By Vijay Shah (additional contribution by Carissa Werner)
The 1960s heralded a massive change in societal values and how people redefined themselves. As new youth icons swept their way through the media, art and fashion, the Swinging Sixties became the decade that witnessed the first massive stirrings of a newly awakened cultural dialogue, one that young people helped to sculpt and define. Caught in an artistic, cultural and sexual revolution, those growing up in this decade no longer saw it fit to wait at home with the parents, following a set trajectory in life. For many it was a chance to discover who they really were, to shift from square to beatnik to rebel. But there were also tragedies that caught up with some of these trailblazers of youth.
One such tragic 60’s icon was Edie Sedgwick. An American model, actress and heiress, she was renowned for her stunningly beautiful looks, and was a regular on the social circuits of post-war New England. Her career really took off when she became one of the superstars of Pop Art legend Andy Warhol, appearing in a series of short films he was producing at The Factory, an art film studio run by him in New York City. Well-connected and well-versed on the new and much talked about go-getter trends, she rapidly rose to become the ultimate “It Girl” . Trendspotting journalists at fashionably cool magazines such as Vogue dubbed her “Girl of the Year” and “Youthquaker” – the showy and affable blonde beacon of a new freedom in youth culture that emanated and propelled icons like The Beatles, hippies, camper vans and Woodstock, icons still held in deep nostalgia today.
From being the protegé of one of the States’ quintessential new wave artists she would soon dazzle brightly as the defining founder of the beatnik trend, wowing observers with her unique fashion sense – black leotards, mini dresses, and large chandelier earrings. But Edie’s success as style icon could not overshadow her rapid descent into alcoholism and drugs, brought on by a disastrous childhood and a troubled marriage.
Her life is the subject of a short film, “Edie“, a project by independent filmmaker and student Carissa Werner. While she is currently training to be a drug addiction counsellor, Werner holds a deep affection for the moving image, especially screenwriting, acting and producing arthouse films. Edie is her first major project.
Werner was inspired to begin work on Edie after being captivated by Sienna Miller’s performance as the model and socialite in the movie “Factory Girl” – one of Werner’s favourite films. Her fascination with Edie’s portrayal, plus the lifestyles of the young cool things of the Sixties and Seventies gave her the motivation to conceive this ambitious dream project.
In her own words, Werner describes Edie as having “an innocent enduring quality about her. I find her ‘underground persona’ much more appealing than other mainstream icons…. she was extremely free-spirited and fun loving! She had a brilliant and vibrant personality and warmed the hearts of many“. Also very importantly, she hopes that the Edie project will be a chance to tell the story of the world’s first It Girl with parts of her life that were hitherto unknown and a mystery to many, especially acknowledging the troubles and tribulations she endured after her stint at The Factory.
In Werner’s production, there is uniqueness in that Edie becomes a modern-day girl living in today’s society, and Werner plans to incorporate more current elements such as technology, while paying homage to the influences and impacts of the hippie and Gay Pride movements – the other children of the Sixties cultural earthquake and its associated newfound liberalism. Werner’s contemporary take on Edie’s story will also carry a Hallowe’en theme through the work. Viewers will navigate the ups and downs of upper middle class America through the eyes of Edie and how she might have viewed our world if she was alive today. Ultimately, her main goal is to is to focus on Edie Sedgwick’s iconic life and to bring back the lost and forgotten characters of the superstars in Andy Warhol’s Factory.
In addition to scripting and directing the film, Carissa Werner will also star as Edie herself. A part-time model for the past three years, she has worked with photographer Andrea Pascalau to produce a series of retro shoots beautifully depicting Edie’s avantgarde chic and debonair.
With the absence of a mega-million dollar budget, Werner is funding the production fees of Edie through a very trendy and rapidly popular method, crowdsourcing. Members of the public are being invited to make contributions from as little as a dollar online via her Kickstarter profile. The budget of $2500 USD (£1,582 GBP) is urgently required to fund the film’s publicity, equipment rental costs and permits for filming in and around the US city of Chicago.
If you want to help support Carissa in her dream to realise this wonderful, wacky and fantastic film, and to play your part in realising the story of an amazingly influential and relatively unknown cultural icon, you can make a donation at this link : Edie Sedgwick Kickstarter Fundraiser. You can donate as little or as much as you want but there is only 34 days for the total budget to be met. Donors will receive updates on the film’s progress and shoutouts on the official Edie Facebook page.
Donors who pledge $10 or more will be credited in the film itself and will receive unique gifts such as glasses like those worn by Andy Warhol or butterfly earrings similar to those worn by Edie Sedgwick herself. Anyone who can pledge $1,000 will actually win a part in the film as well as dinner with the cast and crew, and will get credits as “Executive Producer” along with a personally signed poster of the film (travel expenses not included).
See the video preview of “Edie” – directed by and starring Carissa Werner as Edie Sedgwick – below:
SOURCES & IMAGE CREDITS:
“Edie Sedgwick Tribute Film” – Carissa Lynelle Werner, KickStarter LINK
“Carissa Werner” – Carissa Lynelle Werner, KickStarter LINK
“Edie Sedgwick” – Wikipedia LINK