We’re super excited to announce that Rose McGowan has just released her second directorial short film! Written and directed by McGowan, Ruth tells the story of Ruth Coker Burks, an Arkansas woman who cared for hundreds of gay men dying of AIDS.
“I think she’s been forgotten by time,” Rose McGowan told BuzzFeed News in a recent interview. “Ruth Coker Burks is a national hero. I hope she gets seen and treated that way in the future. I think it’s time for strong women in history to rise up and be counted. And I’ll do anything I can to help that along.”
Ruth, which runs just under eight minutes, stars Shay Astar in the title role. The short film was shot in Los Angeles over a two-day period in June. Ruth is sponsored by the vodka company Zirkova through its We Are One+Together nonprofit. When Zirkova approached Rose McGowan to direct the project she hadn’t heard of Ruth Coker Burks. But as Rose began her research on Burks, she became “fascinated and captivated by the story.” Though Zirkova had sent McGowan a script, the director rewrote it during an all-nighter. “I saw the color palette in my head and went from there,” Rose McGowan said.
“I like to use all sorts of tools — sound design, lighting, set design are all huge for me,” Rose McGowan added. “I thought, Just because she’s in a small town doesn’t mean she’s a church lady. So I found this pink outfit that was kind of great, and I wanted to juxtapose it with all the seriousness.”
Ruth premiered on Sunday in Montauk, New York, to coincide with the kickoff of the 2017 International AIDS Conference in Paris. The film is a way for Rose to express ideas about the lasting consequences of AIDS in America. “I think we’re at the place we’re at culturally because so many creatives were wiped out by AIDS,” McGowan said. “What we’re left with is something kind of lacking. I don’t think we reflect as a society on what we’ve lost — not just the individual toll, but the collective toll.”
Be sure to watch Rose McGowan’s captivating short film right below – and leave your comments right below!