A couple of years ago, Spear posted the last of those short films online and asked for donations to help her finance The Ballad of Burd Janet. She’s since raised $5000. Since October, she’s been shooting one or two weekends a month and hopes to screen a final version next year.
In front of the camera, Pugliese is, as it turns out, the ideal young woman to play Janet. An honor-roll student, Pugliese is a member of the Commonwealth Vintage Dancers, a historical-dance troupe that gets hired by places like Old Sturbridge Village and the Museum of Fine Arts to perform mid-19th-century-through-ragtime-era routines. “I was born into all sorts of historical things,” she says, then explains that her parents are also active in the dance troupe. “I was doing contra dances [since] when I could [first] walk.”
Spear met her Janet after Pugliese responded to an e-mail from her Medford High drama-club teacher saying that a local filmmaker was looking for an actress. “She sent me these cute photos of herself in the flapper dress,” remembers Spear, who subjected the young actress to a screen test. “I said, ‘I think I found her.’ ”
Schumann, who’s been quiet during our talk at the Diesel, finally speaks, commenting on why she’s so supportive of Spear’s film. “Lots of chicks in the crew. And a woman hero. I have nothing else to say.”
See The Unhappy Medium online at archive.org/details/unhappymedium .
: ID Check
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