FVPF Joins DreamWorks and Others in Movie Premiere

Last month, the Family Violence Prevention Fund joined with Bay Area writer Terry Ryan, The Northern California Independent Booksellers Association, and literary agent Amy Rennert to sponsor the Northern California opening of the DreamWorks’ and Revolution Studio’s movie, The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio, based on Ryan’s bestselling book of the same name.

The movie, directed by Jane Anderson and starring Julianne Moore, Woody Harrelson, and Laura Dern, tells the true story of Evelyn Ryan, an enterprising woman who kept poverty at bay for a family of twelve with wit, poetry, and perfect prose during the "contest era" of the 1950s and 1960s. The story is hilarious and deeply moving.

Harrelson plays an alcoholic husband and father who creates an undercurrent of threat that sometimes erupts into physical violence. That aspect of the storyline throws the joy and magic the family often shares into harsh relief and lends the movie a unique depth.

Prize Winner is likely to have broad appeal and give exposure to the epidemic of family violence. Nearly one-third of American women report being physically or sexually abused by a husband or boyfriend at some point in their lives.

The Family Violence Prevention Fund -- a national organization based in San Francisco that has worked to stop violence against women and children through innovative prevention strategies for 25 years -- sponsored the film’s opening because of the high cultural reach and awareness-raising potential of the film.

“I so admire Terry Ryan and her work,” said Esta Soler, President and Founder of the Family Violence Prevention Fund. “Through The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio, Terry has ensured that her extraordinary mom, Evelyn Ryan, will live on as an example of love, courage, and good humor against all odds.”

Evelyn Ryan was graced with a rare appreciation for life's inherent hilarity, and her winning ways defied the Church, her alcoholic husband, and antiquated views of housewives. She turned every financial challenge into an opportunity for fun and profit, from her frantic supermarket shopping spree -- worth $3,000 today -- to her clever entries worthy of Erma Bombeck, Dorothy Parker, and Ogden Nash. Hers is the story of a remarkable woman whose talents reached far beyond formidable verbal skills. The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio tells Ryan's story with an infectious joy that will touch your heart, mind, and spirit.

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