LILLY

Half The Pay

Twice The Fight

 

the film

LILLY is a timely, political thriller based on the remarkable life of Fair Pay icon Lilly Ledbetter to commence principal photography October 2021 in Atlanta starring the glorious actor Patricia Clarkson. LILLY is a dramatic feature film in the tradition of other socially relevant movies such as Silkwood, The Insider, Erin Brockovich, Philadelphia, and Spotlight, and can garner large audiences, affect culture, and contend for awards. 

 

The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act of 2009 was the first piece of legislation that President Obama signed. While many people are familiar with Lilly’s legal and political achievements, our film is a heartbreaking family narrative illuminating the personal toll of challenging entrenched bastions of power, the story folks don’t know. 

lilly's story

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Lilly, age 8, with her aunt & grandmother. Possum Trot, Alabama,1945

Lilly Ledbetter grew up in Possum Trot, Alabama, on a dirt farm without electricity or running water, picking cotton at the age of eight for pennies. A smart girl, with big dreams, she married Charles Ledbetter, her high school sweetheart and lifelong mate, with whom she had two children. But Lilly and Charles struggled to make ends meet. Determined to elevate their family into the middle class, Lilly found the “best paying job in the county,” a night supervisor at The Goodyear Tire Factory.  

 

Despite Lilly's “first-one-in” and “last-one-out” work-ethic, her days were fraught with "good ole boy" misogyny. Enduring myriad family sacrifices and twenty years of sexual harassment, when she discovered that the company was also cheating her, paying the men twice what she was earning, denying her wages, retirement, and pension, she focused her rage on setting this injustice right. 

 

Jon Goldfarb, a fierce, young civil rights lawyer, convinced his firm to take on her case pro bono. Though the cap on damages was $60,000 at the initial trial, the jury awarded Lilly $3.8 MILLION dollars. Goodyear immediately appealed and Lilly lost on a technicality, never to see a dime. 

 

Emboldened by the injustice, Lilly and Goldfarb took their case to the Supreme Court to fix the discrepancy in the law, however, corporate interests once again prevailed. As a result, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in a rare-spoken dissent from the bench, urged Lilly to take her cause to Congress. Despite Lilly's lack of polish, perhaps even because of it, her notoriety spread as she crusaded through the halls of Congress, speaking plainly of the inequities facing women in the workplace. But as she became synonymous with the “face of Fair Pay,” powerful players, determined to undermine her efforts, endangered her family and put her life in jeopardy. Throughout all of this, when Lilly was not in court, or in Congress, she was taking care of her beloved Charles, now seriously ill.

Lilly became the voice of a movement, speaking at the Democratic convention, advocating for equal pay for equal work. While she didn’t succeed for herself, her advocacy became a fight for others, and that pride fulfilled her destiny of purpose. Though Charles did not live to see her achievements, Lilly was able to heal deep wounds with her children and know that her granddaughter would have a better future.

impact

Great dramas with themes of social justice can impact society and narrative feature films are changing the conversation in ways that used to be the domain of documentaries. LILLY will inspire an impact campaign in support of women in the workplace, launching in anticipation of the release of the film, living on long after. 

The triple harms of gender pay inequity, discriminatory hiring/promotion, and sexual harassment, create damaging effects that cascade throughout society, especially women of color. While the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act of 2009 improved the pathway toward redress of individual pay inequity cases, there is much more to be done to end discrimination against women in the workplace. The Paycheck Fairness Act, introduced in Congress during the first week of the President Biden-Harris Administration, is the next step. The work continues. 

We are proud to be partnering with The Female Quotient, the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, the National Women's Law Center, Institute for Women's Policy Research, Equal Rights Advocates, Equality League, and The Streisand Foundation as we develop our mission, our outreach, and our legacy. We are continuing to recruit a select group of non-profit, foundation, and corporate partners, as well as experts and community leaders, to create a robust campaign project that will also engage consumers in a multi-pronged awareness, analysis, and action effort for positive change. 

