(NEW YORK) Despite the chilling temps, fashionettes turned out Wednesday evening to celebrate the New York premiere of Ronald Krauss’ Gimme Shelter, starring Vanessa Hudgens in the most poignant role of her career thus far. While the cast and crew were lively and the vibe was cheery, the flick’s subject matter was far more serious: the well-being of young, impoverished soon-to-be mothers and the future of their families. Hosted by The Cinema Society and Alice + Olivia, the independent film’s stellar cast all appeared on the red carpet at the Museum of Modern Art. Vanessa Hudgens, stunning in a black lace Monique Lhuillier gown, completely transformed herself for the lead role of Apple Bailey. As for her favorite transformative performance, “Charlize Theron in Monster, for sure.” Rosario Dawson, in the film as Apple’s abusive mother, and Brendan Fraser, her absent Wall Street father, also gave kudos to the film’s delivery of a hopeful outlook on a very real issue. “It shows life can be bittersweet, a bit clumsy, and that we get on with it if we chose to and want to make our way through it,” said Fraser.
Ann Dowd took on the role of Kathy DiFiore, the founder of Several Sources Shelter and the real-life inspiration of the film. “Always a pleasure to step into the footsteps of someone who has the courage to say, ‘Hey wait a minute, I can do something about this.’ I find that remarkable,” said Ann of her true life-inspired character, who has been called the “real hero” of the film. As for the real Kathy DiFiore, she was beyond happy after seeing the film, a change of heart after her initial refusal to work with any media. “I get calls all the time from reality shows. I said no, because I’ve been doing this for 33 years in silence.” It was Krauss’ sincerity while volunteering and documenting at the shelter that finally convinced her. “As he documented, he got to know things about the young mothers that I had never heard,” DiFiore told The Daily. “They trusted him and he respected them.”
Along with the cast, there were a great number of attendees like Tony Danza, Billy Connolly, Tyra Banks, Taryn Manning, Alysia Reiner, Alice + Olivia’s Stacey Bendet Eisner, Kweku Mandela, and Jay Giannone, who turned out to show their support. Also present for the event: a few of the young mothers who stories remain the heart of this film. “The girls are so excited, they don’t even sleep the night before they’re so excited,” said DiFiore on getting the girls ready for the premiere. “That’s the only preparation: try to get some rest and don’t spend too much money on your outfit!”