An all-female team of vegan filmmakers has created a groundbreaking, award-winning, 15-minute film titled “The Next Girl” that is now streaming on UnchainedTV
Los Angeles, December 26th, 2023 — VKind Studios has produced a poignant 15-minute film created by an all-female team of vegan filmmakers, that’s now streaming for free on UnchainedTV. So as not to give away the surprising ending, let’s just say that The Next Girl is an intense and shocking film starring the captivating actress and vegan activist Jamie Logan and brilliantly directed by Terrah Bennett Smith. Lisa DeCrescente, the original screenplay writer, and Star Simmons, are the executive producers.
Using Fiction to Make a Point
In a world where humanity is running out of time to solve the many global injustices characteristic of our modern era, The Next Girl is an example of where filmmaking is heading… using fiction to make big points about the real world and all the inhabitants in it, of whatever species.
In the video below, the film’s star Jamie Logan, writer Lisa DeCrescente, and director Terrah Bennett Smith tell UnchainedTV host Jane Velez-Mitchell how and why they made this movie and the intense pressures and challenges they experienced. David Trotter and Snowden Bishop served as producers on the film, helping to execute the vision these women had for the movie.
Taking Risks to Raise Awareness
Jamie Logan, the star of The Next Girl, is a GenV team member who has her own podcast, Jamie’s Corner, which also airs on UnchainedTV. This multi-talented actress, journalist, comedian, videographer and editor has produced a slew of viral videos that take on the plight of animals in a thought-provoking way, often using laugh-out-loud humor, philosophy and straightforward questioning.
Logan was also one of the activists who successfully disrupted the Coach runway show during New York Fashion Week 2023 to protest the use of leather in the fashion industry. Jumping on the runway before a crowd of celebrity fashionistas, Logan strutted like a model while holding a sign that said “Leather Kills.” While she was ultimately tackled and dragged off, her actions generated dozens of news stories on the issue in major publications around the world. She explains that acting in The Next Girl also posed a nerve-racking challenge, but in a different way, due to the many intense and emotionally charged scenes in the film:
“This definitely was a challenging role for me to play, being that normally I stick to humor and comedy to get the message across. But, when Star Simmons first approached me with the script… it was so impactful, and moving, and powerful, that I knew it was something I wanted to be a part of in whatever capacity I could be.”
“I wanted to tell their story because, if people could connect to the pain and suffering that I was experiencing, then they should be able to connect to the pain and suffering that other individuals, every single day, face.” — Jamie Logan, star of The Next Girl
A Film that Works at Different Levels
Terrah Bennett Smith is an award-winning actress, director, producer, writer, singer and mother of three, originally from New York. In addition to directing The Next Girl, she wrote and directed the award-winning indie film Blueprint, directed and produced the docuseries Heart And Soul Of A Champion, and has produced numerous TV pilots. Her directing debut was the feature film Flip The Script. She also has more than fifteen stage directing/producing credits. In front of the camera, a few of Terrah’s recurring and guest star roles are: Stuck With You, 68 Whiskey, Bosch, 9-1-1, Dear White People, and Games People Play. Bennett is currently Chief Content Officer for Inyani (a global production company) and founder of Reclaim Haven, a mind, body, and spirit platform for women. Becoming vegetarian in 1979, she eventually became vegan. This is what she said about the success of The Next Girl:
“It’s a team effort, obviously. You have to have a wonderful actress — which we did — as a lead, because it is one of those pieces that if you don’t have the right actress, it will fall. The script, when I first read it, I was very excited about the idea of telling the story… Obviously, it’s about the animals, but also about oppression in general and how we, on this planet, just oppress and don’t think anything about the people who we’re affecting, or the animals we’re affecting.”
Bennett Smith explains that she personally identified with the lead character’s anguish on so many levels, she was hopeful audiences would also feel a personal connection to the plight of the character Logan plays:
“One of the reasons why I wanted to do it was because when I read it, it hit me in so many different ways. I am a vegan, so it hit me with the animals; I am a woman, it hit me as a woman; I am a black woman, it hit me that way. And I figure that if you can watch it, and feel it, and put yourself in the place of any of those things, you become more compassionate about it all.”
“It’s really finding the right actors and making sure that they lived in the truth of it and not try to act it, because it wouldn’t have worked had they been on top of the character instead of rooted into the character.” — Terrah Bennett Smith, director of the Next Girl
To Liberate Minds… A Tale of Oppression
Lisa DeCrescente, who wrote the screenplay, is known pushing the needle toward social acceptance of veganism. She is the Director of Special Projects and Events at Farm Animal Rights Movement (FARM). As a former restaurateur & executive chef, she’s worked with numerous restaurants on the inclusion of vegan options, veganizing over 200 recipes for her corporate clients. In 2024, she plans to produce three large-scale, in-person sustainability events in the greater Washington D.C. area featuring everything from creative plant-based options to electric car innovations. A native New Yorker, Lisa DeCrescente has been vegan since 2000. She explains why she embarked on this film project which delivers a message that only becomes apparent at the very end of the film:
“I was interested in planting a seed with this movie. I felt like, from all the animal rights activism and advocacy I’ve done, we need to help people get out of their own way. Sometimes we need to take measures where you are tricking people, or baiting them — in a kind way, of course, because we don’t want to do anything malicious.”
Without spoiling the content of the film, DeCrescente can say this about what its core message is:
“The movie is meant to focus on the oppressive mind…when you are transmuting oppression into compassion, all victims are equitable, so this was my way of putting a message out there that both vegans and non-vegans could digest and really start thinking about their choices three times a day, four times a day, on how they could do things that are not only better for themselves and the planet… but the animals too.”