 

CAST

Patricia Clarkson

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as Lilly Ledbetter

We are thrilled to announce that Patricia Clarkson, one of the world’s most respected actors in film, television, and theater will be starring as Lilly Ledbetter. Her accolades include an Academy Award nomination, multiple Screen Actors Guild and Tony Award nominations, with numerous Golden Globe, Emmy, National Society of Film Critics, and British Independent Film Awards. 

 

Ms. Clarkson recently starred with Amy Adams in the HBO series Sharp Objects, for which she won a Golden Globe and an Emmy nomination. Some of her most beloved feature film credits include: the George Clooney directed Good Night and Good Luck, The Green Mile opposite Tom Hanks, The Station Agent, and Pieces of April, for which she was nominated for an Oscar and a Golden Globe. Notable television credits include House of Cards and Six Feet Under.

 

In theatre, she is best known for her Tony-nominated performance in the Broadway production of The Elephant Man co-starring with Bradley Cooper, and as Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire at The Kennedy Center. An actor’s actor, Ms. Clarkson will, no doubt, attract equally respected talent to LILLY. Born and raised in New Orleans, the youngest of five sisters, her mother was a multi-termed city councilwoman. Ms. Clarkson earned an MFA from Yale School of Drama.

JOSH LUCAS

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as Charles Ledbetter

Josh Lucas will play Lilly’s beloved husband Charles, bringing to life their deeply felt love story while going through his own dramatic arc as her emotional rock.

 

Having worked with such A-list filmmakers as Steven Spielberg (Class of ’61), Frank Marshall (Alive), Ang Lee (Hulk), and Clint Eastwood (J. Edgar), film fans also remember him from his roles in American Psycho, A Beautiful Mind, and Sweet Home Alabama. Most recently Josh has been seen in the film Ford vs. Ferrari, as well as the Peacock television series Yellowstone in which he plays the young version of Kevin Costner’s character, John Dutton.

Thomas Sadoski

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as Jon Goldfarb

We are delighted that Thomas Sadoski joins the cast of LILLY. Mr. Sadoski will portray the brilliant civil rights lawyer, Jon Goldfarb, who guides Ms. Ledbetter's case all the way to the Supreme Court.

 

Mr. Sadoski is a prolific award-winning actor who will bring over twenty years of professional acting gravitas. Sadoski is known for his role on Aaron Sorkin's The Newsroom, on CBS's Life in Pieces, and in the award-winning film Wild (2017). In theatre, he is known for his Tony-nominated performance as Greg in the Broadway production of Reasons To Be Pretty by Neil LaBute. He brings a thoughtfulness and sincerity to his roles on screen and will add an authentic charisma to Jon Goldfarb, the fierce principal character. 

 

director's statement

Lilly Ledbetter with director Rachel Feldman

When I first heard Lilly’s story, I was captivated by her achievements and struck by how her journey hit every sweet spot on the classic storytelling roadmap. I optioned her life rights and her beautiful memoir, Grace and Grit, and immediately got cracking on the screenplay. I'm thrilled, beyond measure, that Patricia Clarkson, a profoundly gifted American treasure, will accompany me on the journey bringing Lilly’s story to life.

Whistle-blowers. Truth-tellers. Underdogs. My favorite films have always been about tenacious fighters, whether their battles be political or personal. My goal is to make a hard-hitting thriller that will keep the audience on the edge of their seats and their hearts full of hope. Though Lilly Ledbetter’s political achievements are the architecture upon which the narrative of the film is framed, and the issues of Fair Pay and Gender Equity are clearly thematic pillars, my focus as a filmmaker is the personal and psychological cost of Lilly’s relentless struggle.

I will paint a portrait of a woman who, without education or resources, suppressed by her time and place, and thwarted by one repressive patriarchy after another, finds it within herself to confront multiple monolithic institutions, transforming into the woman she had always envisioned. I’m interested in the traumatic effects of relentless obstruction and the moral courage to surmount it. LILLY is a story about radical resilience.

 

As a woman director working in Hollywood for the past thirty years, I know gender discrimination first-hand. As we fill the ranks of our production staff, department heads, and crew, our priority will always be to hire women. I am honored that Lilly has put her trust in me to share her story with the world. I believe this is the perfect moment for this film.

