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Belvedere producer brings home an Academy Award

Belvedere resident Blye Pagon Faust brought home the Academy Award for Best Picture at the 2016 Oscars for her role as producer of “Spotlight.”

“Spotlight” profiled the investigative journalism performed by the reporters of the Boston Globe in uncovering the clergy abuse scandal in 2001 in the Boston Archdiocese and became a story with worldwide implications.

Faust grew up in Monroe, Washington before traveling to California to attend Santa Clara University. After Santa Clara, Faust went to UCLA to study at the School of Law.

Once she finished her time at UCLA,  she began working as a lawyer, and dealt primarily with entertainment litigation. Her involvement in the entertainment industry helped her transition into producing.

“My husband and I moved to the Bay Area and had two kids, so I decided I wanted to start up something that I could do locally with the family,” Faust said.

At this point, she started an interior design business, but film always came first in her eyes.

“Spotlight” was Faust’s first film to make it to the big screen and she said that winning an Academy Award for the film is an indescribable experience. “It is one of those things you dream of as a kid,” she said. “You truly can’t believe it has happened to you.”

Faust, second from left, celebrates her Academy Award with her co-producers.
Faust, second from left, celebrates her Academy Award with her co-producers.

Faust said that the award was icing on the cake following the seven-year period from the conception of the idea to opening night.

However, she said that the profound social significance of the movie was the real reward for everyone working on the film.

“I think the coolest thing along the way was that “Spotlight” has ongoing social importance,” Faust said. “I think the fact that we had so much support from the survivors to the journalism community made us feel like we had an impact on all of their lives.”

As a producer, Faust had to take the film from the conception of the idea and turn it into something that could be made into a major motion picture.

“We had been working with a novelist on a completely unrelated project and he told us about the story of the [Boston] Globe and said we should look into it because it would make an incredible movie. He knew the reporters and put us in touch with them at the end of 2008. In early 2009 Nicole [Rocklin] and I flew to Boston and secured all of their rights,” Faust said.

Faust said that she and her partner, Rocklin, saw the story as something that could make a great movie from the discovery of the idea.

“These guys had inflicted global change through their work,” she said. “Something that really struck us was the power of this local story and the work of these journalists and how they changed the face of the Catholic Church, which is centuries old and an international institution.”

Faust said that she was also struck by the difference that these journalists were able to create in the average person’s everyday life.

“If these guys had not gotten the story and had the resources and the time spent on breaking the story, would we still be here today not knowing that this was taking place? Would we still be in the dark?” Faust said.

Despite working two jobs, Faust said that she still has plans for future film projects and that she will use the lessons of her first film experience in future projects.

“One of the things that we have believed in since the get-go is the importance of integrity to the story and to the people in the story we are telling,” she said.

Faust added that everyone involved in the creation of the movie remained honest to their sources and the story. She said her experience showed her how important integrity is in the process of making a film.

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About the Contributor
Jason Fieber, Author