It was an intimate gathering in the back room of a very loud restaurant in Atlanta’s trendy Buckhead section. On Tuesday night, 25 invited guests including players like Rosie Jones, Jenny Lidback and Jane Park, industry people like Ann Cain from Titleist, wealthy philanthropists who would rather not have their names show up in print, and, by some accident of fate, me, drank cocktails and ate homemade pimento cheese while listening to the story of four women who are creating what they hope will be the best golf documentary ever produced.
The film is called The Founders, the story of the 13 original creators of the LPGA.
And it has been a labor of love for producer/director Charlene (Charlie) Fisk for the better part of a year. Along with the volunteer efforts of an architect, an artist and a couple of writers, Fisk has been digging through archival footage, interviewing current and past players (including the four surviving founders who originally launched the LPGA in 1950), spending countless hours in the editing suite and shooting some of the most moving footage you will ever see.
The trailer, which you can see below, brought all the attendees to attention. But the additional footage that Fisk shot and edited – a three-minute clip shown only to those of us who were there – moved us all to tears.
“This has been a labor of love and a passion for all of us,” Fisk said, even though she doesn’t play golf. “The story of what these women accomplished transcends sports. It’s a human story of triumph over incredible odds. That is what makes it so compelling.”
A former network television producer and documentarian for PBS, Fisk knows all ends of the camera. Operating on a shoestring budget crowd-sourced through Kickstarter, she has, at times, been director, cameraman, lighting and wardrobe coordinator.
“Up to this point we’ve all worked pro bono,” she said. “It’s been nights, weekends: anytime we could get away from other duties to get it done.”
A good chunk of what they have developed came from a generous contribution from Karrie Webb, who was so taken by the trailer and what Fisk and her partners were doing that, after winning the Founders Cup, she announced that she would be donating to the film.
“What I just saw touched me,” Park said after the presentation. “This has to happen.”
Even though they already have a major motion picture distributor, Fisk is still trying to raise $200,000 to complete the film. She hopes to have a soft debut at the 2015 Founders Cup followed by a red carpet premier in Atlanta before it goes into theatrical release.
“The response has been tremendous,” Fisk said. “We just have to get that final push to the finish line. We have to make it happen.”