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Cheryl Strayed’s 'Dear Sugar' Column Portrayed in an Animated Short Film

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by Peter Belsito
June 6, 2014 10:33 AM
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Dear Sugar

I love it when my friends take on hugely ambitious and relevant projects for the screen. This us why we do it, yes?, this cinema thing....

Our Producer pal Lisa Bellomo has put together a US / Israeli co production on Kickstarter to bring to screen the Dear Sugar phenom which is an avidly, hugely followed advice column relevant to women and the gay community worldwide.

Lisa Bellomo

Producer Lisa Bellomo has now launched a Kickstarter campaign to help finance this animated short film based on best-selling author Cheryl Strayed's DEAR SUGAR advice column. Israeli animator David Polonsky, art director and lead artist for the acclaimed Oscar nominated and Golden Globe winning animated film Waltz With Bashir, will animate the film.

The short is based on THE BABY BIRD, the column that launched the Dear Sugar phenomenon ( read it HERE). Mark V. Olsen and Will Scheffer (Getting On, Big Love) have written the screenplay adaption and Alex Borstein (Family Guy, Mad TV) will be the voice of Sugar.

In 2010 the Dear Sugar online advice column launched on TheRumpus.net and garnered a devoted underground following. Two years later the captivating voice was revealed to be that of American memoirist and novelist, Cheryl Strayed. Each column is like a short film because each tells a story unto itself. And whether Sugar is bestowing her “advice” to a grieving mother who has just miscarriage, or a father mourning the death of his young gay son and regretting the things he didn’t say, or as in our film, to a young woman grasping to find the meaning in her life, Sugar’s words of wisdom are delivered with compassion and a raw sense of direct honesty. It’s that quality that results in a deeply authentic exchange between Sugar and her questioners. It is an advice column unlike any other.

David Polonsky

The animation will be done in Israel and David Polonsky is the perfect person to oversee it for this film. Like the Dear Sugar columns, Waltz With Bashir also jumps back and forth between present day and flashbacks of traumatic memories from the past. That movie’s particular style of animation – which has a documentary feel to it - effectively captures the characters complex emotions, as they try to make sense of their lives. In that way it’s not unlike our Baby Bird story. Of course David and his animation partner Yoni Goodman will create a distinctive animation style for Sugar, but the Waltz With Bashir template is a good model for this project.

They're determined to get this Dear Sugar short film produced, but the big dream is that this short will be just the beginning for Sugar on the screen. Once the short is complete, the plan is to submit the film to domestic and international film festivals, and hope to premiere it at the Sundance Film Festival. After that, who knows…a feature film…a television series…The sky’s the limit because in the words of Sugar, “The best thing you can possibly do with your life, is to tackle the motherfucking shit out of it”.


Check out the Kickstarter campaign here: http://ow.ly/wWESP

Follow them on  twitter and instagram: [AT]dearsugarfilm

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