms. Wade has a residence. The story line centers on female students (and often their mothers) discussing their issues with particular features that make them unique. They overcome self-esteem issues by participating in a project which involves taking self-portraits (‘selfies’) with their camera phones and displaying them at an exhibit where guests are invited to comment. 

 

The process of “putting yourself out there” with this form of expression is a modern social media phenomenon and the Dove campaign for Real Beauty has a stated goal of “widening the definition of beauty.” 

 

In this connection, the subjects of ‘Selfie,’ by being strong and brave enough to photograph and display those personal aspects that heretofore were a major source of anxiety, turn them into sources of empowerment and reinforcement. 

 

The phenomenon of social media is shown to be a powerful tool to help broaden what we consider beautiful, allowing the “unique” to supplant the stereotypes and in the process enabling us all to:

 

“Imagine a World Where Beauty is a Source of Confidence, Not Anxiety”

- Source: dove.us/social-mission/campaign-for-real-beauty.aspx

 

All in eight minutes and three seconds! 

 

It is hard to imagine any young person, male or female, or their parents for that matter, not being positively affected by the messages of ‘Selfie.’ 

 

Sharon and Cynthia’s film treatment was chosen for underwriting by Dove and the Sundance Institute from over 60 filmmakers who submitted applications.. 

 

After graduating high school, where she worked on her first film, entitled “Autumn” Sharon acquired a communication arts degree at SUNY New Paltz and served as an intern at WMHT, where she got some “front of the camera” experience as an on-air host. 

She has several career highlights as a producer prior to ‘Selfie’ and has previously collaborated with Cynthia Wade on several indie film projects, including “Wrestling the Monster,” has produced in several capacities (field and casting producer, for instance) for several projects on networks such as Oprah Winfrey Network, MTV and Lifetime.

 

Perhaps Sharon’s previously best-known project was as executive producer of reality-documentary “High School Confidential,” which ran for two seasons on the WE Network.  The premiere of this show attracted 1.3 million viewers, a tremendous number for a smaller cable network. It was featured on Tyra Banks’ talk show and garnered a “Best Producer” award for Sharon from indie TV bible CableFAX Magazine in 2008. 

 

To be sure, there’s plenty of creativity and ‘glam’ in Sharon’s life as a multi-media producer, yet she makes it clear to those who aspire to something similar: be prepared to work. 

 

“I’d love to spend all my time on the creative side of things,” she said, “but at least 50 percent of my work is what I would call ‘development,’ at various crucial times it’s a lot higher than that. Between negotiating, fund-raising, planning and gaining that elusive ‘access’ my workday is not dissimilar from a lot of business people outside of Hollywood.”

 

But as a result of that hard work, Sharon and Cynthia have reached the point where they get to choose what projects they will develop and pitch, and their bona-fides make it a pretty safe bet that the right people will be inclined to ‘take a meeting’ with them and hear what they have to say.

 

While some details had to remain a secret for now, Sharon indicated that she was working on two new projects: a series pilot in the crime/documentary genre, as well as another film, but “about a completely different subject” than ‘Selfie.’ 

 

Also in her future: frequent visits to her hometown. “I never miss a summer here,” Sharon says. “I’m blessed to have a home, family and great friends who are still in this area.” 

 

 

To join the millions of viewers who have enjoyed ‘Selfie’ worldwide, visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BFkm1Hg4dTI#aid=P-xsVU20HNA

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