Okay, you have a great idea for a movie.

Present day, Spring Morning: Interior. We see a bored woman in her late 40s living in the suburbs. A happily married, stay-at-home mother with three children is having coffee in a cafe. Her kids are in school, her husband is at work, and the coffee is getting cold. An elderly gentleman enters the cafe and sits next to her. As he pours cream in his coffee, he asks what she does. To her amazement she answers that she wants to make a movie about New York in the1950s. Problem: she is not a filmmaker.

As they keep talking, he wants to know more about the film and how she will produce it. Even though he doesn’t know how to produce a film either, he is happy to have “shaken the cage.”

The woman thanks the man for the inspiration, if that is what it was. From that moment on she begins her journey in film production, in which she will produce multiple award-winning films and photographs.

Fade to black.

I am that woman with the cold coffee and the hot idea and no clue what to do about either. The coffee was an easier call, I grant you, but the dramatic style was too tempting, even though it didn’t make much sense. Nor did going to New York University Film School if you graduated from college in 1978. But in I went, to study full time, sitting amid 20-year-olds as I took copious notes and learned how to produce and direct films.

As I pursued my dream, my amazing mother cooked dinners for the children when I rushed headlong into Greenwich Village to attend school five days a week. My husband and kids were behind me all the way as I snaked wires through out the house to produce my first film (a CINE Award winner). They actually said they thought it was fun when the crew camped out in our living room. For the shoot itself my teenage son worked as a focus puller, my ten-year-old daughter was on the walkie-talkie and her eight-year-old sister was working the craft table like a pro.

At the screening of the first film I produced, my husband leaned over and asked in a whisper if those were his boxer shorts on the lead actor in the bedroom argument scene. I quickly answered yes and asked him to please not talk during the screening. As far as I knew, this might be the only time I would see my work on the big screen, and I wanted to savor every minute. But it was to be the first of many screenings, not just for this film but for others—including the 1950s New York film, Pluck, that I had first spoken of in that café. To date, my films have won Best in Show awards at several film festivals, and are in the library collections of Columbia University, Trinity College, Magnum Film Archives and The Hoover Archives at Stanford University.

As the film ends and the titles come up, we see the middle-aged film producer, mother of three, beginning a new adventure. She is walking into Mount Sinai Hospital, bringing four of her large, color photographs to hang in the new Dubin Breast Center at the Hospital. But that is another story.

Forget the fadeout. To be continued.

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  • Dore Hammond October 21, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    Thanks for the comments! The whole film can be seen on Hulu. Stay tuned!

  • drpatallen October 21, 2011 at 12:26 pm


    We are thrilled that your is our first reinvention story. Thanks for sharing your aha! moment that moved you toward the next phase of your life. Loved Pluck. How can we see it all?

    Dr. Pat

  • Beth October 21, 2011 at 10:47 am

    I want to see more!!!