Sunday, October 13, 2019

FILMMAKER MARTHA ELCAN’S “LADIES MOST DEJECT” TO MAKE ITS LA DEBUT AT LA FEMME INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, OCT. 17-20, 2019 - Short film lauded for its portrayal of resilience and strength in the face of loss and brokenness. Janeane spoke with screenwriter and actress, Conner Wharton from our KUCI studios.


Short film lauded for its portrayal of resilience and strength in the face of loss and brokenness 

LISTEN to today's conversation with Connor Wharton!

LOS ANGELES - September 25, 2019 -- “Ladies Most Deject,” a dramatic short film directed by Martha Elcan, will screen at 2pm on Friday, October 18 at the Regal Theatre at LA LIVE in downtown Los Angeles.

In the tradition of “Winter’s Bone” and “Mud,” “Ladies Most Deject” is the story of 17-year-old Charlie who struggles to free herself and her three siblings from the grip of their unstable addict mother and drug dealing uncle in rural Appalachia.

The screenplay was co-written by Conner Wharton, who plays Charlie, and ARAY Productions’ Mark Salyer; Helen Cho Anthos served as Director of Photography, and Emmy Award-winner Nena Erb, ACE, edited the film. Production Designer Kleev Guessford and Sound Designer/Music Composition Brian Hawlk complete the creative team.

Filmed entirely in the Appalachians, the film’s producers strove to represent the authentic and gritty reality of life in the mountain communities in America today. ARAY (Appalachia Right At Ya) Productions tells stories by and about the people of the Appalachian Mountains. Created by Appalachian artists Melissa Palmer and Mark Salyer, ARAY develops projects for television, film and new media. Current projects include “Mysteries of Appalachia”, a docu-series about the mysticism and folklore of the region; and “Where I’m From”, a travelogue for young people about cultural exchange.

Initially drawn to this touching story because it was set in her home state of Virginia, Director Elcan quickly learned how true-to-life this drama was. “Charlie finds herself desperate with nowhere to turn when she and her three young siblings must leave home to escape their mother and her meth addiction. Though Charlie’s kind teacher Mrs. Neeley finds them a safe place for that night, the children’s dire situation forces Charlie into adulthood before her time in this cautionary tale for a society immersed in a national opioid addiction crisis.”

Conner Wharton (Charlie and Co-Writer) is a student at UCLA majoring in English and minoring in Film Studies. She was 19 years old when she and Salyer wrote the screenplay for Ladies Most Deject, inspired by the people of her tiny hometown in Central Appalachia which is dealing with a drug crisis of epic proportions. "I want to tell stories about people dealing with extraordinary circumstances - heroes and heroines making a difference," she said. Asked how a teenage girl from the mountains ended up at UCLA making films, Conner said, "I always knew I wanted to be in California working in this industry. I may very well be the only Appalachian girl at UCLA."

Other cast members include Robin Mullins, Ben Mackel, Pepper Binkley, Ellie Williams, Sofia Adams, and Josiah Wells.

About LA Femme International Film Festival (

The LA Femme International Film Festival is now in its 15th year as one of Los Angeles’ premiere film festivals dedicated to celebrating and promoting female artists both in front of and behind the camera. In addition to bestowing awards in multiple categories, from short subjects to documentaries to commercials, LA Femme is proud to present the Lupe Ontiveros Award to a performer who embodies the spirit, audacity and dedication to art that its namesake represented.

“Ladies Most Deject” will screen on Friday October 18 at 2pm at the Regal Cinema Complex at LA Live, 1000 Olympic Blvd. in downtown LA. Tickets are available at the box office or by visiting the festival’s website

For more information on the film or to interview Martha Elcan and Conner Wharton, please contact LA Media Consultants, Deborah Gilels at 818-758-6509.

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