THE SHAREHOLDER is the tale of a wealthy "outsider" who shakes up the status quo and changes corporate America. Based on an original story by Johnny Langdon, Susan O'Connell, and Writer/Director Stefan Schaefer.
Upon the sudden death of her business tycoon husband, family matriarch Winnie Preston does the opposite of what her family and Greenwich, Connecticut society expect. Jolted by the awareness that she has been ignorant of her husband's eroding values, she comes alive and forsakes society galas for the corporate boardroom as she campaigns for a large enough share of Preston Holdings, a $6B public corporation, to shift the corporate priorities away from "profits no matter the costs to everyone else" and toward environmental and psychological sustainability, and a culture of transparency.
She is assisted in this quest by her party-going granddaughter, Caroline, whose life takes a positive turn at the urging of her re-awakened Grandmother. Together, these two enrage other family members, rattle the Wall Street establishment, and endanger their fortunes — and ultimately their lives, while experiencing a heightened sense of being alive and on the right side of a great shift in the way the world thinks about the relationship between Society and free enterprise, while merging two very different generations.
Director's Note: "THE SHAREHOLDER takes as its departure point the question of how and whether we as individuals can realize change in the world. It's a story about two very different women — a grandmother and granddaughter — who must battle their own demons and, in so doing, are presented with the opportunity to take a stand against corporate misdeeds and political corruption.
"As inspiration, I look to films such as ERIN BROCKOVICH, THE CONSTANT GARDENER and MARGIN CALL — films rooted in high-stakes character conflict, but ones that also manage to present a broader critique of the state of humanity. To the degree that these films are successful in highlighting themes of fraud, greed and injustice, success is rooted in us as viewers investing in individual characters and particular circumstances. That is the aim with THE SHAREHOLDER, and will be central to my approach as director. A premium will be placed on the evolving relationship between granddaughter and grandmother; on how they need one another in order to overcome their own shortcomings and find meaning and purpose in life.
"From a visual perspective, the film offers the chance to straddle the worlds of the super rich with those struggling at the margins of society. Again, rather than force the larger critique through heavy-handed dialogue, audiences will experience visually the ramifications of a corporate culture that values short-term profit above all else, and political expedience over long-term societal health."