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Rachel Feldman

Director/Writer

 

TEAM

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Rachel Feldman

Director/Writer

Rachel Feldman is a veteran director/writer who has worked with the finest actors, producers, and technicians, on more than 75 studio and network productions. A former Chair of the Directors Guild of America Women’s Steering Committee, Feldman has been an outspoken activist for gender parity in Hollywood for decades. You can see her interviewed in the Geena Davis produced documentary, This Changes Everything, Half the Picture, and the Bloomberg film, Celluloid Ceiling, and read her articles in Variety, Hollywood Reporter, Deadline, and Ms. Magazine

Feldman was a professional child actor, studied at Parsons School of Design and Sarah Lawrence College, then received an MFA in film directing from NYU. She worked her way up as a storyboard artist while making award-winning, grant-funded films. You can follow her on Twitter @WomenCallAction

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Khalid Mohtaseb

Director of Photography

Cinematographer Khalid Mohtaseb most recently shot UNCLE FRANK starring Paul Bettany, directed by Alan Ball (American Beauty, Six Feet Under) selected for Sundance. He also shot WOLF HOUR starring Naomi Watts for Automatik Films, and NATIONAL CHAMPIONS starring J. K. Simmons. Mohtaseb is an in-demand, international cinematographer for luxury brand commercials.

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Darcy Scanlin

Production Designer

Production Designer Darcy Scanlin collaborated with Khalid Mohtaseb on UNCLE FRANK, where director Alan Ball called their collaboration, “sheer genius.” Scanlin designed the Netflix thriller, FATAL AFFAIR, and director Maggie Greenwald’s SOPHIE AND THE RISING SUN, selected for Sundance.

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Kiersten Hargroder

Costume Designer

Kiersten Hargroder was the Costume Designer on DC Comic's TV series SUPERGIRL. Hargroder trained with multi-Academy Award-winning designer Colleen Atwood and Emmy winner Ellen Mirojnick. Hargroder’s designs bring the most sophisticated attention to detail.

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J. Todd Harris

Producer

J. Todd Harris is the president of Branded Pictures Entertainment.  He has produced 50 feature films, including Golden-Globe winning The Kids Are All Right and The Trial of the Chicago 7 in addition to five Sundance Film Festival entries. 

 

Harris is a 21-year-member of the Motion Picture Academy, a member of the Producers Guild, a Broadway League member (2015-2018), and a founding board member of the Napa Valley Film Festival. He earned his BA and MBA from Stanford University. 

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Simone Pero

Producer

Simone Pero is president and founder of For Impact Productions. Her producing portfolio includes the Emmy-nominated film The Tale starring Laura Dern and the award-winning documentary This Changes Everything. Pero’s work also influences social action and awareness through films such as A WOMAN, A PART featuring Maggie Siff, THE C WORD with Morgan Freeman, and the highly lauded ESCAPE FIRE: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare.

Pero is the Advisory Board Chair of New York Women in Film & Television, a Board Member of Women in Film & Television International, and is a member of the Producers Guild of America and the Television Academy. Pero began her career as a public policy analyst in the Clinton Administration and was later Vice President for Corporate Communications at MTV and Director of Communication and Marketing at Rainbow Media/Cablevision (now AMC Networks).

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Christine Schwarzman

Producer

Christine Schwarzman is the founder of No Guarantees, her theatrical production company, which won the Tony Award for Best Musical for co-producing Hadestown. In addition to Hadestown, No Guarantees has been associated with highly anticipated and critically acclaimed productions including Come From Away, Mean Girls, Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations, Hello, Dolly!, To Kill A Mockingbird with Jeff Daniels, Beetlejuice, Angels in America with Nathan Lane and Andrew Garfield, The Waverly Gallery with Elaine May, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus with Nathan Lane, King Lear with Glenda Jackson, Be More Chill, Moulin Rouge!, and Tina—The Tina Turner Musical. 

