From sideshows to superstardom. Daisy and Violet Hilton were America’s sweethearts. Their incredible story begins in England in the 1900’s when their mother, after discovering she had given birth to Siamese twins sold the babies to a woman who saw the girls as “cash cows.” She displayed the pair in the back of pubs, eventually taking them on tour in carnivals and circuses. When the twins came to America they became the highest paid act in vaudeville. But they never saw the money. Kept virtual prisoners they were allowed no freedom. After a sensation trial in San Antonio they won their independence. Having lived a sheltered existence up until they were 23 they were unable to cope with the “vociferous mangers” who took advantage of them. They starred in Freaks, and the 1950s film Chained for Life. Exploited, robbed and eventually abandoned they ended their days as grocery clerks. Bound by Flesh is the award-winning documentary on their lives.
Leslie Zemeckis Leslie Zemeckis is an actress, writer and award-winning documentarian. Acting credits on stage, television and in films includes work opposite Michael Madsen, Tom Hanks, Anthony Hopkins and Jim Carrey. Leslie co-wrote Staar a one-woman cabaret show which was the origin for the mockumentary she wrote and produced entitled Staar: She’d Rather be a Mistress starring Carrie Fisher, Jefffrey Tambor and Fabio. Leslie also wrote, produced and directed the critically acclaimed documentary Behind the Burly Q, the true story of old-time burlesque in America. The film is airing on Showtime and was championed by such publications as USA Today and The New Yorker reveals the never-before told stories of the men and women who worked in burlesque during its Golden Age. Leslie’s latest film as writer/producer/director is the award-winning documentary Bound by Flesh about Siamese twin superstars Daisy and Violet Hilton. The film played to sold-out audiences at the prestigious Palm Springs International, Santa Barbara International and Chicago Film Festivals. Leslie once again chronicles an important part of American entertainment from a bygone era, delving into the world of circus and carnival life in the early part of the 20th Century. Her book Behind the Burly Q will be published by Skyhorse in June 2013. It is the definitive oral history of burlesque as told by the original stars themselves. Given unprecedented access to the performers’ diaries, letters, albums, and memorabilia, Leslie’s book gathers their stories and personal photos here for the first time.
PRECEDED BY SHORT FILM
8 mins, Color
Director: Susan Burke
Before Lisa Lampanelli and Sarah Silverman shocked audiences with dirty jokes and raised questions of a woman's place in comedy, there was Mae West. And at the same time as Mae West, there was Margot Rourke, who nobody has heard of but who was responsible for the greatest dirty ditty of all time. This is her story.
Susan Burke is a writer, director, actress, comedian and director born and raised in Casper, Wyoming and living in Los Angeles. Susan's first screenplay, Smashed, co-written with director James Ponsoldt, premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival to critical acclaim, winning a special Jury Prize and was purchased by Sony Pictures Classics and was released October 2012 - it has subsequently been nominated for many honors. As a comic and an actress Susan has appeared in various television shows and films and performs frequently both as a solo performer and as part of Bird of Prey, a female comedy trio, named "Best Sketch Group" by PUnchline Magazine. Susan has been named one of the "best female voices in comedy" by The Huffington Post.