Desperately Seeking Stagg Girls

Who were the Stagg Girls? After she sees graffiti in a film, a French woman is obsessed

As she’s watching Los Sures, a 1980s documentary about the Southside of Williamsburg, the neighborhood she’s just moved in, a young French woman’s imagination is caught by a RIP graffiti signed by the Stagg Girls on a wall nearby her house. She then decides to track down those girls…

Screenings

Brooklyn Girl Film Festival, Brooklyn, NY, 2013
ECU Festival, Selection Firsts, Paris, France, 2013
GAZE series #5, Transgressions, ATA, San Francisco, CA, 2013
Living Los Sures: Preview in the Park, Brooklyn, NY, 2012

Director’s Statement

When I first watched Los Sures, I was immediately compelled with the role and the place of women in the film and in the neighborhood. While there was some strong women portraits in the film, I wondered what it could have been for women to live in what seemed to be a rough neighborhood back then. I had just arrived from France and I’ve always been fascinated with American pop culture and way of life since I was a teenager. I used to even dream of being a teenage in the USA when I was 15!

No wonder then that a RIP mural signed by Stagg Girls caught my imagination. While I had just moved into UnionDocs on Union Avenue, I had noticed that Stagg Street was just around the corner and quickly became obsessed with the idea that these women who apparently had gone through a traumatic event were maybe still living in the neighborhood and maybe even still my neighboors! At any rate, I wanted to know who they were, what had happened, how it was to grow up here, what became of them…

As I rallied Elizabeth Lawrence, Adam Khalil, Andre Valentim Almeida to the project, other members of the Collaborative Studio (Claire Richard, Oresti Tsanopoulos, Kaitlin Prest) helped me through the process of shaping Desperately seeking Stagg Girls, which was in fact my first attempt at directing a film. As I was struggling with my journalist reflexes, I was blessed to soon receive that one advice: ‘you should be filming yourself in this quest, after all you might never find them.’ It turned out that my encounters with my characters were strongly colored by the fact that i was a young french woman searching for people that apparently I was the only to care for. In the end the film explore my own American mythology and the power of imagination.

— Sonia Gonzalez

Team

Sonia Gonzalez

Sonia Gonzalez

Sonia Gonzalez is a French filmmaker who splits her time between Paris and New York. She regularly works as a journalist on several documentary films for the European cultural TV channel Arte and other public broadcasters. Desperately Seeking Stagg Girls is her first personal work which she made while a UnionDocs Fellow in 2012. Recently, she finished producing Matthew Lancit’s new feature on Flâneurs and has co-written a feature for Arte about girl culture. She has completed shooting her first feature documentary about Riot Grrrl, which combines her passion for music, teenage and underground themes. It will be broadcasted on Arte TV in 2015.

Elizabeth Lawrence

Elizabeth Lawrence

Elizabeth Lawrence is a documentary producer/director/schemer residing in New York. She has worked in the film industry for over ten years. In 2010, she made her directorial debut with Roll Out, Cowboy. The feature film toured over 50 film festivals worldwide, received six Best Documentary awards and acquired distribution. She was a 2011-12 UnionDocs Collaborative Fellow. In 2012, she co-directed a documentary short with Amanda Stymeist, So Far Above Humans They Are. The film was exhibited at the Cameron Art Museum in North Carolina. Lawrence is currently directing her second feature documentary, Aldine.

Adam Khalil

Adam Khalil

Adam (Shingwak_Nehro_Rashad_Krebs) Khalil is a filmmaker, artist, and media archivist. His practice attempts to subvert traditional forms of ethnography through humor, relation, and transgression. Khalil’s work has been exhibited at Goldilocks Gallery (Philadelphia), Microscope Gallery (Brooklyn), Museo ExTeresa Arte Actual (Mexico City), Carnival of eCreativity (Bombay), and Fine Art Film Festival Szolnok (Hungary). Khalil was a UnionDocs Fellow from 2011-12 and a Gates Millennium Scholar. In 2011 he graduated from the Film and Electronic Arts program at Bard College. Khalil is currently in post-production on a feature film about the history of the Ojibway people with his collaborator and brother Zack Khalil.

