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 STORYTELLER  |  CHANGEMAKER  | FUTURE-WEAVER

Naomi McDougall Jones

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MEET NAOMI 

Naomi McDougall Jones is a 15-time award-winning storyteller, changemaker, and future-weaver.

THE SHORT STORY

Naomi has written, acted in, and produced two award-winning feature films. The first, Imagine I’m Beautiful (2014), collected 12 awards on the film festival circuit before receiving a theatrical and digital distribution deal and is now available on AmazonPrime. Her second feature, Bite Me (2019), was released via a paradigm-shifting 3 month, 51 screening, 40 city Joyful Vampire Tour of America that took the country by storm, and is now available on iTunes, GooglePlay, and Amazon.

 

She is currently at work on her next two feature films: Hammond Castle, an adult fairytale for which she received the honor of being the first artist in residence at the final home of Ernest Hemingway in Sun Valley, Idaho, and The Control Room, a psycho-sexual thriller co-written with Christian Coulson.

 

Naomi is an advocate and thought leader for bringing gender parity to cinema. Her writing on this has appeared in The Atlantic, Ms. Magazine, and Salon.com, and she gave a virally sensational TEDTalk, What it’s Like to Be a Woman in Hollywood, which has now been viewed over 1 million times and can be seen on TED.com.

 

Naomi’s first book, The Wrong Kind of Women: Inside Our Revolution to Dismantle the Gods of Hollywood, debuted as a #1 Amazon bestseller and received an electric critical response, with The Christian Science Monitor calling it, “...an outpouring of passion that will change the ways in which movies are seen,” and is now available wherever books are sold. Naomi has been a guest speaker at NYU, Columbia, Harvard, and Cambridge Universities and her book is on the curriculum at colleges and universities around the globe.


Naomi is currently at work on her second book, American Selkie, a metaphysical memoir about one woman's search for herself.

 

Naomi is a Founder of The 51 Fund, a private equity fund dedicated to financing films by women. Their films Cusp and Shayda both premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and won a Special Jury Prize and the Audience Award respectively. Shayda is Australia’s official entry for the 2024 Best International Feature Film Academy Award.

 

Naomi is now the Head of reGEN films, which develops, incubates, and grows regenerative business models for the funding, creation, distribution, and marketing/impact of independent films in service of an emerging ecosystem through which the full range of available voices can transform audiences. 

She also currently serves as the Executive/Artistic Director of The Liberty Theatre Company in Hailey, Idaho, where she is in hog heaven returning to her first love, live theater.

THE FULL STORY

STORYTELLER

 

Naomi wrote, produced, and starred in the 2014 indie feature film, Imagine I'm Beautiful, which took home 12 awards on the film festival circuit including 4 Best Pictures and, for Naomi, 3 Best Actress Awards and The Don Award for Best Independently Produced Screenplay of 2014. The film was named as #8 of OscarWorld's Top 10 Films of 2014 and was distributed theatrically and digitally by Candy Factory Films. The film is now available on AmazonPrime.

 

Naomi’s second feature film, Bite Me, is a subversive romantic comedy about a real-life vampire and the IRS agent who audits her. The film premiered at Cinequest, won Best Feature Film at VTXIFF, and then went on to the innovative, paradigm-shifting Joyful Vampire Tour of America, a 51-screening, 40-city, three-month, RV-fueled eventized tour that involved Joyful Vampire Balls, capes, a docu-series and a whole lot of joy. The film is currently available on BluRay, as well as VOD streaming platforms all over the world, including AppleTV, Amazon, and GooglePlay

Naomi's first book, The Wrong Kind of Women: Inside Our Revolution to Dismantle the Gods of Hollywood, is now available wherever books are sold in hardcover, audiobook, and e-book. It debuted as the #1 New Release on Amazon in the Entertainment Industry and received an electric response from reviewers with Booklist and Kirkus Reviews calling it "bold," "convincing," "passionate," "well-written," "urgent," and "necessary," and Publishers Weekly writing, "Film viewing will never be the same after reading Jones' insightful look at the reality of being female in Tinseltown." Rose McGowan said of the book, “We need truth. The curtain must be pulled back, and Naomi McDougall Jones has done just that.” It has been featured in The Atlantic, The Washington Post, NPR, BBC, Playboy, Ms. Magazine, Salon.com, among many other national and international media outlets

Naomi is in development on her next two feature films:

 

HAMMOND CASTLE: In this fairytale for grown-ups, a 7-month pregnant failed actress becomes entangled with the power-hungry ghost of a long forgotten inventor hell-bent on fame. He draws her into a glamorous, ghost-filled fantasy and together they hatch a dangerous plan to secure both their legacies...at a terrible cost. The film was written by Naomi and will be directed by Nat & Veronica Moonhill, produced by Lindsay Lanzillotta and Deniz Gumustas, and Executive Produced by Jack Lechner. 

In December 2023, The Liberty Theatre Company produced a live radio play production of this piece - replete with live foley artist - to sold-out houses. You can listen to that radio play iteration of Hammond Castle HERE.

THE CONTROL ROOM: In this erotic thriller, a woman returns to her hometown after the death of a friend, only to find herself embroiled with a mysterious couple at the local nuclear facility. Naomi co-wrote this screenplay with Christian Coulson and the film will be directed by Catherine Eaton. 