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David Rich

Executive Producer, Social Action Campaign Lead

David Rich is president of the new entertainment media company, Corstoria, focused on commercial stories of social impact. Previously, he produced and directed award-winning global experiential marketing programs for Fortune 100 companies with properties like the Olympic Games, PGA, Formula 1 Racing, and entertainment acts such as Bruno Mars, Jon Bon Jovi, and Aerosmith.

 

Across his industry roles as creative director, producer, and for twenty years, SVP of the strategy practice at George P. Johnson Experience Marketing, his methodologies, strategies, and concepts have been applied to everything from single events for audiences of over 100,000 participants, to a single brand’s entire worldwide experiential marketing portfolio with an annual budget exceeding $200 million dollars. 

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Kate Kelley

SVP Brand Partnerships, Social Action Campaign

Kate’s role as SVP of partnership development for the Lilly Social Action Campaign & Head of Partnerships for Fyli combines her expertise in conceptualizing strategic partnerships that drive brand reputation and business growth opportunities, with her passion for human rights. Kate has developed programs for some of the world's most recognized events such as the Tribeca Film Festival, Comicon, SXSW, and has implemented marketing strategies and initiatives for brands and agencies such as LOUIS XIII, Showtime, YouTube, AMC, NBC, Turner, HBO, HULU, Paramount, and Google.

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Richard Batchelder

Executive Producer

Richard Batchelder is a Tony-nominated theatre producer and investor and is excited to be making his film-producing debut with LILLY. Richard is a lawyer in Boston and involved in many charitable organizations, including the Folger Shakespeare Library in DC. Sequere Spiritum Tuum.

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Lisa Anderson Kelley

Co-Executive Producer

Lilly Ledbetter's story resonates deeply with Lisa as someone who began her career in the male-dominated world of Wall Street and has witnessed firsthand the inequities women often face in the workplace. Lisa has been an advocate for women as an activist and philanthropist, political fundraiser working to elect more women to public office, and now producer, and is thrilled to be part of Team Lilly.

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Jenny Dearborn

Co-Executive Producer

Jenny is a successful executive, Board Member & Advisor to global tech firms. Among her awards she's won a Stevie for Female Business Executive of the Year, recognized by the Financial Times of London Top 20 Global Executive LGBT+ Allies, recognized by Forbes as one of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Tech five years running and author of two best-selling business books: Data Driven and The Data Driven Leader.

As a champion of equality and diversity in the workplace, the story of Lilly's fight feels deeply personal.  In her 25+ year career in the male-dominated world of High Tech, Jenny witnessed firsthand the harassment and discrimination women often face at work.  It's important for women coming up today to understand they are standing on Lilly's shoulders.

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Mary Jane (MJ) Elmore

Associate Producer

MJ has been a pioneer in the male-dominated world of Silicon Valley venture capital, becoming the first female partner on the west coast. As an angel investor, her current focus is on funding new female-led venture capital firms and start-up companies.

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Rosalind Productions Inc.

Associate Producer

Rosalind Productions Inc. is a Tony Award Nominated and Drama Desk Award-winning company, producing theater on and off-Broadway. LILLY is its first film. Abigail Rose Solomon founded Rosalind Productions with the mission to produce stories that change the narrative to help eradicate gender and racial bias. Abigail is also a professional actor.

www.RosalindProductions.com

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Kelly E. Ashton

Producer

Kelly E. Ashton is a film and theatre producer with credits including The Bay of Silence, The Seagull, starring Saoirse Ronan and Annette Benning, Red Joan starring Dame Judi Dench, and Apartment 407.

 

Kelly focuses on female-driven quality projects that are often real-life stories. In the theatre world, she has produced: The Collector, Everything Is Illuminated, and Fresher's in London and Scotland. Kelly holds a BA from Yale University and MBA from Harvard Business School.

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Kerianne Flynn

Producer

Kerianne is the founder of New Plot Films, a production company focusing on innovative and inspirational media and storytelling.


She was an Executive Producer of The Automatic Hate, a seriocomedy that premiered at the 2015 SXSW Film Festival and was released theatrically in 2016.  Kerianne was a Producer on This Changes Everything, a documentary that takes an incisive look at gender disparity in Hollywood through the eyes of well-known actors and filmmakers. This Changes Everything premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in 2018, was released theatrically in 2019, and is now available on Netflix. She is also an Executive Producer for a film currently in post-production which takes an investigative look into gun violence in America and its origins in history.

