Five Major Influences From Alexandra Lescaze

Alexandra Lescaze’s new TFI Documentary Fund-supported film, All of Me, will have its world premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival tomorrow. It will broadcast on PBS’ Independent Lens during the series’ 2013-2014 season.

All of Me follows the "Girls," a group of friends who bonded for years over hopes, dreams, food, and the shared experience of being very obese. But, now, as some pursue weight loss surgery, their center has shifted and upset everything they knew about happiness, friendship and love.

Alexandra shares here the top five things that inspires her and her filmmaking.

I realize now that both my films (All of Me and Where Do You Stand? Stories From An American Mill (2003)) are about a group of women figuring it out. The "it" doesn’t necessarily matter. I think their stories reflect mine and all of our stories.

1. Fat women stepping forward to say “I’m me” and I’m not going to put up with your hate.

2. A Woman Under the Influence by John Cassavetes. When I saw it 20 years ago, it made such an impression on me that it sticks with me to this day. Here’s this woman (the incredible Gena Rowlands), who everyone said was crazy, and yet, really, she was the only one of them who was sane. Sane to feel that the life she was living made no sense to her.


3. Norma Rae but also the real Norma Rae, Crystal Lee Sutton, and the thousands of other low-wage women workers like her around the world who stand up and speak out. Bangladesh garment worker, Kalpona Akter, is a modern-day heroine.


4. Documentary filmmakers and journalists who work so hard to tell the important stories about social and economic injustice in hopes of making the world a better, fairer place for everyone.

5. Women like Eleanor Roosevelt, Frances Perkins, Gloria Steinem and Wonder Woman—all role models who are about justice, compassion, friendship and community.

[Photo: Director Alexandra Lescaze]