Writer, Producer, Director
GRETL CLAGGETT is a creator, writer and director committed to telling female-forward, diverse, cinematic stories that captivate and catalyze transformation in individual lives and shared cultures.
Her first film HAPPY HOUR — narrated by Julianne Moore — is based on true events and a poem from her book, Monsoon Solo: Voices Once Submerged. The film screened at 18 festivals, winning awards, and garnering praise from Oscar-winning Writer/Director Robert Benton: “Happy Hour is a lush, elegiac film about an extremely difficult subject and Ms. Claggett handles it masterfully.”
Gretl’s second film/proof-of-concept TV pilot, STORMCHASER, is a nuanced satire that allegorizes this era in “Merica”: Global Warming, Disaster Capitalism, Bullying, Morality, a Shrinking Middle Class, and Country Divided. STORMCHASER screened at 65 festivals worldwide — winning AMC Network’s Inaugural “Best Female Creator” Award at Stareable Fest, “Best Writer and Director” Awards at the New York Women in Film & Television Festival and “Outstanding Writing” at the Catalyst Content Festival. Other awards included multiple wins for Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Film, Best Pilot, Best Cinematography, Best Actress and Actor, Best Ensemble Cast, Best Original Score/Soundtrack, and Best VFX. STORMCHASER is now available to stream on Amazon Prime, Apple TV, Google Play, and Vudu/Fandango.
FLIP THE SWITCH — a restructured 15-minute version of the film — was a finalist in the international Stage 32 Short Film Contest, and also screened at multiple festivals around the world, winning awards. Other narrative work includes directing several episodes of the comedic CHRONICLES OF A BLEEP YEAR OLD, co-creating and producing the horror short BOY, ALONE IN WOODS, and script doctoring the feature BEYOND THE RUSH.
Gretl is also passionate about pioneering the use of innovative technologies to shape inspiring brand stories. Clients have included AstraZeneca, AT&T, Avis, Bristol Myers Squibb, Canon, Chase, Genentech, IBM, Marriott, McDonald’s, Merck, Pfizer, SHRM, SONY, and SC Johnson, among others. One specialty is merging live performance with multiscreen multimedia and VFX for audiences up to 20,000 with global livestreams to thousands more. In this realm, her work has been honored with Cannes Corporate Award nominations, Telly Awards, and a JP Morgan Chase Luminary Fellowship for Entrepreneurship.
She’s currently writing a memoir, plus developing a black comedic series set in the nostalgic 1990s and a near-future, science-fiction feature. Check out narrative projects in development at Culture Catalyst and experiential/event work at Content Catalyst.
Here’s Gretl’s Personal Site
I wrote the poem “Happy Hour” — on which the film is based — more than a decade ago when I was deep in the labyrinth of recovery, after one of my parents’ best friends, whom I called “Uncle,” sexually abused me from before I could speak until I was 16.
Today’s headlines trumpet these crimes, yet the approach the media takes often keeps us stuck in horror and trauma. One in four girls and one in six boys are sexually abused before turning 18. This translates into roughly 40 million adult survivors in the U.S. alone. I’m a statistic. But I’m also a human being. And it’s through the very human ability to tell a story — to go beyond statistics and show just how these cycles of abuse play out — that transformation becomes possible. With its potential to reach millions, film can play a powerful role.
The hardest and most rewarding part of crafting any poem is successfully capturing a whole world in a handful of words. So when I decided to turn my nine-line lyric into a film, I gave myself a similar challenge: to convey the depth and nuances of a feature-length script in less than 15 minutes.
My team and I made Happy Hour to help in some small way to dispel fear and shame; forge a better understanding of complicity plus the psychological aftermath most survivors face even in adulthood; give those who’ve suffered abuse hope that they can create fulfilling lives; and inspire people to learn about prevention so that more children can grow up safe.