Kaitlin Prest

Kaitlin Prest

Kaitlin Prest is an audio artist working with radio, performance and installation. She is the creative director of Audio Smut, and a producer/sound director at Life of the Law. Both shows are independently produced and distributed podcasts with a flair for audio craftsmanship. Her work has been featured on NPR, the CBC, Radiotopia’s The Truth, at In the Dark Radio, in the Radio Cinema in Copenhagen, the Henry Miller Museum and more. She was selected to judge the first year of audio submissions to the Sheffield Doc/Fest alongside Jad Abumrad and Kari Hesthamer. She is dedicated to innovation in audio storytelling, in radio and beyond.

Sonia Gonzalez

Sonia Gonzalez

Sonia Gonzalez is a French filmmaker who splits her time between Paris and New York. She regularly works as a journalist on several documentary films for the European cultural TV channel Arte and other public broadcasters. Desperately Seeking Stagg Girls is her first personal work which she made while a UnionDocs Fellow in 2012. Recently, she finished producing Matthew Lancit’s new feature on Flâneurs and has co-written a feature for Arte about girl culture. She has completed shooting her first feature documentary about Riot Grrrl, which combines her passion for music, teenage and underground themes. It will be broadcasted on Arte TV in 2015.

Elizabeth Lawrence

Elizabeth Lawrence

Elizabeth Lawrence is a documentary producer/director/schemer residing in New York. She has worked in the film industry for over ten years. In 2010, she made her directorial debut with Roll Out, Cowboy. The feature film toured over 50 film festivals worldwide, received six Best Documentary awards and acquired distribution. She was a 2011-12 UnionDocs Collaborative Fellow. In 2012, she co-directed a documentary short with Amanda Stymeist, So Far Above Humans They Are. The film was exhibited at the Cameron Art Museum in North Carolina. Lawrence is currently directing her second feature documentary, Aldine.

Adam Khalil

Adam Khalil

Adam (Shingwak_Nehro_Rashad_Krebs) Khalil is a filmmaker, artist, and media archivist. His practice attempts to subvert traditional forms of ethnography through humor, relation, and transgression. Khalil’s work has been exhibited at Goldilocks Gallery (Philadelphia), Microscope Gallery (Brooklyn), Museo ExTeresa Arte Actual (Mexico City), Carnival of eCreativity (Bombay), and Fine Art Film Festival Szolnok (Hungary). Khalil was a UnionDocs Fellow from 2011-12 and a Gates Millennium Scholar. In 2011 he graduated from the Film and Electronic Arts program at Bard College. Khalil is currently in post-production on a feature film about the history of the Ojibway people with his collaborator and brother Zack Khalil.

Kaitlin Prest

Kaitlin Prest

Kaitlin Prest is an audio artist working with radio, performance and installation. She is the creative director of Audio Smut, and a producer/sound director at Life of the Law. Both shows are independently produced and distributed podcasts with a flair for audio craftsmanship. Her work has been featured on NPR, the CBC, Radiotopia’s The Truth, at In the Dark Radio, in the Radio Cinema in Copenhagen, the Henry Miller Museum and more. She was selected to judge the first year of audio submissions to the Sheffield Doc/Fest alongside Jad Abumrad and Kari Hesthamer. She is dedicated to innovation in audio storytelling, in radio and beyond.

Credits

Directed by Sonia Gonzalez

Camera: Elizabeth Lawrence, Adam Khalil, André Almeida
Sound: Kaitlin Prest
Editors: Adam Khalil, André Almeida

UnionDocs Collaborative Studio Director: André Almeida

UnionDocs Artistic Director: Christopher Allen

2011-2012 Collaborative Fellows: Adam Khalil, Alexandre Maia, Claire Richard, Elizabeth Lawrence, Kaitlin Prest, Lucas Carlisle, Meg Kelly, Oresti Tsonopoulos, Sonia Gonzalez, Olivia Koski

WordPress Lightbox