The Untitled Terry Donahue Documentary Project tells the story of a woman and her lesbian partner, Pat Henschel. It is a personal love story of a farm girl who grew up on the prairies of Canada, moved to the heartland of America to play professional baseball. Now in her late 80’s, Terry has decided with her partner, Pat, to break a sixty-five year secret by coming out to friends and family.
Terry was a catcher for the Peoria Redwings in the All American Girls Professional Baseball League. Scouted by Phillip K. Wrigley in 1945, she was drafted for the Redwings in 1946 where she played until the end of that decade. Terry and Pat’s life story is about relationships, commitment and family; today it is also a story about aging, healthcare and acceptance of gays and lesbians in the social fabric of our communities. This story is uniquely North American and in its simple way, it touches on many of the changing social issues of our day.
At a time when same sex legislation is being passed or considered across the country, love stories like this humanize stereotypes, and share the risks that people take to live their convictions. Examples like Terry and Pat can make space in the public square and discourse for broader understanding and respect for people who are different. These women are the heart of America.
As acceptance for gays and lesbians increases in our lives and social worlds, Terry and Pat have a powerful story to help young people and old alike see the ordinary and remarkable lives these lesbian women have lived together. Moreover, they themselves are learning how to live openly after over sixty-five years of hiding. Habit is hard thing to break, as are social norms.
Christopher Bolan is the Director and storyteller. Chris is Terry Donahue’s great nephew and is uniquely able to shape this story. Terry and Pat trust him to understand and convey their story boldly but respectfully. Chris has full access to their archives and to their personal papers, their thoughts and reflections. More importantly, he is an intrinsic part of the story. Terry and Pat have had a profound impact on Chris growing up. Through these women, he saw a world beyond his rural upbringing. They expanded his understanding of family and relationships. He made choices in life as a result of their examples. Very practically, he followed Terry in leaving the rural Canada to pursue acting and film in New York. They continue to influence his understanding of people, commitment and love; Chris is both shaping and being shaped by this film as he seeks to share this personal but universal human story of love, courage and family.
KEY CREATIVE PERSONNEL
CHRISTOPHER BOLAN - Director
Mr. Bolan holds his MFA from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. Mr. Bolan has had a career both on and off Broadway, and has preformed as an actor with many regional theater companies in both the United States and Canada. In 2010 Mr. Bolan co-wrote, produced and co-directed the U.S Premiere of his one-man show DEAR PENTHOUSE, and has recently finished production on a new independent short TREAD, directed by acclaimed filmmaker, Franceso Spiezia. Mr. Bolan has also worked in Film and Television in both the U.S and Canada.
ALEXA L. FOGEL – Producer
As a producer with Beech Hill Films, Ms. Fogel’s last project THIS IS WHERE WE LIVE premiered in Narrative Competition at SXSW 2013 and was released in November of 2013. Previously, Ms. Fogel produced HELENA FROM THE WEDDING (SXSW ’10, Narrative Competition), which was released domestically by Film Movement. Other work includes RUN, FAT BOY, RUN starring Simon Pegg, Thandie Newton, and Hank Azaria (directed by David Scwhimmer), which was released by New Line and Picturehouse worldwide in 2008, and was the #1 film in the U.K. for five straight weeks. Other producing credits include A HOLE IN ONE (starring Michelle Williams), FACE (Sundance, 2002), Jim McKay’s OUR SONG (Sundance, 2000), and CHARMING BILLY.
Fogel most recently cast the HBO series TRUE DETECTIVE, directed by Cary
Fukunaga, and starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, and cast the
HBO series TREME, by creator David Simon, the BBC America series COPPER from
Tom Fontana, Alan Ball’s Cinemax series BANSHEE.
Ms. Fogel cast the acclaimed HBO original series THE WIRE (Artios Award for Dramatic Pilot Casting), and seven-part Iraq War tale GENERATION KILL (Emmy Nomination) for Company Pictures and HBO Films, about the men of the First Marine Recon Battalion.
Ms. Fogel cast the feature THE SITTER for director David Gordon Greene for 20th Century Fox, TOO BIG TO FAIL for director Curtis Hanson for HBO Films – based on Andrew Ross Sorkin’s book, the FX series LIGHTS OUT, and RED TAILS for Lucas Film, a drama about the Tuskegee Airmen during WWII. Ms. Fogel cast season two of the HBO series IN TREATMENT. Ms. Fogel won two Emmy Awards and two Artios Awards for NYPD BLUE. Ms. Fogel was also awarded three Artios Awards as casting director for Tom Fontana’s award-winning HBO series OZ.
BRENDAN MASON – Producer
Mr. Mason’s last project THIS IS WHERE WE LIVE premiered in 2013 at SXSW in Narrative Competition, and was released in November of 2013. His previous film HELENA FROM THE WEDDING, starred Melanie Lynskey and Lee Tergesen, and also premiered in competition at SXSW, and was released by Film Movement in the fall of 2010.
During his eleven-year tenure at Beech Hill Films, Mr. Mason has worked in various capacities in both development and production.
As an Associate Producer at Beech Hill for seven years, he has worked on such productions as RUN, FAT BOY, RUN (Picturehouse), A HOLE IN ONE, and JIMMY BLUE (NYFF ’06), among others. Prior to Beech Hill, Mr. Mason worked at Paramount Pictures.
STEPHEN KAZMIERSKI – Director of Photography
Stephen Kazmierski is an award winning New York-based Cinematographer. Best known for his work on features TRANSAMERICA, THE MYTH OF FINGERPRINTS, and YOU CAN COUNT ON ME, Steve has worked extensively in both film and television, and also with Justin Bieber. Other credits include HELENA FROM THE WEDDING and HAPPINESS, and television projects for NOVA, and THE AMERICAN EXPERIENCE.
CHRISTOPHER WHITE – Editor