A movie chronicling the story of a man is every feminist’s dream come true. Ironic? Maybe. But the filmmakers behind the upcoming The Lennon Report had me falling in love with something I haven’t even seen yet, purely because of their conscience efforts to give women equal opportunity and allow them to shine with this project. Bustle caught wind of the film at the 2016 MTV Movie Awards and spoke with producers/brothers Rafael and Gabriel Francisco and star Stef Dawson about how they turn the story of an iconic man’s death into one which shares the spotlight with women — on and off screen — who are incredibly deserving of it.
First off, know that about 70% of the movie’s department heads was made up of women. “Having women work on a film, we’re never very conscience about it, it should just always be a regular thing,” says Rafael Francisco. “Women are just as qualified as men and that should never be a question. If everybody hired based on qualifications, it would be even everyday.” He explains how beneficial it is having women as such a strong part of a team’s backbone: “We have always hired women and men, we’ve never sort of [said], ‘More women or more men.’ So it’s natural. Other sets I’ve been on, I feel like hiring women, we actually got things done a lot faster. It was smoother.”
What’s beautiful about their intentions is that they shed light on the night John Lennon was assassinated, and while educating audiences and paying tribute to him, they focus on “the real heroes [and] everyday people” — the nurses who tried to save him. Dawson, who you may recognize from The Hunger Games franchise, stars as a nurse in the film, one she says is “a real lady who’s incredible.” She explains how these characters were inspired by amazingly selfless women:
For me, it was important and wonderful to have women on set because we did portray these really strong women. Their strength came from doing their
that night, not worrying about who it was or anything. They’re incredible women. And they did everything they could. It’s a testament to their story, their jobs and what they did, as much [as it is] to John Lennon.
Dawson explains that by telling the story through the first responders’ eyes, there is new information revealed from people who were actually there that night in New York City, disclosing this information for the first time. “There’s been a lot of misinformation in the press in the last 35 years,” she says.
Beyond the feminist badass-ery, there are messages in the film anybody can appreciate. “I wasn’t alive when John Lennon was killed,” says Dawson. “He inspired a new generation with his legacy, which was that of peace. Which is kind of ironic he left this world in such a violent way.” Gabriel Francisco adds: “The bigger message being that, until this day, we still have not done anything to really prevent anybody from walking up anybody and just shooting them.”
The Lennon Report and its behind-the-scenes/on-screen feminist glory will debut at the Newport Beach Film Festival at the end of the month, with a fall release.
Images: Francisco Productions; Taylor Ferber/Bustle