It’s very rare that a project comes along and saves your life. But that’s what happened to me with "The Diary of a Teenage Girl."
"The Diary of a Teenage Girl" is not just about female sexuality. It’s a film that explores a young woman’s journey to discover herself and, ultimately, to accept herself. When the script came to me it spoke to me directly because, at that time in my life, I felt lost as well. I was at a crucial moment in my career where I thought to myself; maybe I shouldn’t be in this business.
It’s not easy being an actress AND a producer AND a director AND a mother. One of those areas always suffers the loss of attention. Recently I began to question my decisions to pursue all of the above. I had made over 15 films. Several of them were labors of love where I worked my tail off, struggling to get them the attention they needed. But alas, with the ups and downs of the distribution business and the sweeping changes in our industry…few of them truly HIT the audiences that we had intended. It was heartbreaking to spend so much time, effort and money on a project just to watch it fade away and not reach its potential...you know the story. And then "The Diary Of A Teenage Girl" came along.
When I read the script each word felt like my own. Minnie says: “Maybe nobody loves me. Maybe nobody will ever love me… but maybe it’s not about being loved by somebody else...”. Those lines were exactly the lines I needed to hear at that time in my life. So, I said YES. Yes, I will produce this film because most likely others need to hear those words as well.
The process was constantly fulfilling, even on the difficult days, where producers on small budget movies have to make big decisions. My producing and financing partners became my friends. The actors, the writer/director and crew all came together as a team with one mission: Make a great film.
This past January, I was at Sundance for the first time in my life with a film I had produced. My goal, my dream for so many years finally came to fruition and I’m not going to lie.
It was magical.
That said, it was also incredibly scary. When I received the call from our agents UTA to come to their condo to meet with Sony Pictures Classics I just about threw up on the street. As I entered the building to meet my producing partners, my hands were shaking and my heart was racing. I had to remain calm cool and collected but HOW?
"Just breathe" I thought to myself as I put on a smile and hoped that it would mask my intimidation. Everyone in the room was feeling the buzzing energy as we spoke as candidly as possible about what we needed to make this partnership work. At one point I started to doubt myself again, doubt the process and the business until I looked over and saw Rena Ronson of UTA emanating a confidence that was contagious. Here was a woman who is also a mother in this tough business, and she's making it work. Maybe I could too. I watched her seal the deal with ease and grace and became inspired all over again.
Sony Pictures Classics bought our picture. Not only did they buy the film, they believed in the film and loved it as much as we did. Thank God I didn’t give up when that thought crossed my mind.
This movie is about all of us who are constantly coming of age, even in our 30’s or 40’s, as we wrap our heads around the dilemma of whether or not we embrace our true selves. That means accepting our dreams and our desires and not backing down because they are difficult to attain or challenging to maintain. "The Diary of a Teenage Girl" let me believe in movies again.
Miranda Bailey is the producer of "The Diary of a Teenager Girl" (out now) and the upcoming "Time out of Mind". She is the CEO of Cold Iron Pictures a production/financing company based in Los Angeles.
Indiewire Guest Post: On the 'Diary of a Teenage Girl', Self-Acceptance, and the Power of Cinema