Alumna’s documentary is accepted to a Los Angeles Film Festival

This is a historic moment captured: the first openly gay pageant contestant being crowned with a title. Erin O'Flaherty won Miss Missouri in the Miss America 2017 pageant. Lexy Kadey based her documentary off of this moment.
Photo used with permission from Lexy Kadey.

KAYLA DRAKE | A&E Editor

Lexy Kadey went to the grocery store to restock on food and shampoo on a brisk day in January.

In Kroger’s, she opened the email that represented a turning point for her career.

“Here’s another one.”

It was past the Dec. 28 deadline for the Lindenwood alumna’s acceptance into the Los Angeles Women’s International Film Festival; she already accepted the rejection.

“Congratulations you’ve been accepted. Please give us your stills and your press kit immediately,” the customer service email read.

“I look at it and I was like ‘wait, what?!’”

Last semester, Kadey directed and produced her student short-film, Crowning Change, about Erin O’Flaherty, the first openly gay pageant contestant to win a title: Miss Missouri.

“So I’m like in the shampoo aisle, in the grocery store, calling all my friends and family so excited, probably looking like an idiot.”

Crowning Change was released in 2018. The short film was the last student film Kadey had to shoot to graduate, for the Capstone class.
Used with permission from Lexy Kadey.

Kadey said being accepted into the L.A. Women’s Festival is really meaningful for her because a majority of her crew and all of her executive producers were women.

“If there is any film festival I would want to be awarded at, it is this one,” she said. “It just means a lot to me because I know Julia Stiles, an actress, was behind the board of this, just a lot of cool women that really really push for equality.”

She is the CEO of Feminine Productions, a company she started to contract crew members for Crowning Change and to show her commitment to representing women in film, she said.

The logo of Kadey’s production company. She said “Feminine Product” is purposely enlarged to show her commitment to including women in on production.
Used with permission from Lexy Kadey.

Kadey’s former film professor, Ben Scholle, said he loves that her film is close to her heart and other audiences find her message important as well.

“I think that’s really cool that she didn’t have to compromise and tell a story that she wasn’t interested in,” he said.

Kadey said because of the #metoo campaign, film does not feel like an uphill battle anymore like it did a year ago when she was entering the film industry.

“I feel like being in the international women’s film festival, it’s just like celebration of women,” she said. “It’s not just doing it to prove our talent.”

Because of the Kickstarter, Kadey was able to enter several festivals. Crowning Change was accepted into the Canada Independent Film Festival, denied from the Sundance Film Festival and is waiting on responses from other festivals like the True/False Film Festival.

But overall, despite Kadey’s dream of getting into the Sundance Film Festival, she said entering into festivals is worth the risk and investment in her future.

“Bite the bullet and just try to get into [festivals], just so you can have some street credit,” she said.

Erin O’Flaherty speaks at the Time to Thrive, Human Rights Campaign Conference in 2017.
Photo used with permission from Lexy Kadey.

Scholle said Kadey’s film “feels timely” and it is a good length for festivals because 10-20 minutes is “long enough to get into a bit of depth, but not long enough to where it’s difficult to program.”

The L.A. Women’s Festival will be on March 23-26 at LA Live Regal Cinemas.

Besides film festivals, Crowning Change will also be screened at the Time to Thrive Conference, hosted by the Human Rights Campaign, on Feb 17.

Kadey said next she plans to direct her first feature-length film, a horror/thriller movie, and aims to be finished with production by spring of 2019. 

For a previous story on Crowning Change, click here.

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