by Nicole Goesseringer Muj
Leslie Zemeckis’ “Mabel, Mabel, Tiger, Trainer” Brings to Life the Story of a Fearless Superstar in the Steel Arena
Leslie Zemeckis continues bringing to life the stories of marginalized women, and in honor of Women’s History Month, the multi-award-winning filmmaker previewed her newest film, “Mabel, Mabel, Tiger, Trainer” at Laemmle Music Hall on March 8th, International Women’s Day.
The red carpet event brought out Hollywood’s finest including Robert Zemeckis, Leslie’s husband and the film’s executive producer, as well as producers Jacqueline Levine and Sheri Hellard, associate producer Donnalee Austin, Cinema Libre Studio CFO Beth Portello and COO Rich Castro, and celebs Kelsey Grammer, Dee Dee and Paul Sorvino, Charles Fleischer and Sofia Milos, to name a few.
“Mabel, Mabel, Tiger Trainer,” tells the empowering story of the world’s first female tiger trainer written, produced and directed by Leslie, who also produced and directed the critically acclaimed Showtime documentary “Behind the Burly Q” and “Bound by Flesh” about Siamese superstars Daisy and Violet Hilton.
The documentary, narrated by Oscar-winning actress Melissa Leo, chronicles Mabel’s harrowing life, from an outcast who was rejected by her family, to her stint as a cooch dancer in the circus and a dangerous stunt double for Mae West, to eventually becoming the world’s first female tiger trainer, outwitting 21 tigers in the ring.
The film uncovers the real story behind the most famous woman of her time. “Her story was shrouded in myth and rumor,” states Leslie. “With the help of a relative and her last protégé I was given unprecedented access to the story of her childhood, which marred and scarred her worse than her tigers.”
Worldwide rights for “Mabel” were acquired by Cinema Libre Studio and will be released domestically on DVD and streaming platforms (Amazon and Vimeo) beginning April 10.
To round off Women’s History Month, Leslie will be screening her film at the Chicago History Museum this Sunday, March 25th, at 1:30pm, followed by a Q&A moderated by the Museum’s Director of Special Events, Jessica Trent. Tickets are available on the website. On Tuesday, March 27th, Susan Rockefeller and Robert Zemeckis will host an invitation-only screening at MoMA in New York City, with a Q&A following, moderated by Susan.
“When I first started researching Mabel Stark I thought it was going to be a story about courage,” states Leslie. “I discovered however, that her story was really a love story. She loved her tigers so much she would give her life for them.”