Patrons of the arts

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Posted by HSG on June 21, 2005 at 05:13:44:

Someday, media projects involving plus-size beauty will be guaranteed financial windfalls, and will earn for their creators lucrative rewards.

But that day is not yet here.

And so, in the meantime, we must applaud the efforts of individuals who are freely investing their time and money in size-positive efforts. They are laying the foundations for what will someday be a thriving genre of its own.

When Constantine Valhouli produced the Curve documentary about plus-size models in 2001, he devoted a staggering amount of his own resources to making that film a reality.

Similarly, J.T. Foster fought truly harrowing financial and legal battles to create A Little Bit of Lipstick, his under-appreciated indie feature starring Mia Tyler as a self-conscious plus-size teen.

Each plus-size magazine has, of course, faced its share of financial headaches, often resulting in the termination of said magazine. (Mind you, making a dignified end is still infinitely preferable to selling out to a diet company.) We recently noted Jack Krosinski's personal financial commitment to Beautiful magazine, as well as the challenges that he has faced in persuading prejudiced ad agencies to come on board.

And now, here is a fascinating article about a successful Hollywood producer who is independently financing a film project "about a plus-size fashion designer who finds love and learns to accept herself":

The article quotes one industry observer as saying, "You would be surprised at the number of people who extend themselves and their credit and their health and their contacts and their life force in order to get their dream picture made."

And that is precisely what the advancement of plus-size beauty needs, at this moment in time: individuals who are willing to sposor size-celebratory projects with the understanding that they may, or may not, recoup their investment, but who believe that the principle behind sponsoring such projects is its own justification.

And here is another interesting Web page on this topic. Unfortunately, it is in French,

but after being treated to a rudimentary Web-based translation, the text at the bottom of the page, following the heading "Parlons-en de la beauté," reads thus:

Let us speak about beauty: Women who are round are 1000 times more beautiful than those who are thin and emaciated. They have a beauty that is brighter, sparkling, natural, and heartwarming. Their faces cause an emotional reaction specific to the biological function of beauty, inasmuch as the beauty of a face is defined by its capacity to beget pleasure--in other words, to calm, reassure and move.

For example here are the faces of two actresses: Christina Schmidt of Degrassi: The Next Generation and Caroline Néron: the actress recognized as a sex symbol in Quebec.

[images of Christina and the other actress]
[list of current film production in Quebec]

Conclusion: I would like to produce a romantic movie with an actress of great beauty, such as Christina Schmidt. But the world of cinematographic production in Quebec is a closed medium of friends. It is a world which supports those friends, and people who think like them. It is a culture permeated by female anti-roundness. [sic]

Even if I had best script in the world, it would not grant me a subsidy to carry it out.

The only means of seeing more actresses of size in the world of cinema and television it is to be autonomous financially, using the voluntary help and of monetary contributions.

Apparently, this individual is trying to start a foundation in Quebec expressly for the purpose of financing film projects that will show plus-size actresses "of a great beauty such as Christina Schmidt" in lead roles. Whether or not he succeeds in this endeavour, the attempt deserves unreserved praise.

* * *

Financial limitations prevent many potential "dream projects" from becoming a reality--and in many cases, it is just as well that they do. As we have stated before, the last thing that size celebration needs is third-rate, amateurish efforts that compare unfavourably with the slick, polished quality of straight-size publications and mainstream movies. That would merely lead the public to associate poor aesthetic quality with plus-size beauty itself.

But if well-meaning individuals can create professional-quality projects that present timeless beauty in an appropriately refined manner, we hope that they put aside commercial considerations (if it is at all possible for them to do so) and bring their size-positive efforts to fruition.

Once the film and publishing world sees that full-figured beauty can yield projects that compare favourably with the best that the current media establishment can create, the advertising money will flow freely. But until then, the pump needs priming.

Perhaps today's subsidized projects are better regarded in terms of art rather than commerce (not leastwise because plus-size beauty has been the ideal of Art throughout history). And from the Medici to King Ludwig II of Bavaria, art has always needed the support of visionary patrons.

Candid shot of Christina Schmidt receiving her YAA award. Someday, plus-size actresses of comparable beauty will be receiving Oscar statuettes--but for that to happen, they will need worthy artistic opportunities . . .

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