MAVERICKS

FROM EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS
MICHAEL MICHELE
CHRIS L. JENKINS

HEART IS WHAT DRIVES US AND DETERMINES OUR FATE. THAT IS WHAT I NEED...A PASSIONATE HEART. I NEED MAVERICKS, DISSIDENTS, ADVENTURERS, OUTSIDERS AND REBELS, WHO ASK QUESTIONS, BEND THE RULES AND TAKE RISKS.

ISABEL ALLENDE

OVERVIEW

What is the heart of being American? Freedom. Independence. Exceptionalism. The courage to take risks and start anew. It’s why so often the people who illustrate those qualities are called MAVERICKS-- independent individuals who forge a path on their own, often unafraid or unbowed by potential consequences.

But what is the image of the quintessential American maverick? Traditionally it’s been men like James Dean or John Wayne or Steve McQueen. Yet in our modern times, American mavericks are just as easily women of all races, ethnicities and social classes, who are living with the transcendent freedom and bravery mostly ascribed to men, especially in a world that tells women  they should be one thing, while their hearts and souls tell them that they can be so much more. They are the Air Force rescue pilot from Nevada who risks life and limb for service in dangerous far flung locales; or the Mexican-American cowgirl from Texas who wrangles cattle with the same love and skill as any male on the range. They are the 20-year-old Asian American snowboarder who recently won a gold medal in the Olympics, rivaling the speeds and skill of anyone and defies the image of Asian women as docile or quiet. They are Black and Native American women, gay and transgender, all exhibiting American ideals of bravery and independence. They authentically live their lives in the most remarkable and exhilarating ways,  are embedded in the fabric of 21st century America and they have something to say.

MAVERICKS is six-part docu-series, that tells the stories of these iconoclastic, modern women whose surprising lives and unexpected choices break the lazy conventions of how they are supposed to live in 21st century America. In each episode, the series will explore unconventional and independent minded women who have broken through expectations and live their lives with bravery as they overcome  hurdles thrown in their path.

This is a series for everyone, because everyone- woman or man, black or white, gay or straight-- has a little maverick in them. We’ll journey through the modern American experience showing the diversity and commonality of our lives as we discover hidden truths about what makes each of our female characters stand out and embody the qualities that are relatable and quintessentially American.

THE FORMAT

THE FORMAT

Each  45-minute episode of MAVERICKS,  will take viewers to a new place around the country, doing a deep dive into the life of an unexpectedly independent woman, ready to show us the adventure that is her life. 

In this era of #metoo and #timesup we will examine how our character's internal resilience and bravery helped her overcome those who doubted her will and ability to push through circumstances that would wither most men and women.

MAVERICKS will be intentionally multi-cultural and diverse, exploring a cross section of ethnicities, races and sexualities. At each turn we will examine the sometimes dangerous circumstances that our main characters face, with no other desire to live her life with freedom and without fear. 

Each episode will be rooted in place and memory and will include visual elements that will offer a cinematic feel to the series: impressionistic recreations shot in Super 8 film; archival audio and visual elements to examine our character’s origins; intimate interviews and verité filmmaking shot with premium lenses that take the viewer into the moments that make these mavericks so unique.

WHY NOW?

We are living in the age of the heroine-- diverse stories of women are finally coming from the shadows and into public view on the big screen and on television. And these stories, whether scripted or unscripted are showing women in their full humanity. MAVERICKS  is a series that connects to this moment and the culture’s conversation about the complicated, surprising and sometimes unexplored ways in which women live in modern America. Each episode of MAVERICKS will be principally led by an all woman crew, adding a sense of intimacy and understanding to the creative team. These times demand a series that is about women, by women but for everyone. 

WHY NOW?

Episode 1: GRIT

Episode 1: GRIT

The series begins by focusing on a U.S. Air Force rescue pilot, call sign “Clock” who has been deployed in some of the globe’s most fractured war zones and participated in multiple highly dangerous missions, saving servicemen and allies who had come into harm’s way. At barely 32 years old she is already a major and she leads an all-male crew flying one of the most decorated planes in the Air Force. She’s been deployed in Afghanistan and other war-torn locales. But that just scratches the surface of this true American patriot who grew up a state champion skier and has the swagger of Tom Cruise in "Top Gun" but the athletic prowess of a world champion athlete. But what happens when a life-altering event befalls her, endangering the life as a pilot,  officer and rescuer? Her life takes a tragic turn and this episode tells the riveting story of her comeback. 

