The first-place 2019 NYWIFT Ravenal Foundation Feature Film Grant was presented to Lydia Dean Pilcher‘s A Call to Spy, about the unsung female heroes of WWII.
Produced, written by and starring Sarah Megan Thomas (Equity), who plays real-life American spy Virginia Hall, the film takes place at the onset of WWII when Winston Churchill ordered a new spy agency, the Special Operations Executive, to recruit and trains female spies. Their daunting mission: conduct sabotage and build a resistance. SOE’s “spymistress,” Vera Atkins (Stana Katic), recruits two unusual candidates: Hall, an ambitious American with a wooden leg, and Noor Inayat Khan (Radhika Atpe), a Muslim pacifist. Together, these women help to undermine the Nazi regime in France, leaving an unmistakable legacy in their wake. Atkins later became the inspiration for Ian Fleming’s Miss Moneypenny in the James Bond franchise.
It was awarded the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Award at the 2020 Santa Barbara International Film Festival and was named Best Female Directed Feature from the Alliance of Women Film Journalists.
The film will be released by IFC Films in theaters and on VOD on October 2, 2020.
Lydia Dean Pilcher has produced numerous award-winning independent feature films, including 11 movies in a long-standing collaboration with director Mira Nair and other films including The Darjeeling Limited, directed by Wes Anderson, and You Don’t Know Jack, directed by Barry Levinson. She is the founder and president of Cine Mosaic, one of New York’s leading independent production companies. Pilcher co-directed the 2020 release Radium Girls, based on the true story of the 1925 factory watch dial painters in New Jersey. See her full bio.
Learn more about the NYWIFT Ravenal Grant