Naomi received the honor of being the first artist-in-residence at Ernest Hemingway's final home in Sun Valley, Idaho. Naomi can be seen in this PBS documentary speaking about that experience and, alongside, Sheryl Strayed, unpacking Hemingway's complicated relationship to women. 

She is currently at work on her second book, partly based on that experience, American Selkie, a metaphysical memoir about one woman's search for herself.

Naomi was a writer for season 1 of Amazon's original series, The New Yorker Presents, based on the world's most award-winning magazine, which premiered at Sundance, for which she wrote the teleplay adaptation of Miranda July's short story Roy Spivey.

A pilot Naomi wrote, The Dark Pieces, was named on the 2016 WriteHer List as one of the top 16 unproduced pilots by a female screenwriter and is now in development for TV in Canada.

During the early days of Covid-19, Naomi was invited to write an episode of Day by Day, a podcast of short, narrative radio plays exploring "stories from our new normal." Her episode, Carry Me Home, was the series premiere.​

 

CHANGEMAKER

Naomi is a long-time advocate for bringing parity to film, both on and off screen. She has spoken at film festivals and conferences around the world and written extensively on this subject.

 

Naomi's TEDTalk on these issues and what to do about them, "What it's Like to Be a Woman in Hollywood," has been viewed over a million times and produced a global outpouring of support for the women in film movement. Her follow-up TEDxTalk, which she gave with fellow media maker and activist, Sarah Springer, "How to Become a True Agent of Change," examines the journey each of us must take to unravel white supremacy and patriarchy in our own minds. 

Her book on the subject The Wrong Kind of Women: Inside Our Revolution to Dismantle the Gods of Hollywood, is available wherever books are sold in hardcover, audiobook, and e-book, after debuting as a #1 bestseller on Amazon.

 

Naomi teamed up with former CFO of the City of Chicago, Lois Scott, to found The 51 Fund, an investment fund to finance films written, directed, and produced by women. Through The 51 Fund, Naomi became an Executive Producer of the films Cusp and Shayda, both of which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and won a 2021 Special Jury Prize and the 2023 Audience Award respectively.

FUTURE-WEAVER

Avalon: Story

In 2021, Naomi launched Avalon: Story -- designed to incubate and birth a new media ecosystem born out of two questions: 

  • What does Story need to be to build us a bridge to a more beautiful future? 

  • What are the business structures of Story that can serve as vehicles for the same?

The inaugural Avalon: Story program was Constellation Incubator, which over the summer of 2021 brought together 60 filmmakers to participate in an 8-week incubator designed to scale innovation within the independent film industry and apply design thinking to re-imagine a more equitable and sustainable ecosystem - from development, film finance, production, to marketing and distribution. She co-founded this initiative alongside Abeni Bloodworth, Angela Harmon, and Liz Manashil. The final presentations from the participants of the incubator,12 fully redesigned independent film ecosystems, can be found on YouTube.

Avalon: Story launched its second program, The Avalon Fellowship, in Fall 2021, bringing 6 of today's most pioneering cinematic storytellers to The Big Lost Campus in Ketchum, Idaho, for a week-long retreat during which they explored and innovated around the question, "What does Story need to be to build us a bridge to a more beautiful future? "

These efforts soon evolved into...

reGEN films

In 2023, Naomi partnered with Indigenous impact producer, Charlene SanJenko, in launching reGEN global studios, the first-and-only Indigenous-owned and female-led regenerative media studio.

Naomi is now the Head of reGEN films which develops, incubates, and grows regenerative business models for the funding, creation, distribution, and marketing/impact of independent films in service of an emerging ecosystem through which the full range of available voices can transform audiences. Their inaugural film fund is using a non-profit model to incubate, fund, and produce 6 feature film projects by female filmmakers from wide-ranging backgrounds, each of which will test an innovative regenerative model in funding, production, distribution, and marketing/impact. Learn more HERE.

Other future-weaving work

On the eve of the Biden/Harris Inauguration, Naomi gave a speech on The Future of Story as part of the Busboys and Poets Inaugural Event.

She is the co-creator and showrunner for the scripted, short fiction podcast, The Light Aheadwhich united over 120 creatives from entertainment with next-economy activists and social justice leaders to explore the question, "What would 2030 look like if the USA had an economy that truly worked for everyone?", which is now available wherever you get your podcasts.

She served as the Chief Editor and Book Doula for Beloved Economies: Transforming How We Work. Based on extensive research with organizations and companies that are boldly breaking out of business as usual, Beloved Economies offers readers an imagination-expanding vision of what work could be. It was a finalist for for the Porchlight Business Book of the Year.

You can read more of Naomi's thoughts, projects, and initiatives guiding us into a kinder, more nourishing, and more sustainable way to tell and share stories HERE.

HUMAN

Naomi grew up in Colorado, before attending Cornell and The American Academy of Dramatic Arts for College. Following graduation, she lived in NYC for another 13 years, spent a brief stint in Atlanta, and now lives in Hailey, Idaho, which she fell in love with after spending three months there as the first writer-in-residence at the Ernest Hemingway House.

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