 

The episode, titled "Grit", marks the directorial debut of producer/actress Michael Michele, and was produced and lensed by an all-woman crew.

 

THE STORYTELLING TEAM

  • MICHAEL MICHELE
    MICHAEL MICHELE

    EXECUTIVE PRODUCER

    Michael Michele has won acclaim for her portrayals of strong and capable women on television and feature films over her 30-year acting career. She currently co-stars on the CW Network's reboot of the iconic 1980s drama Dynasty, as Dominique Deveraux, a role famously played by Diahann Carroll in the show's original run. Michele has also recently played in Lee Daniels' series Star on FOX, as Midtown Records owner Ayanna Floyd; and in Ava DuVernay's critically acclaimed OWN series, Queen Sugar, as Darlene.

     

    As a veteran of both Hollywood and network television, Michele has also launched her own film and television production company, MIX66. The company's first project is the docu-series, Mavericks, which explores the unexpected lives of women across the world. The first episode of the series marks Michele's directing debut and explores the heart pounding story of a female rescue pilot in the United States Air Force.

    A native of Evansville, Indiana, Michele’s initial big break came in 1991 when she was cast in Mario Van Peebles’s gritty urban drama, New Jack City; a year later she was a regular on the TV series, Dangerous Curves (CBS). Her performance in the mini-series, Trade Winds (NBC), soon led her to a recurring role on New York Undercover, as attorney Sandy Gill. She then landed a co-starring role on Darren Starr’s splashy nighttime soap, Central Park West.

     

    After appearances in a handful of feature films, Michele scored another major TV role as Detective Rene Sheppard in the Emmy-winning series Homicide: Life On the Street, which earned her a NAACP Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series nomination. She then turned in her badge to star in the top-rated hospital drama, ER, as Dr. Cleo Finch.

    Michele’s well-regarded work on that series boosted her stock in the film industry and she soon co-starred alongside Will Smith in the Oscar-nominated feature film, Ali. Later she went on star in the feature film Dark Blue, opposite Kurt Russell, and How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days, opposite Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson. She has also made guest appearances on House  (FOX) and The Following (FOX) and has also recently been seen on CBS's MacGyver & Blue Bloods.

    Michele is also the founder of The Roundtable ChitChat, a women’s mentoring foundation, which mentors and empowers women throughout the United States. Michele resides in N.Y. with her 14-year-old son.

  • CHRIS L. JENKINS
    CHRIS L. JENKINS

    EXECUTIVE PRODUCER

    Chris L. Jenkins is an award winning journalist, producer and executive producer whose work has covered politics, poverty and social policy over a 17-year career as a reporter and editor at The Washington Post and independent filmmaker.

    As a Post editor, he supervised the paper’s local political and criminal justice reporters, where he led award winning journalism on police involved shootings in the Washington, D.C. area and the rise of the Black Lives Matter Movement. As a reporter he covered immigration, social policy and politics, including the 2004 presidential election. He is also the co-founder and executive producer of “BrotherSpeak: Exploring the Lives of Black Men”, an award winning 5-part short film series published on the Washington Post website, which is now being turned into a full length docu-series. As an independent filmmaker, his short films also include Rikers: Innocence Lost, and upcoming productions for ESPN and YouTube.

     

    Chris has also recently served as the managing editor for The Root and was co-founder and editor of TheRootDC, The Washington Post’s micro-site that focused on the Washington area’s African-American community. In both those roles he oversaw staffs that covered the death of Trayvon Martin and its aftermath, the George Zimmerman trial, and the beginning of President Obama's second term.

     

    Chris is the author of several award winning stories and productions, including journalism that explored how the 2008 recession disproportionately impacted African- American women; a short film he produced won the coveted "Diversity in Storytelling Award" at SeriesFest 2017. Chris also contributed to The Post’s coverage of the Virginia Tech shooting massacre, which won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for breaking news. Discussing his Post reporting, Chris has been on numerous news broadcasts including WAMU, WCVE and NPR.