The Yellow Wallpaper Kevin Pontuti and Alexandra Loreth announce feature film adaptation of Charlotte Perkins Gilman's classic story.

After working on three short films together, Alexandra Loreth and Kevin Pontuti team up to produce an adaptation of Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s classic short story—The Yellow Wallpaper.

Director/producer Pontuti and actor/producer Alexandra Loreth lead the project along with co-producers Peter Galante, Joanne Butcher and Courtney Lehmann.

Pontuti is known for his artistic and highly visual directing style. His three short films, ONERE, PESCARE and VANITA have won awards internationally and evoke strong audience reactions. All three feature Loreth as the lead character.

The majority of film will be produced and shot at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California where Pontuti serves as the director of Pacific’s Media X program.

Kevin Pontuti—Writer, Director, Producer

Kevin Pontuti is an artist and educator based in the USA. He received his MFA from Syracuse University in 1993 then moved to California where he founded the Los Angeles-based production company Studio P Inc. His image-making expertise and collaborative spirit attracted many top artists and designers to his studio. In 2009, Pontuti accepted a professorship at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. In 2017, he returned to California to lead University of the Pacific's Media X program.

Alexandra Loreth—Actor, Producer

Alexandra Loreth is a California-raised and based actress. After almost ten years in the Midwest, she is glad to call the Golden State home again. Alexandra's past work ranges from comedy to art film to horror, and most of the projects she has worked on have gone on to screen internationally and win awards, including two for best actress (ONERE and VANITÀ).

The Yellow Wallpaper is a short story that was written in 1892 by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. The story and its author are well-known in the literary world as canons of feminist themes in writing.

The main character, Jane, is an exhausted new mother suffering from postpartum depression. As a treatment, she and her family retreat for a summer to a country house far away from all else they know. Her “hysteria” takes over slowly, and her controlling physician husband soon learns that he’s done the opposite of help—he's propelled her descent into madness.

Though written over 100 years ago, this story still brings to question societal understandings of women’s health: the mental, the physical, and the intersection where the two come together.

The beauty—and terror—of this story is that it can easily be related to this day and age in so many different ways. Because of and in spite of this, the team is choosing to depict this story in its original Victorian style, with as much historical accuracy as possible to accentuate and intensify these once unquestionable and undeniable ideas.

Alexandra Loreth in VANITÀ, 2017

After working together on three short films, Loreth brought The Yellow Wallpaper to Pontuti with hopes of collaborating to bring to life one of her favorite pieces of literature.

“I remember reading the story in college and it changed the way I interpreted feminism,” says Loreth. “I had always wanted to portray it visually and when we started working on films together, it became clear that this was the perfect project for us to take on together.”

Pacific English and film studies professor and associate producer Courtney Lehmann notes, "Alexandra Loreth brings to the role of Jane her remarkable ability to engage in what early filmmaker Bela Belasz lauded as the 'silent soliloquy’ or, the act of ‘speaking’ with the face alone. As with her previous roles in ONERE, PESCARE, and VANITÀ, Loreth's face is a window onto another world" in The Yellow Wallpaper.

The team plans to build a set at Pacific for the interior setting of famous “yellow wallpaper” room. Additional locations for the exteriors are still being considered but the crew has been scouting throughout the Central Valley and foothills for a suitable house and gardens.

Associate Producers Courtney Lehmann, Joanne Butcher and Peter Galante with Costume Designer Cathy McClellan

Co-producer and art director, Peter Galante, will oversee many aspects of production including the wallpaper design and sets. Galante, a professor of film and photography the University of Wisconsin-Stout was an important part of Pontuti’s Wisconsin production team prior to Pontuti and Loreth’s return to California last summer.

"Though The Yellow Wallpaper has been adapted for film many times, the adaptations have been theatrical translations as if filming a stage play. Pontuti's approach is to remain true to Gilman’s story, adding depth to the unseen psychological turmoil of “Jane” through cinematic magical realism,” said Galante.

The period costumes are being designed by Cathie McClellan, a theater arts professor at Pacific. “I find The Yellow Wallpaper fascinating because we live in a time when many of the ideas Gilman championed for women have come to pass for so many of us, especially independence of thought and the power to determine our own life’s path, but we need to be reminded of the work yet to be done. For, me, this project is a way to connect the concerns of yesterday with the ongoing discussions of today. I am excited to be one of the women bringing this still relevant story to a new life,” said McClellan

Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Pontuti and Loreth recruited Lehmann onto the team as a story consultant.

“Courtney would come to our lunch meetings with an underlined, Post-it covered copy of The Yellow Wallpaper book” said Pontuti. “It was obvious that she was tuned into and passionate about the story and subtext. As a literature professor, she brings a deep analytical understanding of the text and incredible energy to the project.”

"The Yellow Wallpaper is a haunting and important text that challenges patriarchal norms, explores mental illness, and highlights female pain‹and pleasure. To translate the story from an 1892 issue of New England Magazine into a contemporary feature film is to engage meticulously with Gilman¹s language, especially, the undulations of Jane¹s monologue throughout her war with the wallpaper and to re-envision the story through a feminist sensibility that was unavailable to Gilman in her own time," said Lehmann.

Hysteria Illustration

Joanne Butcher, a bay area film finance consultant rounds out the team as associate producer. She brings over 20 years of experience in film finance, fundraising, scriptwriting, distribution, and exhibition to the team. "I'm excited to see such a great team creating this wonderful story that has so much meaning in today's world," said Butcher.

“Taking on a feature-length film is a huge commitment, especially given the weight of this critically acclaimed text”, said Pontuti. “It’s going to be a massive effort but we’re definitely ready for it. We’re excited to be producing this in Stockton, it’s such a bright and creative community and we’re proud to call it our new hometown” said Pontuti.

The team already has over half their production budget committed. A crowdfunding campaign through the Seed&Spark platform will coincide with the team’s upcoming trip to the Cannes Film Festival where Pontuti’s short film— VANITÀ —will be part of the Cannes Short Film Corner.

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.