The Girl With the Rivet Gun


Being a huge fan of other female filmmakers, I love hearing about women in the industry making a difference.  Therefore, seeing The Girl With The Rivet Gun was quite the treat.  This fifteen-minute short film highlights several real-life Rosie the Riveters as they tell their history in their own words.   

The beautifully animated documentary short film, created by co-directors Ann De Mare and Kristen Kelly, showcases the animated stop motion talents New York’s Danielle Ash. 

De Mare and Kelly are no stranger to film nor each other.  Meeting in the late 1990’s in the Chicago theater scene, the two have been working together for more than 15 years. Since meeting, De Mare and Kelly have completed the feature The Homestretch (PBS), which received an Emmy in 2015.   

Ann De Mare and Kristen Kelly

Separately both have had thriving personal accomplishments in the film industry.  De Mare recently finished a feature length documentary called Capture the Flag, premiering at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in 2018, while Kelly has been busy directing and producing her own documentary short films Stranger/Sister and Healing Healers

The Girl With The Rivet Gun, began its journey in 2010 when the two were working on oral history archives for NYU’s Tamiment Library Labor Archives, and stumbled upon the personal histories of dozens of real-life Rosie the Riveters, now well into their 80s, and sometimes 90s.

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As they began interviewing more of the women, they realized they had never heard these extraordinary stories before, and knew that they had to get them to a wider audience.  Knowing that over six million women had entered the work force during WWII they not only knew that many people would have an aunt or grandmother that was a part of the movement, but also that these stories could inspire the next generation as much as it did Kelly and De Mare. 

“We hope to inspire audiences, especially young women and girls, to understand how important women have been to our collective history, and empower girls and boys alike to see women’s power and worth in the world.”  

They knew different institutions, like schools and museums would invite such content as long as it was entertaining and inspiring.  Kelly and De Mare started with interviewing their subjects, and then added the stylized artworks of animator Danielle Ash to help push their visuals onto their audience. 

“Danielle Ash was one of the first animators recommended to us and we immediately fell in love with her unique style of constructed cardboard animation.  The rest, as they say, is history!”  

Ash, a Brooklyn-based award-winning animator, loves utilizing recycled materials in her work.  These hand-made, stop motion films are a mixture on toy worlds and cardboard cities. Past clients include Sesame Street, Jack Daniel’s, and Rit Dye.  In addition, she works as an art director, animator, and sound designer for independent short films.  To see more on her work, go to  

As for Kelly and De Mare, they plan on continuing their mission to continue making short aminated documentaries about women who have made a difference in the world.  In addition, they have another feature length documentary they are working on.

“We are currently in production together for a feature documentary around men’s activism to help end violence against women that should premiere in 2021/2022.”

Katharin Mraz is a contributing writer for Reel Chicago and Reel 360