IT was known as the "Dakota Fanning rape movie" at the Sundance Film Festival in 2007. The press screening for "Hounddog" elicited actual boos, not to mention eviscerating reviews. Even before that, evangelical groups protested the film after someone involved in its early financing alleged publicly (and erroneously) that Ms. Fanning was naked in it.
Few movies recover from such a hostile reception, especially a low-budget Southern-gothic tale set in 1959 about a 12-year-old motherless girl obsessed with Elvis Presley who seductively sings for a teenager in exchange for tickets to a concert of the King's. But thanks to a radically different cut of the movie and the coffers of a new independent film company listed on the Nasdaq's over-the-counter market, "Hounddog" will finally make its way into 22 theaters across the country on Sept. 19.
Sitting in the Cupcake Café in Clinton this month, the film's director, Deborah Kampmeier, sipped tea and reflected on the journey of her film, which cost just under $4 million. "The whole process was challenging from the beginning," she said. "It's a story about a girl whose voice and spirit are silenced, and then it's about her reclaiming her voice on a deeper, truer level. It's very interesting how the story that I'm trying to tell has been paralleled by the actual events of the making of the film."