Afternoon Light
In Development - A TRUE STORY OF SURVIVAL

A Woman of Three Nations

FILM FESTIVAL

2023

FILM FESTIVAL

2023

FILM FESTIVAL

2023

 

ABOUT THE FILM
A WOMAN OF THREE NATIONS

Title
Format & Genre
Logline
Comparisons
Setting
About the Film Team

A WOMAN OF THREE NATIONS

Feature-Length Dramatic Film (In Development)

In order to support and protect her eight children, Juana Briones, a medicine woman, leaves her alcoholic physically abusive husband to become an entrepreneur in 19th century California as it transitions from control by Spain, to Mexico and then to the United States.

The project is written along the lines of the films Cinderella Man and Loving.

The story moves from the village of Yerba Buena in the 1830s ... which will later become San Francisco, California where Juana began raising her children and began an entrepreneur and land owner.  The film will also feature the lands around the area that are now Stanford University as Juana Briones bought a 4,000 acre ranch in the area in the 1840s and left San Francisco as it  

The project is based on the biography “Juana Briones of Nineteenth Century California” by journalist and historian Jeanne Farr McDonnell.

 

Zel Anders, the founder of Amendment 28 Films, negotiated and secured the film/TV option rights for the biography. Zel is serving as the producer and will put into place an appropriate team of Latinx award-winning filmmakers including a female director and award-winning lead actresses and actors. Most of the filmmakers in the team will be Latinx or minority filmmakers.

 

Briones´ story will be adapted to film by screenwriter, April M. Sanchez. Sanchez´s scripts have been finalists in screenplay competitions such as the Sundance Screenwriters and Episodic Labs, and a semi-finalist in the Academy Nicholl Fellowship and the Universal Writers Lab, among others. She is bi-cultural and bi-lingual and grew up with an entrepreneurial grandmother who supported her family much as Briones did for her family.

Main Characters

Juana Briones - mother, medicine woman, midwife, business woman, ranchera, and land owner.

Apolinario Miranda - Juana´s husband.

Henry Wager Halleck - Juana´s real estate attorney who assisted her with some of her legal battles.  He was a senior United States Army officer, scholar, and lawyer.  He was an important participant in the admission of California as a state and became a successful lawyer and land developer. 

Synopsis
Major Themes

In the 1830s, a medicine woman and mother of eight is intent on leaving her abusive husband and becomes an a savvy entrepreneur in early Yerba Buena which will become San Francisco in the 1840s. It is said that the community of Yerba Buena was named for her healing mint tea.

At the beginning of the film, Juana begins selling vegetables and milk to ships´ crews and also serves as a nurse and midwife to the growing community. Without formal medical training, she treated smallpox and scurvy patients, delivered babies, and set broken jaws.  Juana also employed her knowledge of medicinal herbs.  

Later in the film, as San Francisco becomes overwhelmed by rapid growth because of people coming to California for the Gold Rush, 

In 1844, Juana Briones de Miranda purchased a 4400-acre tract of land called Rancho la Purisima Concepcion to further expand her cattle and farming interests. 

As San Francisco later starts a 4,000 acre cattle ranch in what is now part of the Silicon Valley.

The outward themes of the film are the importance of personal resilience and the centuries long battles for equal rights for women, minorities and indigenous Americans in the United States. The inward themes are the resilience and perseverance that individual women and men have been forced to develop in the face of injustice and systemic gender and racial biases that have been prevalent for centuries.

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#WhereIsJuana?
Biographer Jeanne Farr McDonnell
is on a mission to make Juana Briones´ story widely known.

 
 
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