In the wake of the September 11th attacks, Frances Townsend had less than two months to transform the US Department of Homeland Security into a well-run agency capable of keeping our country safe.
She spent those weeks reviewing thousands of documents, talking to thousands of employees, and visiting thousands of sites across America. By February 2002, after nearly 2 years, an updated version of the National Strategy for Information Sharing was ready.
Townsend made sure that every single department and agency heard about the plan. She also ensured that each member of DHS understood their roles and responsibilities in protecting the homeland.
Frances Mary Fragos in 1961, Mineola, NY, on Long Island. She grew up in a small town with loving parents, but she was always very curious about the big city. Frances grew up with strong ties to the church. At 12, she became a member of the local parish, Our Lady of Sorrows.
Frances Townsend had always thought of herself as a woman who could go her own way and accomplish anything she wanted. She decided to try something different and see if people would let her join their group of friends. She wore a fake priest’s outfit and fooled everyone into thinking she was a real priest until she got busted for trying to sneak into the Catholic Church.
That event seemed to start the fire inside her to smash through the glass ceiling and make her place at the table regardless of what other women did.
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Whether you go to the cinema or indulge in your film of choice from home, watching movies is usually a relaxing pastime activity. However, the writers and directors behind the scenes go through a taxing artistic process to produce the fine quality movies you enjoy. From creating the film to editing and marketing it, the entire process can take a toll on the producers.
Alexander Payne, a celebrated American filmmaker, has had his share of beautiful experiences during his time in the industry. Born in Omaha, Nebraska, Payne discovered his creative nature from a young age. He went on to study history and later earned his MFA from UCLA.
Alexander is known to take a different turn when making his films, which brings a different taste to the regular Hollywood movies we are used to. He is known for dark comedies and thought-provoking storylines like Sideways, About Schmidt and Citizen Ruth. During his three-decade career, several Alexander Payne’s films have been nominated for 19 Academy awards.
Alexander notes that Downsizing was the most challenging project he has ever done. The film was released in 2017 and National Board Review named it one of the best movies of the year. However, Payne feels that Downsizing was worth the sacrifices he made because it is a continuation of his bodywork.
Downsizing pushed Alexander Payne out of his comfort zone because he had to use special effects for the first time. Being a fan of real-world grit, Payne made a difficult decision, but he knew that the effects were vital in creating a believable film. Although the movie used special effects, Alexander didn’t allow them to define the plot. He collaborated with the effects team to ensure the scenes were realistic.
Downsizing’s storyline was not a single story but rather several sequences and acts. Alexander Payne and his co-writer, Jim Taylor, wanted to balance comedy with social and political satire. Their vision to create a hyper-realistic world led them to a problematic scenario, where they needed to fit all their commentary and intricacies of daily life into the film. The process took them longer than they expected because of the mind work involves and the complexity of the plotline. However, Alexander Payne notes that while they faced many challenges writing the film, the project had a significant cumulative impact and was worth the effort.