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Project of the Day: Queer Film Historian Jenni Olson's New Experimental Documentary

By Indiewire | Indiewire July 8, 2013 at 3:00PM

Here's your daily dose of an indie film in progress; at the end of the week, you'll have the chance to vote for your favorite.In the meantime: Is this a movie you’d want to see? Tell us in the comments."The Royal Road"
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The Royal Road still
Here's your daily dose of an indie film in progress; at the end of the week, you'll have the chance to vote for your favorite.


In the meantime: Is this a movie you’d want to see? Tell us in the comments.

"The Royal Road"

Tweetable logline: 

A lyrical new film contemplating butch lesbian desire, nostalgia, Casanova, a history of the Mexican-American War and so much more.


Elevator Pitch: 

Contemplative and gorgeous, The Royal Road is an innovative, cinematic feature shot on 16mm film. Deceptively simple California urban landscapes become the framework for the film’s lyrically written voiceover: an expression of yearning butch lesbian desire and self-reflection interspersed with an array of non-fiction tangents including an exploration of El Camino Real (the original road connecting California’s Missions), a reflection on the life story of Casanova, a capsule history of the Mexican-American War and a defense of nostalgia. The film’s centerpiece is a brilliant five-minute lecture on nostalgia and socialism by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tony Kushner.


Production Team:

Writer-Director: Jenni Olson
Producer: Julie Dorf 

Additional Voiceover: Tony Kushner

Cinematographer: Sophie Constantinou

Editor: Marc Henrich 

Executive Producer: Tom Rielly

Jenni Olson's prior credits include: The 2009 short documentary 575 Castro St. (official selection: Sundance and Berlin Panorama); the 2005 experimental documentary feature The Joy of Life (official selection: Sundance and winner of the San Francisco Film Critics Circle Marlon Riggs Award “for courage and vision in Bay Area filmmaking”); 2000 short Meep! Meep! (official selection Sundance Online Film Festival); the 1997 short Blue Diary (official selection Berlin Panorama) and many other short films and curated programs of vintage movie trailers including the 1997 show, Trailer Camp (official selection Toronto International and Sundance).

About the Production: 

"I have always found it challenging to adequately characterize in words the complex nature of my filmmaking. I can describe the ostensible topics (in this case an array of historical interests ranging from the Mexican American War to the life story of Casanova) but of equal, if not greater, importance is the style and cinematic strategy of the storytelling. My simple 16mm photographic compositions and the lengthy duration of my shots are crucial components of this creative vision (in my favorite review of The Joy of Life, The Village Voice called the film: “thrillingly minimalist.”)" -- Jenni Olson

Current Status: 


In production.

For more information and to support this project:

Film Website
Kickstarter Page

Be sure to check out our curated Kickstarter page for more information on projects we think you should check out.

If you have an in-the-works project and you'd like to be profiled in an upcoming iW Project of the Day column, submit yourself by filling out this form!

This article is related to: Project of the Day