By Lauren Linhard – email@example.com
Our favorite fairytale characters found their way into our hearts by overcoming evil queens, fighting dragons and outsmarting a big bad wolf. But what would “once upon a time” look like if such fantasy obstacles were replaced with challenges found in the real world?
Amateur film director Angie Kupper, 28, answers that question in her upcoming documentary “Finding Your Fairytale,” a film that tells the story of 13 modern-day fairytales and how they found their happily ever after.
“I think many of us don’t see ourselves as princesses as we grow up because we compare ourselves to the unrealistic expectations society and the media set, and see that we don’t exactly measure up,” Kupper said. “My goal in this project is to inspire others to keep fighting their battles, to continue writing their own stories and to believe happily ever after is not only attainable, but well deserved.”
The documentary was inspired by an online quiz Kupper took to see which fairytale character she was. Having been diagnosed with narcolepsy at the age of 26, she felt the answer was fairly obvious – Sleeping Beauty – but it got her thinking about other personal struggles real-life princesses might face.
Even more so, it got her thinking about how wrong it was that many of those challenges can make a woman feel she doesn’t deserve to be a princess or a man believe he is no prince.
“By portraying survivors as the classic fairytale characters, we can start to change the distorted images people hold onto of adversity,” said Kupper, who is sharing her story in the film. “We’re showing the beauty in imperfection and highlighting the magic we all possess despite the obstacles we are faced with.”
In addition to Kupper’s Sleeping Beauty, the documentary includes survivors of sexual assault, bullying, depression, drug addiction, post traumatic stress disorder, eating disorders, domestic violence and chronic illness.
It will be the first time each of the cast members has told their story publicly, if at all.
“The topics discussed in the documentary are not easy to talk about, let alone doing so for a film that will be seen by thousands,” Kupper said. “[But] through this project, we were able to take on a new persona, one that is both magical and extremely real. We began to see our struggles as a source of strength and realized there is power in telling our stories.”
The film itself is designed as a “behind-the-scenes” piece, following each of the subjects through a visual transformation into their respective characters, symbolically depicting their struggle and success in overcoming it.
The documentary also includes the cast’s in-costume participation in a local suicide awareness walk, clips from a final photo shoot with each character and group commentary about the process and experience.
“My ultimate hope is to help prevent suicide by providing stories of inspiration to show it;s possible to overcome some of life’s greatest challenges,” said Kupper, who lost her mom to suicide in 2005. “I have since dedicated my life to helping others see the magic and believe their happily ever after is still out there. I hope through this documentary, we help others to see their story is far from over.”
Kupper, along with her filmographer Damien Blue, plan to have the project completed by next summer to enter the piece into 2017 film festivals.