 

Kerianne continues to champion productions that precipitate thinking, create conversation, and foster positive change.

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Jyoti Sarda

Executive Producer

 

Jyoti Sarda brings twenty years as a senior-level global marketing executive with major studios and blue-chip brands to developing impact-creating, documentary, and narrative content through her company Nimble Media LLC. She is the producer of the award-winning documentary series, And She Could Be Next. She is also Co-Executive Producer of Equal Means Equal, an award-winning documentary that is an unflinching examination of the discrimination against women built into the US legal system.

 

Jyoti serves on the advisory board of LAANE, a leading LA-based social justice nonprofit. Her undergrad degree from USC and EMBA from UCLA makes her a rare Bruin/Trojan, though she declines to take sides.

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Wendy Federman

Executive Producer

 

Wendy Federman has won eleven Tony Awards, two Olivier Awards, ten Drama Desk Awards, sixteen Drama League Awards, and the GLAAD Media Award for her nearly ninety Broadway, National Tour, and London productions.


Film: Wakefield starring Bryan Cranston.
Wendy is a recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor. Boards served: Foundation for Gender Equality, Kennedy Center's NCPA.

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Julie Kaufman

Executive Producer

 

A longtime trustee of Tony Award-winning TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, Julie invested in Disgraced and Come From Away on Broadway.  Having begun her business career when women were joining the workforce in larger numbers, Lilly’s story touched a nerve.  Julie feels it is critical to get Lilly’s story out to the current generation of women.

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Jenny Warburg

Co-Executive Producer

 

Jenny Warburg is a freelance photographer and former social worker living in Durham, North Carolina. Her photographs have appeared in numerous publications including The New York Times, Time, Newsweek, US News and World Report, The Los Angeles Times, People, Rolling Stone, US Weekly, Mother Jones, The Washington Post, Ms.,The Guardian, and the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Report. Her photos have also appeared in numerous books, on book covers, and in many documentary films, television documentaries and news programs.

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Jayne Baron Sherman

Co-Executive Producer

 

Jayne Baron Sherman is a Tony and Olivier Award-winning theater and independent film producer. She is drawn to stories about people coming into their own, facilitating change and acceptance. A partial list of her credits include: A Call To Spy, Love Is Strange, Kinky Boots, Hedwig & the Angry Inch, The Normal Heart, A Raisin In The Sun, and American Son as well as the series, The Accidental Wolf.

She is currently a member of The Broadway League, The Producers Guild, and the Lorraine Hansberry Initiative. She also serves on the board of Open Stage Project whose mission is to close the gender gap in backstage and off-screen careers.

www.MomsMoneyProductions.com

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David Bryant

Co-Executive Producer

 

 

David Bryant's producing credits include Getting the Band Back Together, Come From AwayA Time to Kill,  and A Tale of Two Cities on Broadway.  Off-Broadway credits include Daddy Long Legs, WiesenthalLonesome Traveler. His streaming titles include EmmaPride and PrejudiceEstella Scrooge, and The Last Call.

 

As an actor, David has performed in AmadeusSunday in the Park with George, and Showboat on Broadway. He starred as Marius in the original Broadway Company of Les Misérables. On-screen roles include Law and Order, Law and Order SVU, Sex in the City, Equalizer, Get a Life, Estella Scrooge, The Last Call, CypherTrue Identity, I Leonardo.  

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Iris Smith

Associate Producer

 

Iris Smith is a Tony Award-winning producer.  Her Broadway credits include Moulin Rouge!, The Band’s Visit, Tina – The Tina Turner Musical, Jagged Little Pill, and the upcoming Devil Wears Prada.  Her film credits include The God Committee, Wakefield, People You May Know, the upcoming drama Call Jane and the documentaries Into the Now – VR and Kiss the Ground.

Iris serves on the board of The Kennedy Center’s National Committee for the Performing Arts.

 

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