2021 Business Challenge $1,000 Grant Recipient
Director, Belladonna Film Project
“Take this opportunity to get excited about your business and truly believe in why you decided to launch it.”
The Belladonna Film Project is an independent film production company with a focus on producing creative content.
About Belladonna Film Project
The Belladonna Film Project launched with the idea of producing a feature film within the Sheboygan community. The film, Belladonna, is a coming-of-old-age drama about an eighty-year-old, Midwestern woman who finds herself reckoning with her life after the passing of her husband. The film focuses on issues such as aging independently, end-of-life care, and female empowerment. “I’m passionate about telling stories that are from and based in the Midwest, specifically from my home in Wisconsin,” said Beah Travis, Director of the project. “I’m also excited by the opportunity to engage the community through the arts and provide more arts access to smaller communities.” The completed feature script was a finalist for participating in the 2020 Sundance Development Lab.
However, Belladonna Film Project is more than a film. The project is actively working with organizations in the Sheboygan, WI, area to provide arts opportunities to local students and the community through film production. “I’m most excited about the opportunity to tell meaningful stories and create higher quality productions as the organization grows and we get more access to resources,” said Beah.
Belladonna Film Project has also released Rising Tides, a film series celebrating small, women-owned businesses in Sheboygan County that started in and around the COVID-19 pandemic.
Living Sustainably, Sourcing Locally
Retro Makeovers, Comfortable Vibes
Stay Weird, Inspire Smiles
The three films premiered on May 20, 2021, and included Q&A sessions with the women entrepreneurs. Following the premiere, a “Making Waves” panel featured a discussion with women leaders in the Sheboygan community.
Now, “the company is in the process of transitioning into a nonprofit,” said Beah, “which we believe is more suited to the goals of the organization.” The long-term goal is to make and produce feature films and series in the Midwest.
How did the Accelerate Business Challenge help?
Beah recounts the AccelSC Pitch Competition as a quick and beneficial process. “I logged onto Zoom, was immediately put into a room with a panel of judges I didn’t know, gave my five-minute presentation, and was allowed to answer a couple of questions,” she said. “It was a good opportunity to work on my five-minute pitch.”
Belladonna Film Project used the grant money towards the purchase of a new camera to produce more Sheboygan-based film projects.