The Girl In the Backroom

The feisty Grandma who took down the bully Governor...

Project type: Documentary Feature
Project status: Development
Director/Writer/Producer: Francine Graff
Line Producer: Jonathan Graff
 
Email: girlintheroomtv@gmail.com
 
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Logline

When you sacrifice everything to be a “voice for the voiceless” and you’ve been a political activist for your entire life, then at age 79 you get to be the snarky grandmother who takes down the guy that no one else could touch.

Synopsis

New Jersey Senate Majority leader Loretta Weinberg faced the biggest bully in politics. Before there was Trump, there was Chris Christie.

In 2013, the busiest bridge in the world had lane closures causing traffic to come to a standstill. It was the first day of school and the anniversary of 9/11. Getting onto the George Washington Bridge from the Jersey side was a parking lot. This went on for five long days.

After hearing constituent complaints, Loretta decided to attend a subcommittee ethics meeting to get answers. Deputy Executive Bill Baroni claimed the lanes were closed because of a “traffic study.”

Loretta knew something wasn’t right. She wanted subpoena power to interview witnesses under oath, but Dems said no. So Loretta went back to Port Authority meetings in October, November, and again in December, but the board stuck to the “traffic study” story.

Loretta pressed for answers while the governor called her “obsessed.” Loretta wouldn’t budge.

What followed was one of the craziest political scandals in New Jersey’s history, the fast fall of Chris Christie and the rise of an unlikely hero.

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Meet the Filmmakers

Francine Graff — Director/Writer/Producer

Francine’s work has aired on the History Channel, HGTV, Discovery, Food Network, Sundance and E! Her interview subjects have included a diverse cast of characters ranging from ’80s Mistress of the Dark Elvira to PayPal/SpaceX/Tesla founder Elon Musk. She’s been published in Lena Dunham’s digital magazine as well as the blogs “Mothering Heights” and The “New Agenda.” Francine is currently working on a biopic based on her mother, Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, who broke open the Bridgegate scandal.

Jonathan Graff — Line Producer

A native of Brooklyn, New York, Jon holds a master’s degree in business administration from the Graziadio School of Business at Pepperdine University. Currently, he is the Chief Financial Officer for Reason Foundation, an LA-based public policy think-tank. Before joining Reason in 2007, Jon worked as operations manager for Propaganda Films, which produced a number of blockbusters, including The Game, Being John Malkovich, and many others.

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Contact

For inquiries, please contact fiscalsponsorship@filmindependent.org.